Update: Friends, Adventure, New Paths, 500th Follower - Giving Away 500 SP and 500 TRAIL in Gratitude
When I first came to Steemit a few months ago, I was encouraged by the nice payouts being given for good content.
Since I've been writing for years, sometimes getting paid handsomely while at others scratching by like a starving artist, I had some idea of what my writing was worth, at least as a freelancer. I didn't know what Steemit would pay.
My first efforts were disappointing. A couple of pieces that would have drawn 250 or so under contract, bought me a cup of coffee. But then another piece jumped to over $700. It was a good piece, but was one of those that just flows through the fingers with little effort. It was philosophical, which I only do sometimes. Of course, it was about economics too, which I write about often. At the time, my friend @piedpiper was very helpful and I received some encouragement from @donkeypong and a few others as well.
Later articles met varying degrees of success. But, like so many here on Steemit, I was always looking for the angles that might offer greater opportunity to promote the possibilities of Steemit. There are tons of ideas out there, but execution can be tough. And, let's face it, the Steem blockchain is a tech challenge to work with. And I'm not up to the task. My strengths are more organizational, networking, communication, writing and that sort of thing. So, I could see possibilities, but couldn't really grasp the tech potential.
Finding My Place
I experimented with a few ideas. Like many, I saw the opportunity to support underpaid articles through a guild of some sort, and wrote an intro article about it. But I hadn't networked enough at the time and was unable to get much action.
The early efforts of MinnowsUnite and Steem Squad helped a lot of minnows, so I got involved with them early on. A few folks embraced my efforts and encouraged me along the way (the first one I remember was @kennyskitchen - Thanks Kenny!). Did it keep me from leaving? No, I don't think so. I saw a lot of potential. But they probably did help me to continue being more active than I might have been otherwise. And the friendships forged I expect will last many years to come.
Networking and Building Friendships
Over the following weeks I'd reach out to folks with ideas, read other ideas, investigate possibilities and keep on chatting with others about what we could do. Sometimes I'd get involved heavily with one group for a bit, but mostly it was individuals that I kept in touch with.
A few stand out, who've become good friends through this platform. So here's a shout-out to @papa-pepper and @kevinwong, especially. My andrarchist friends have been wonderful. Others have been an amazing encouragement to me, such as @ats-david, @englishtchrivy (who, for some unknown and illogical reason thinks I'm funny), @sethlinson, @thecryptofiend, @the-alien and more. Please accept my apologies to those I've missed - it's more than likely that my feeble brain has failed to recall quite a few of you.
As ideas kept jumping forward from various Steemsters and the more tech savvy among us have kept building amazing tools and putting forth incredible ideas (that fly way over my head), I kept pondering projects that could help the community. Some things would click, but I was too tech reliant and shallow-pocketed to just make them work. Others were toyed with and then tossed as the "interesting-but-not-so-great" ideas that they were.
There was one that kept surfacing though. It was a tech idea, but I thought it had enough merit to get some involvement. Basically, it's an internationalization site. When I saw what SteemStays was doing, I figured we had a lot of complementary elements. So, after chatting with @complexring for a bit, we found that we could help each other. I had already chatted with @jesta about Reprint, so bringing me into the circle went pretty smoothly.
Their challenges, like so many of us, have to do with the time involved to make their project work. While mine is less tech intensive, it's not on the front burner. And there was/is an obvious need for a good front-end developer. This project is still in the works, but will be awhile before it's ready to launch, so I kept looking around at potential places to get involved.
About that time Robbinhood Whale was looking for more folks to help out (and they still are), so I started curating with them. It's a great project with some top-notch folks, so I enjoyed doing so. But there was another idea kind of dancing around in the back of my head.
I had never spoken to Rick (@instructor2121) prior to this time, so had no idea what to expect. I did see that he had a lot going on and appeared to be both dedicated to Steemit and a hard worker. And he clearly had some of that tech savvy that my noggin lacks, so I reached out to him with an idea.
Over the past almost two decades I've messed with some websites, gaining a small degree of proficiency in WordPress (still sorta amateurish, but not terrible). My idea was to have topic focused sites where curated articles could be fed, providing readers with resources based on the various popular categories on Steemit. These would be linked (directly or indirectly) with the various steemtrails he had introduced to Steemit.
Rick loved it. He said that he'd been pondering some ideas, but really lacked someone to come along and work them with him, and that my ideas tied in with his wonderfully. We agreed that we'd keep the sites as a separate project from SteemTrail though, to avoid confusion.
First Ideas Are Stepping Stones to Better Ideas
Rick wasn't ready to unveil his baby to me yet. As we worked together longer, our friendship grew as well. And as that grew, we started sharing ideas, vision and dreams more freely. We found that we had a lot of similar ideas, but they came from different perspectives that reflected our strengths and weaknesses in a quite complementary way.
As we worked on some of these ideas and started solidifying our first project, @STEEMNEWS.ONLINE, it started to become apparent that the best way to pursue this would be to merge the trails with the sites. It only made sense to do so, since the trail curators would likely end up being our best curators for the sites.
As our friendship has grown, we've shared more of our "babies" with each other. Expect to see some new ideas as the project matures.
Not too long ago, Rick introduced TRAIL to me. This was his baby. And, honestly, I don't think either of us realize the potential of this project right now. But what we do realize is pretty cool, and certainly helpful for promoting the Steemit community, especially when it comes to curation of great content.
At first, we didn't really know what the reception would be. We knew that some folks in Steemit, especially those who'd been around since early on, would either be against it, or resistant to it as if it was a Steem infiltrator or competitor.
But we were convinced that such a token would serve to reward folks in ways that Steem simply wasn't designed to do. To us, this user issued token was a great means to offer encouragement to curators who couldn't make much in the way of rewards for their curation. It could also serve as a token of appreciation for those who provided great content as well as those who follow the SteemTrail on Streemian.
Our expectations were generally on target. We did meet some resistance from a few folks. Some don't understand. Some feel threatened. But I don't think either of us expected so many to become more interested in SteemTrail. Since then, we've been able to open up new trails and encourage even more authors in their efforts on Steemit.
Why SteemTrail and TRAIL Help Steemit
At first glance, many fail to see the benefits of TRAIL in particular. Here are a few that Rick and I have discussed over the past month or so.
- Encourages curation by offering rewards just for doing the work
- Encourages folks to join SteemTrail, giving it more voting power
- Involves more of the community in promoting excellent content
- Provides a means and motivation for like-minded people to work together
- Provides stronger voting and greater recognition for some articles that might get missed otherwise
- Rewards authors for excellent content, regardless of their expected payout.
- In this, SteemTrail complements Curie and RHW nicely, because they fill the need to bring low-paying articles to the fore and encourage newer authors
- The focus isn't on the author. It's on the content itself, which promotes Steemit's presence on the web.
- Some of the content is now being sent to Twitter and Facebook pages. We have a way to go in this regard, but it's a start. Obviously this is good for everyone, since more traffic and more users can only help to improve the community.
Well, that's an interesting question. The plans for TRAIL are very ambitious and don't end with what you see. In fact, we expect the volume of TRAIL token trading to increase dramatically once our plan unfolds more fully. Suffice it so say that this will become more apparent as more of Steemit's potential is unveiled.
For now, we're working on a couple of sites to try to show what we can do for Steemit. As soon as we get one to that point where we're happy with the results, we'll unveil it to the community. Best guess for that date would be a month from now, though we have met some considerable technological setbacks over the past month in ways we couldn't have foreseen.
How Can You Help?
Rick hasn't announced it officially yet, but he's set up a witness under his account, @instructor2121. Head over to this location to vote by inputting instructor2121 in the field at the bottom and clicking on the "VOTE" button. Proceeds from his witness will help with the SteemTrail effort.
If it interests you, get involved with SteemTrail. The easiest way is to sign up on Discord. We have some amazing teams already, with new teams forming fairly often now. It's been pretty cool to see.
We're starting to get a few developers involved now, which has been an amazing encouragement. But there's so much potential, we could still use some more. Let Rick or me know if you're interested.
Obviously, I need to include Rick in my list of folks I'm grateful to as well. If you've ever been blessed with interacting with him, then you know he's a great guy. He constantly teaches me about patience and humility just being who he is. This is especially true as he attempts to explain tech stuff to me. :)
Thanks Rick! Here's looking forward to the ride. Happy TRAILs to you bro.
Get to the Gratitude Gift Part Already!
I thank God for the time I've had to be involved with Steemit. Though it's not been a huge financial boon for me so far, it has been rewarding in many ways. And I've been happy to Power Up all my earnings and scrape by at home to invest into the community. Of course, I plan on getting paid back handsomely one day. But, for now, it's all sweat equity and building friendships.
Because it is a privilege to be a part of this community and something that has the potential to be a game-changer in so many ways, I'm grateful to all those that have encouraged me. Especially I'm grateful to followers who've actually followed, upvoted and commented on my articles.
Since my involvement with SteemTrail and TRAIL, it's been tough to continue producing material for my blog. I've focused on curating and attempting to keep up with my feed, both upvoting and offering comments and interaction with some of my favorite authors. So many get missed in the busyness that I feel bad about it. But I try.
In the midst of this, I'm still getting followers. Maybe some have seen my involvement with SteemTrail and TRAIL. Maybe some are because of my comments. But they keep happening.
As of late last night, I hit 500 followers. With this article, I suspect I'll see a few more. So, here's what I want to do. It's a sorta-contest, but more of a recognition of those who've blessed me. In celebration of and gratitude for hitting 500 followers, I'm giving away 500 Steem Power and 500 Trail to the following:
- 100 of each token to the 500th follower, provided s/he comments on this post before the first payout. If the 500th doesn't comment, then it will be the next closest above 500 to comment before this article's first payout.
- 250 of each token to the person who has followed me the longest and leaves a comment on this article before the first payout.
- 100 of each token to the person who has followed me second longest and leaves a comment on this article before the first payout.
- 50 of each token to the person who has followed me the third longest and leaves a comment on this article before the first payout.
- Anyone who has ever unfollowed me is automatically disqualified.
- Steem will be in the form of Steem Power and TRAIL must be transferred on Open Ledger. You can sign up for an account here.
- I reserve the right to change the rules and/or payouts in case something unforeseeable happens, or if I simply failed to recognize potential conundrums, confusion or repercussions.
This is my small gift back to the community and to those who've been loyal to me, plus one who took a chance last night. Anyone who knows me, knows that loyalty is very high on my list. So this really gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to offer rewards for long-time followers.
I don't want to denigrate those who came later either though. Obviously I had to set some sort of rules. And I wanted to keep some Steem for myself. :o) I am grateful for you all. Thank you!
You mean, besides paying out rewards to awesome people? Or continuing to work on the SteemTrail and TRAIL projects?
I'd really like to finish my Regrarians series. I was almost halfway through when busyness caught up with me. And each of those articles require quite a few hours of work, while not really generating much reward. Still, the information is excellent in so many ways, I really want to get it out there for folks to find and benefit from.
I've had several projects on the table for awhile, mostly waiting for some tech savvy to get over the hump. In my mind, they were independent. And, in many ways, they still are. But with TRAIL, there are new possibilities to roll these out in ways I couldn't have ever imagined. I suspect that these will move to front burners within the next few months, keeping me hopping and offering more opportunities for many more to get involved, and profit from their labors.
These are exciting times. I think only a few grasp the significance of what's happening with blockchains and the new projects rolling out. Watch closely and you'll have some pretty amazing stories for the grandkids. I think the one that may really be a gamechanger is still a bit of a sleeper, and that's the DAWN project, being built by several folks here. Watch it closely. And, of course, keep an eye on TRAIL. There's more than meets the eye. ;)
Again, thank you for the follows. Thanks for your support and encouragement. And, if you got this far, thanks for reading.