Steem Price Falls Further... Do We Need A Culture Shift? @Promo-Mentors: Conceptualizing An Education Platform
When I started writing this article Steem just dropped below $1, however right now it is at 90 cents. What has happened that Steem is almost 90% down from its all time high of $8. How much of the drop can be attributed to the bear market? What causes the value of Steem being drained out the platform? What do we need to change?
I have been on Steemit for a solid year now and I have involved myself in a few projects and communities such as @ocd, @curie and @steempress-io. I am also a Steem ambassador of the #promo-steem movement and created my own project @promo-mentors inspired by this movement. Like all promo-steemians I ask myself how to bring value into the Steem ecosystem. With the Steem price dropping almost 90% from its all time high, more and more conversations about the future of Steem have been popping up just like when Steem was floating below a dollar before the big pump to $8 in November. I think Steemit is an amazing innovative platform however if we are honest Steemit has many issues that cause an outflow of value. As Steem is the first of its kind it is hard to say what we to change in order for it to be successful or if it is even possible to succeed on the global stage. Overall I am very positive about the supportive nature of the community that Steemit has created. However, in this post I wanted to share my thoughts on: the writing culture of Steemit.
Generally, content creators on Steemit tend to only write for people ON Steemit. I myself am guilty of this. What I mean with writing only to people on Steemit is that people are not focussing on growing their audience, but on growing their post rewards. There is a fundamental difference in this. When someone is focussed on targeting a wide audience they will try multiple ways to reach them. On Steemit however it doesn't really matter if we reach a large audience, but the right audience (aka large SP holders). We are incentivized to focus our attention on Steemians and Steemians only. This contradicts what content creation is about. Social Media content is meant to be spread out all over the internet rather than to be uploaded to Steemit to get a few votes and then let it sit there for eternity.
It is true that on Steemit it is easier to get attention and get paid immediately for your content, however is this the place where it has to stop for the serious content creators? In my opinion any serious content creator would try to reach their audience on multiple platforms and tailor their content for long term consumption. If we only put out our content on Steemit it has a negative effect in that it doesn't help the platform grow. By trying to reach out to readers outside Steemit, we could end up with more votes because they might sign up to Steemit. This aspect seems to be forgotten. New users that signed up will definitely throw votes to the person who got them to join, similar to how we initially vote for the person who introduced us to Steemit.
I don't want to generalize too much, because there are, of course, many great content creators and projects who use Steemit as another medium to reach their audience and as another income source. There are people however who consciously avoid certain social media platforms. Steemians seem to have an aversion for other platforms that are not build on Steem. Many of my Steemian friends dislike Facebook for example. For whatever reason I think as content creators we should acknowledge that the other social media platforms have a much larger reach and that we should use this to get people to join.
So is it the fault of how Steemit is set up that we have created this culture? I don't think it's entirely to blame. In theory, if Steemit was a mainstream platform, in which many minnows had enough Steem Power to cancel out whales, then I think Steemit would work. The reality is that the distribution of Steem hasn't been fair at the start which has given large sp holders more influence than intended. In my time on Steemit I have never seen a post reaching trending by only votes by minnows or dolphins. Perhaps it's not surprising at all that we have created a whale hunting culture.
As a user of Steemit it hurts to see the value being drained out of this platform. The Steem price fell from $8 to almost $0.8 now which is a 10x time drop already. I know some of you might say that this doesn't say much because Steemit is only 2 years "young" and I agree price movements don't predict the future. However in the two years we can look at other stats such as the visitor ranking and amount of transacting accounts.
According to Alexa rankings (see graph below) visitor count of Steemit.com has dropped since March. And according to the stats of @penguinpablo the number of transacting accounts has stayed the same since February! You could connect this drop in activity due to the price drop of the whole market which certainly has an effect, however if that were true than the visitor count would drop after January when the market started the dive. The amount of accounts transacting should have dropped too, however it stayed constant. The cause may have been due to something else, who knows, one thing that is showing is that we are not growing in active users.
The Steem dev team is working on providing us solutions such as Hivemind and SMTs (of which the release date of testnet was recently announced to be in January). While these are very promising, I don't like to sit around and wait for them to arrive. Instead, in the meantime, I hope that we can work together towards changing the posting culture through what I call decentralized education or peer-to-peer education. This is something I have been involved with for almost 9 months now and I have seen that it works, and perhaps can work on a bigger scale. Below I will explain to you guys what my amazing team and I have been working for the past month. I don't claim this is the next best solution, however I think every community can benefit from our education platform project. We would like your opinion on this, so feel free to break our project down.
Nine months ago I started @promo-mentors to help #promo-steem to retain new users. Promo-steem is a movement created by @starkerz and @anarcotech to reward people who promote Steemit. I started out creating a discord channel (link: https://discord.gg/vDPAFqb that has grown to over 1500 members at the moment of posting. We approached user retention by offering personal guidance and free workshops. I recruited people who I know were good bloggers, being a curator for @curie helped me a lot in this. This all started in November, and all the way up to now, we have been giving out free tips and guidance to people who want to improve their blogging. The results of giving people personal advice had shocked me sometimes. I have seen people who started out with the typical spam posts and uncentered images to catching votes from well established curating teams such as @curie and @ocd. What surprised me even more is that these people often reached out to help others in turn. After a conversation with @starkerz I came to realise that education, especially direct human to human communication is very valuable and blockchain could make this available for everybody.
The idea is to make a website where people can share their expertise. Many people have great skills that they can share through tutorials, but most importantly can teach through personal guidance. On the website people will be able to filter on questions and subject. For example whenever somebody type in Steemit they will see the top subjects popping up and if they click on the subject they will see the top tutorials. If the learner wishes to be in direct contact with the tutorial maker they will be able to join online workshops by the tutorial maker (if the maker chooses to hold workshops). Not only will the learner be able to ask questions directly, but they will also be in contact with other learners, which I think is a much more of a pleasant learning experience than learning on your own.
In my opinion a good project needs to be sustainable in funding its own costs, but also sustainable for Steem. What I meant with the latter is that people should buy or power up more Steem for a project (this doesn’t count for philanthropic projects). In this part I will explain how I think we will achieve both sustainability.
Our most important goal is to provide an opportunity for the tutorial makers and mentors to earn a living for sharing their expertise. There are many education platforms that provide (professional) tutorials which are often paid. And many free sources such as Youtube and Wikihow. We believe (professional) information should be accessible for everybody, which is why all tutorials on the website will be free. To reward mentors for their work we plan to call on voluntary supporting of consumers to creators something you see on Twitch. For the people who don't know about Twitch, it's a streaming platform for gamers where people can send money to their favourite streamers. The most successful streams earn up to thousands of dollars each week. Similar to Twitch on our platform people will have the option to send crypto or fiat to the tutorial makers/workshop holders.
By using this model at the same time we fulfill our other sustainability requirement. There will be a flow of fiat or other crypto into the Steem ecosystem, because people who want to join the workshops or support the tutorial makers need to make a Steem account/buy Steem.
To cover for the initial costs we will start a @fundition project.
To determine which tutorial creators provide quality teachings there will be a rating system. This rating system won't be connected to Steemit's reputation as we all know reputation can be bought. Instead we will create our own reputation system in which users can rate tutorial creators with, for example, a star rating.
Most tutorial makers are not good in promoting their content. This is where we will help them by indexing their tutorials and doing direct promotion on the front page. For this we will probably ask a small fee or beneficiary rewards from them, the revenue we get from this will be used for platform maintenance and the growth of the project.
As this project is very ambitious we will build it up in two in two phases:
This is the current phase we are in. I see this phase as a test of proof of concept while we can work on contributing to Steemit by providing education on content creation and promotion. Currently, we have a team of about 12 mentors of which two have years of solid marketing experience and a few have experience with promoting. Overall they are all great writers and we are going to recruit more. To ensure that our education platform will start with quality tutorials we will begin with a select group of trusted mentors. These mentors will set an example to future educators. To encourage consistent quality tutorials and workshops, we will try to raise funds and grow our voting trail to support the educators.
Discord is a wonderful platform that we use to build our community and this is where all the interaction between educators and learners take place. We have created an open source bot that allows our mentors to create workshops and users to register for those workshop. Below is an example:
If phase 1 is successful we will begin with phase 2 which is working on creating a true global decentralized education platform. In this phase we will look beyond Discord and create our own platform where educators and learners can communicate. And we will create a directory that allows users to easily navigate to the tutorials they are looking for and implement a rating system.
A preview of our website:
We would like to know what you think of the current posting culture and about our education project. If you have any suggestions or see a flaw in our concept let us know in a comment below. If you need to write a post then you can use the tag #promo-mentors. My team and I will be going through this tag each day. You can also find me on Discord in our channel https://discord.gg/vDPAFqb or message me directly @futurethinker#8830.
If you have a passion for teaching or would like to share your knowledge once in a week feel free to send us a message! In phase 1 we are especially looking for people who can teach others how to reach an audience online, people who are knowledgeable in SEO and we are also looking for people who can teach how to write a general good article which involves cathy titles, lay-out, grammar etc.
We are looking for people who can strengthen our team. If you think you have the drive and the skills to help us making this project a reality send me a message on Discord @futurethinker#8830.
Keep updated with this project on @promo-mentors. We will start with phase 1 soon.