Steemit Onboarding: Low Hanging Fruit

in #onboarding3 years ago (edited)

Even though Steemit is still in beta user onboarding and retention is still an extremely important piece for us to pay attention to. It takes time, money and/or effort to be able to get new signups and keeping them around. I was reading this article called The low hanging fruit of user onboarding and it got me thinking on how we could apply some of this towards Steemit.

7 Day Active User Chart on Steemit

Total User Chart on Steemit

Both Charts taken from

While it's not perfect, I tend to watch the 7 day activity charts when seeing how many active users we have on Steemit. Being active in these statistics is defined as making a post, comment or placing a vote over the last week. The above activity chart shows us 6,105 active users in the last 7 days, compare this with 11,098 active users (over 7 days) from October 1st. Anyone that is curious on seeing some of this statistical history can find it on @xiaohui's blog where they regularly provide updates on these stats.

We can also see that the number of new users per day has dropped from 576 on October 1st to [211 on November 22nd.] While we are still getting new people to join us here on Steemit, we have to see from this that we have been loosing a lot of our active userbase, more than the new people we've been taking onboard.

My Point: We Need to Know Why They are Leaving, How to Retain them Better and Potentially How to Get Some Back.

The article of The low hanging fruit of user onboarding hit on some interesting points that we may be able to make use of here on Steemit to not only help onboard new users, keep those already here engaged and potentially try to recoup some of those that we lost. So let's break this down across the different user types here and try to look at them separately.

Short Trial Users

These users signed up on Steemit it to give it a try but didn't feel like it was for them. Some of these trial users found it to be to difficult and probably bowed out within a week at most. Development of the 'medium-like' editor that includes direct image uploads (vs having to use a 3rd party image host) and the center/alignment buttons have already been being worked on for a while. I expect that many of those who found Steemit too difficult will find their previous concerns put at ease once this is complete.

Solution Approach:

The next era of onboarding was made famous by LinkedIn. Gamified progress bars shepherd users through a series of hoops, not too dissimilar to how trainers get their poodles to win top prize at a dog show. Essentially this approach consists of identifying a set of tasks you want every new user to do, arbitrarily giving them a percentage score for each task and then bugging the shit out of users until they hit 100%

While I'm personally not a huge fan of the LinkedIn-like progress bar, there really is quite a bit of potential benefit. This progress bar can now include things like setting your avatar, adding your name (which would just need a field in the settings), follow one person, get followed by one person, make one post, make one comment, vote once, earn a curation reward, etc... All of these things really are essential to effectively using Steemit and people do respond to at least getting that progress bar percentage up, even if not in full. It actively prompts people to do things that at important to at least know how to do.

Long Trial Users

Users who were willing and able to 'fight through' the beta stage of the site and put out posts, I'd guess typically gave themselves a 2-4 week window to see how it went. I'd expect their feeling of lack of response (either votes and/or payouts) left them unsatisfied so they stopped being active here feeling they weren't able to get exposure and/or access to rewards (and remember a few dollars to a brand new user means quite a lot.) Others in this 2-4 week window and even beyond I feel became inactive due to the falling price of Steem, leading to lower rewards and this didn't balance out with the production and promotion time they had to put in. (Curation of short form posts directly help with this now.)

Have an early warning system for new users
Most products wait until a customer cancels, or fails to convert, and then the apologetic pleading messages begin. “How can we get you back?”, they send to a customer who has already checked out. That’s like waiting until you see divorce papers before checking how your spouse is doing. Instead, know what failure looks like and start the conversations before it’s too late.
Collectively these steps won’t solve everything, and it’s a fair criticism of the new discipline of onboarding that it mostly maps back to Good Product Design™. But as we discussed at the outset, you can go back to tweaking button colors, or you can try something new: help your customers be successful. Do that and you’ll find there’s low hanging fruit, and lots of it.

Solution Approach:
These users know how the Steemit site works overall but have left for other reasons. These are the people that are worth reaching out to, ideally to be able to bring them back onboard (knowing that certain changes may have benefited them) or at least get valuable feedback as to why they left. While we can't promise where the price of Steem is going to be, there are solutions to either help some of these users getting a $10ish dollar rewards here and there or let less time/effort be spent on short form posts making the $/hr seem more appealing to them. While money definitely isn't the end all here on Steemit, we need to be conscious that users have to generate the feeling of success in some set of ways including payouts, community engagement/support, personal feeling of growth, etc.

This is where I feel the current betting, game and challenge posts, as well as having various giveaways such as a periodic Steem prize (say 250-500 Steem) would be very rewarding and help keep these users engaged in the system and continuing to feel like it's worth it. Personally those people who truly put forth effort and are progressing are what we want to draw in from the general public. There are so many people who feel they have nothing of value to offer, which is where Steemit has a huge leg up over other sites. The community here is supportive and helps people find their value, which in the end is our biggest selling point. As I've heard @winstonwolfe say many times, "Come for the money. Stay for the community."

Remember This is Their Success, Not Ours

The purpose of a trial is to convince a potential user your product will deliver what they need for a price they can afford. It’s about getting them to those “successful moments”. It’s important to remember this is their success, not yours, and has nothing to do with filling in database fields to complete their profile.

We need to keep in mind that we have to be able to put ourselves in their shoes to determine what each user is terming as success. For some, it's completely about making money, for others it's feeling like they are a part of a caring community, some just like seeing their numbers (SP, rep, post count, etc.) go up. There are other users here who are actually filling a role such as mentor, setting up new projects (curation groups for example), or the pure content consumer who doesn't really post, but comments really well.

While we can't expect to make everybody happy, there is a lot to be said of having the feeling of 'incremental wins' along the way as best as we can. Demotivation quickly sets in when the next 'level' is too far out of reach, which is why so many games constantly have that next task to complete or achieve in sight, but just out of grasp. There is a fine line to be struck of making requirements to easy (which will then just be seen as meaningless achievements) and too hard (achievable.)

Solution Approach:
Pure Money Focus
For those purely coming in for the money there's really only so much we can do. There are so many factors around this that it can't really be assured for anybody, such as the choice of topic, method of presentation, good headline/thumbnail image, getting connected and followed by whales, price of Steem, other posts/events drawing from the prize pool at the time, how users actually feel about you, and the list can just go on and on. While I can understand the drive to earn well on here, it's not really an approach that we can effectively foster.

Integrating Users in the Community
While some of us had a direct friend that brought us to Steemit, it's not the case for everybody. Every new user on Steemit requires some hand holding at the beginning whether in regards to technical specifics (good tags to use, where to promote, formatting tips, etc) or actually resteeming/marketing posts for them. Small things that would help here would be more users checking the help,, steemprentice, and other channels in chat for those users who are looking for assistance or better understanding. Use your votes to recognize those that you see trying and progressing, reach out in comments with suggestions on post presentation, tags used, etc..., there are so many little things we as a community can do for outreach.

Other helpful examples are getting new users into fun events/talks on Steemspeak (where they frequently play Cards Against Humanity with special Steemit cards) or simply searching out new posts/accounts (seen typically by low rep) and engaging through comments. They don't necessarily need a whale to be upvoting a post to feel like they are being seen and interacting with the community as a whole. Try to draw people into your groups, activities, discords...or even offer to collaborate on a post with them. There are so many ways even a minnow can make a HUGE impact.

Users Who Fill Roles
While typically these are more veteran users there are some newer users who could benefit on multiple levels by being asked to help in some area. This could be inviting them into your curation guild (or trail), or finding out what they do outside of posting. I've frequently heard people say that they wouldn't know what they would write about on here...i.e. not feeling the have something to offer.

If you hear this, find out some more about them, what they do and what they tend to think about. Simply posting a very good question that generates good answers and/or discussion is of great value by itself. If they don't really write but work of crafts, introduce them to (and have them make posts on what they are selling there.) While I'll admit this is a tougher one to nail down, there are so many solutions we can pitch to new people that don't necessarily feel like a content creator to help them find their niche.

The underlying aspect with this type of user is that they need to feel like they are providing SOMETHING of value. With comments starting to be curated better, they can even be rewarded for that now.

While Investment is important for Steemit, it is the Userbase that will Ultimately determine our Success.

When I used to run a MUD (think of a text based World of Warcraft) way back in the day, I ran into this first hand. We could make the coolest 'code' in the world, but if all I was left with there those trying to exploit the system or merely complain that it was too hard, the game would ultimately fail. We had to find that nice mix between interesting gameplay and players who were willing to put forth effort. Steemit really does have the interesting gameplay (and getting better as we go along.)

Now let's focus on onboarding and retaining Steemit users who put forth effort!

If we truly want the non-tech, non-crypto crowd to come to Steemit from other social media sites, we need to give them some leeway. If their first post is just a title and a link/video...leave a comment letting them know that it won't likely be rewarded. You don't even have to upvote it, but don't just start flagging (leave that for repeat offenders.) Give these new users the benefit of the doubt that they are here with good intentions! They have to start learning somewhere, just like we all did.

Image Sources:
Steemit User Charts
Hulk Smash Meme
Broken Success
Success Quote


I often feel that the one big barrier to higher user adoption is the lack of a native steemit app. I know there is esteem but it's a third party. Having a native steemit app that people could fully trust because it was issued by steemit would do it. For me it's the big stumbling block/elephant in the room. I have had friends join who quit because as you say above the website is too hard. So fingers crossed for the next step after the new editor to be a steemit branded app. Even if they have to bring in the esteem guys!!

Third party is completely ok.
I'm not sure why you'd think otherwise.

Steemit has ties to free-software culture, so you might not want to hope for some "steemit corporation" to push everything. Decentralization is an advantage of Steem.

I mean, surely you know that already....

Third party is fine for me
I don't hope 'steemit corporation' will push everything.I hope in the context of the original post that this move is made because I suspect that it is a barrier to the average person joining and staying on steemit.

While I can't really argue this, I do find it surprising that the 3rd party app was a concern. @good-karma has definitely made a TON of progress on eSteem over the month. If it had been made by just anybody (i.e. a new, unestablished user) I could understand, but with him being with us (and a witness) for so long I would've figured that would have garnered him trust. But with it being viewed by outsiders, I can see where that piece wouldn't necessarily be known to them.

I agree with @heritickitten on the likelihood and benefits of large pieces (like the app) being done by a 3rd party (which while applicable, I don't think that term does justice in this type of case.)

Do you think if Steemit were to make a statement/announcement that eSteem was validated (or some other term) by Steemit Inc that it would help on that front? It doesn't seem (as I read above) that the functionality of the app was the issue, purely the trust factor.

Regardless, I really appreciate you bringing the concern of your friends up. This wasn't something that had been on my radar as an issue.

I do think if it was validated or something by steemit it would go a long way to help new users. The problem, which I should have made clearer, for some new users unfamiliar with steemit (the ones I know at least) is that they are not completely sure about posting keys and private keys etc so to 'hand over' one of your keys to a third party alarms them slightly. Which is enough for them not to use it. I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with the functionality of the app, the slowing issue was dealt with and it is quite good to use.

Always happy to input! We are all aiming for the same thing and that is to make this a success!

I couldn't agree more with your diagnoses and prognoses regarding user retention. Having been a user for about a week now, I could easily see myself becoming one of the users who tries to create content for about a month and then fizzle out.

Steemit isn't ALL about money, but lets be frank, it is a cryptocurrency site and that is in large part what differentiates it from other social network/blogging platforms. People join and are told that if they create decent content, they will be rewarded for it. People have short attention spans and so when it seems too good to be true, they leave.

A lot of these users probably leave because they aren't honestly contributing much and essentially want something for nothing. But I myself have read some very interesting and thoughtful posts on here that have garnered a few cents.

As someone who lives in California, I had better really love contributing content to a community for less than 1$ per hour. And lets face it, a very large portion of the best content on the platform will come from people in a similar circumstance (people for whom effort and time invenstment aren't worth pennies per hour.)

I myself am sold on the idea of a decentralized currency and the altruistic benefits of a global sharing of ideas, info and stories. That is why I want to continue creating content and reading the content of others. But I do feel like user retention will be the biggest challenge for Steemit and I can't wait to see what they come up with!

I'm not really sure how to solve this

Great comment and applaud you putting your content out there! I can speak from personal experience that it takes time to build up any sort of consistency on posts. Much like being an author anywhere there are things beyond the content itself to bring that success, including the marketing and networking aspect. If I was to walk into a physical bookstore (yes there are still a few around, lol) there are certain authors that would catch my eye more than others (for reasons like reading their previous work) and/or topics that I'm interested in.

It's still a similar game to that on here, where everything we post is just one amongst a huge list of posts. There are definitely methods to help stand out in those lists while also building your name recognition/following.

If you ever have questions or like some assistance along these lines, feel free to drop me a DM in or you can also hop into the Steemprentice Mentor Group channel in . We are there just to help users out in areas like this. While we can not ever guaranty a payout, we can absolutely help improve the odds for you.

It is hard to consistently put hours and hours and hours of work into a post (not to mention the time promoting it afterwards) and see it come back as pennies per hour. You definitely seem to have the right idea though, that if it's something you want to write, and feel it's worth the time to make it what you feel it should be (quality wise) there is if nothing else personal benefits. For example, I'd written absolutely nothing for at least 10 years before joining on here. While it may not be my method to pay the bills, I'm happy with what I've produced.

I will say that I'm very happy to see the short form posts (news, til/today i learned, and funny) receiving curation now. It takes the necessity away of feeling like pages and pages have to be produced on every post, which in my mind will help to make those long posts better, since users don't feel forced to just draw things out unnecessarily.

Some of these solutions are already in the works either through the developers themselves (like the new editor which I'm stoked to see), projects like, user driven projects, or ideas that spawn from posts like these.

I'm seriously planning to try to implement something (if I can find the time) that would accept smaller user donations and provide some lottery, award or other method to help keep the new users engaged. (these prizes would ONLY go to smaller and/or new users)

But in all reality, we as a whole community are always going to have to find solutions for these and other future issues that arise. We truly will rise or fall together.

I'm a long trial user, I'm afraid.
I want to post more stuff, but I've been so lazy. The rewards are too small to justify the effort. If I was sure to make at least $10, I might post stuff, but it's such a gamble, even with 150 followers, that I can't be assed.

I still visit sometimes, so I haven't given up. I just need to wait until there's a 1v1 chat in place, and that might make this website much more community friendly.

I think you will be surprised how rewarding it can be personally to post something regularly. There are a variety of post styles, some of which don't require too much time and effort. I recommend picking a theme or a topic, maybe even something you like to photograph (iPhones take nice pictures) and make a serial post. I mostly write about living in Japan because this is where I live and it gives me things to talk about. Lately, though, I've also written two posts about the advice on life older people give. I want to continue this post as well. For me, finding these two ideas, and their formats, has really become a part of my daily thoughts. It's opened my eyes to the world around me a lot more. Anyway, posting is worth the time effort. I hope you'll give it a chance.

Until the price goes up more, I think I'll be more of a reader than a writer.
But yeah, I haven't really given up. I'm just on hold for now.
I gained a nice reputation and some followers while the site was gaining in popularity, so that should give me a boost whenever I wanna get hardcore about Steemit.

Nothing wrong with that. It's nice knowing that the sites here when you are in the mood for it. Def helpful to have the followers in place too for when the time comes. :)

That makes sense. In the context of this post, there are all kinds of users and it's nice to hear that the site still gives you a reason to come back and stick around. For me, even with all its quirks, Steemit is still the most straight forward way to self-publish and potentially make a little money. You just sign up and go. The readers are there, the platform is there, and there aren't many options to get slowed down by.

I'm totally with you! There's no red tape or restrictions to sign up and publish here, a major reason why I love this place. I truly look forward to seeing this place ramp up and flourish. It's an exciting time and great to be among the early adopters :)

I believe this is what is mostly going on. People need even a bigger incentive to post. I think once there is more reason to post , then user engagement should pick-up.

By the way, I don't know if anyone else notices ,but the quality of content for my reading pleasure is super high here. I'm very picky on what I read and I've noticed I've started to read other people's writing more and it's wonderful!

I'm def on the same page here. While I know I can get focused into certain areas (just because of personal interests,) I've found amazing content on here, even through today. Having the feed available definitely has made that a lot easier. Remember the days before the feed? Having to try and remember which authors we liked or trying to catch everything through the chat room? far we've come!

I can definitely understand. You might check out the new short form posts like til , news and funny. Those really just need a couple of paragraphs. The ones I've done only took me 20 mins or so to create.

I'm with you on the chat function too. Hopefully between either site development or the project we will have that in the near future.

The new Welcome to Steemit page is now live on the site! This will be the first thing new users will see after they create a new account :)

That's freaking awesome! I'd actually just ran across the 'looked like you haven't blogged yet portion' just by happenstance and was wondering when that had kicked in.

Thank you so much for the work you guys put into getting that together and implemented! I really see it being a great help to the new Steemit users!

This post has been ranked within the top 50 most undervalued posts in the second half of Nov 23. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $5.84 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Nov 23 - Part II. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

Well, let's see if any of these might be demotivating:
Voting bots that vote on the blogs of particular people, regardless of whether a particular blog adds value, and if you're not on the list, too bad. Nasty comments when one dares to write about politics. Being supportive of people who don't support you back. People voting 1 percent. Wading through barely literate copy that earns big bucks.

I haven't blogged in ages. I don't read, vote, and comment nearly as widely or as much as I did initially. At first, it was because I got busy, but that isn't the case now.

However, my wallet is growing because I particpate in some of the games you mentioned. It has been a more worthwhile use of my time lately. All those games scoop up a certain percentage of the available funds. I'm hoping it will be worth something someday.

While I won't deny that voting bots (specifically those that just vote every author on the list) has been an issue, things have gotten a lot better on this front. While I have no doubt there are some of these that exist, ultimately those whales (since no one really has issue of the smaller votes doing whatever) have that choice to make. From what I've seen myself, a very large portion of these have at the very least passed of portions of their voting power to various curation groups and voting projects which has drastically improved the 'spreading the votes' to many more people. Life here in that sense is nothing like is was before say @curie and @robinhoodwhale first came around. Even though the trending page (which I rarely look at myself) may not reflect this, the portion that single authors (as a percent of the daily reward pool) has drastically dropped, well beyond simply the Steem price. Since starting the steemprentice group months back, I can attest first hand the ease for authors to at least get a couple of their posts picked up with a $20ish dollar payout. Ultimately though, it is up to each user to choose how they vote, and the whales are almost always in a catch-22 situation where no matter what they do there is somebody who is feeling undervalued.

On the nasty comments, I don't personally spend that much time in the political areas myself. However, that's what the flags are there for. As a community we have to be able to discuss 'touchy' topics in a constructive manner, those that simply provide ad hominem attacks that really are doing nothing but trolling (imo) can be flagged (having their rep damaged and potentially grayed out.) Unfortunately this is common anywhere on the internet especially on political issues, and this is simply our way of being able to deal with it here. I'm not excusing it by any right, but our only other option would be to ban/censor which isn't what this site is here for imo.

People voting 1%, meh, then just don't vote them back. Without trying to sound mean here, it sounds like you let some of these things get to you. Some are older problems in my view (which I easily can be missing these things myself) and others are just things to let go and move on. Why spend so much time focusing on things like this when there are so many better ways to spend our own time either on or off Steemit.

On the games and other SP distribution posts, I'm a fan of these specifically for what you mentioned. It's a way for users to stay engaged in some way, have some fun and be able to accrue rewards and build up their own accounts. Personally I find these to be very important for new users and the content consumer user type. While we do see certain ones on the trending pages a large portion of those payout earnings are being distributed back to those that participated, which I view as a great benefit. In my eyes the smaller portions that are kept are used to give a little something to those that write the posts (most of which are extremely in depth and I assume time consuming) and keeping the automation (scripts) functioning to do the payouts (like steemsports, where it'd be impossible to manually do on that scale.)

I'm sure there will those that disagree with me on these various points, just purely my current view.

I have no problem with the people who do the work on Steemsports getting paid. I was just saying that I participate there because it leads to earnings.

Ah, gotcha. I'm on the same page with you there then :)

Regarding the progress bar approach of LinkedIn, I have two words for you: hell no. I love LinkedIn and have used it many times over the years, but I absolutely hate firing up the app and being told my profile isn't complete, I still need to do this, yada yada yada.

However I do like the idea of a less intrusive gamification approach that doesn't try to overtly force you into doing certain things. I've seen forum sites that reward you with badges for achieving certain milestones. That, combined with small rewards, could work really well for Steemit. Imagine how encouraging it would feel for a new user to hit, say, 10 followers, and then get a badge and an e-mail from Steemit saying "congratulations on this milestone, you've earned 10 Steem to celebrate your achievement!".

I'm very much with you there. I completely agree that the intrusiveness of the linkedIn progress bar is way over the top, merely used that as an example. Simply having a 'good idea' list that can be muted for new users would be plenty on this, just something to make, the avatar option and maybe a help channel be known. The way linkedIn does it is extremely annoying at best.

I love the non-intrusive ones you mentioned like badges, achievements, congrats emails (if infrequent) etc. Really anything to provide that nice little 'ding' effect. While I'm sure some will disagree with me, I very much approach Steemit (and just about anything in life) as some form of game where I need to figure out the rules and methodology to then find a way to 'win.' Imo there is a lot of benefit to providing these little benchmarks for users so they feel the progress (even if trivialized) they are making. I'd hate to see users putting out crappy posts or comments just to reach certain achievements. But I have no doubt there is a great medium we can find for it here.

I've talked on the badges with a few users which we may try providing on our own to people. This would at least give them a way to 'show off' a bit in their posts or avatar much like the steemverify badge many of us currently have. But this would take time to talk through and do in a truly beneficial way.

Simply having a 'good idea' list that can be muted for new users would be plenty on this, just something to make, the avatar option and maybe a help channel be known.

There definitely needs to be some sort of guidance for new users. I remember having no idea how to get started when I first joined, and it took a couple weeks before I even realized Steemit Chat existed. It was like feeling my way around in a dark room, slowly learning the contours of the furniture.

I very much approach Steemit (and just about anything in life) as some form of game

Life is always more interesting when you treat it as a game! Even at work, gamification is used on the internal company web site. You get a certain number of points for every code check in, employee peer review, and post on the firm's internal social network (designed to promote the sharing of business knowledge). I'm currently an "Apprentice User" with around 200 points.

I've talked on the badges with a few users which we may try providing on our own to people.

Sounds like the seed of a great new Steemit project! Habe you mentioned it to @good-karma ? I wonder if he would be willing to build an achievement system into some new version of the eSteem mobile app.

Hi @cryptomancer,

Yes I have plan to build achievement badges on eSteem. Before that we as developers (steemit, esteem, busy, etc.) need to think through everything and make it standard so that all apps can use similar approach. Initial badges on eSteem will most likely be similar to what has, later can be improved. Also have been thinking about games on Steem as a proof of concept, if I find time, I might implement simple game. A lot of ideas to explore for sure, but they need some sort of funding model to incentivize users as well as developers to build.

Cool, I'm glad to see this is at least on your radar. It's definitely more of a long-term vision. I wonder if Ned and Dan have any thoughts on this.

A blockchain might be well suited to turn-based games where the game state evolves from block to block. I'd certainly give it a try!

That reminds me some recent discussion on the chat... Indeed:

Give these new users the benefit of the doubt that they are here with good intentions! They have to start learning somewhere, just like we all did.

That cannot be said otherwise!

Hehe, I think that might have been me the other day in the TIL channel. But I totally agree, it's very important for our community to keep in mind.

I had spent a lot of time in the abuse channel, seeing all of the plagiarism and other abuse type posts. So I really do understand the other side of the coin where the first reaction is to 'go get em.' But in all reality is are the repeat offenders that deserve this, not somebody that is new or with a clean track record. They still deserve to be reviewed for issues, no doubt...but how we approach those authors (the new ones in particular) is important. Personally, I prefer to explicitly provide a comment of what the issue is, hear them confirm they understand said issue, and move on seeing if they do it again. Imo just about everyone is allowed one plea of ignorance.

I will openly admit I'm a rather steadfast optimist and prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I have personally be in the scenarios where providing the info, or reasonable steps that can be taken (such as with verification issues) where typically those who are out to abuse the system are simply allowed to 'hang themselves.' (metaphorically)

Great ideas! Resteemed!

TY! :D Much appreciated!

I just joined 15 minutes ago and good lord, this is the most frustrating social media platform I have ever had the displeasure to visit. This post looks like MySpace, all I want to do is make a feed with topics not with users, and it should not take 30-40 minutes to read through a "new user guide".

Most people won't care about cryptocurrency and money, they want a transparent alternative platform to see news, opinions, information on topics they choose. Why would I want my feed clogged up with another user's interests that don't overlap with mine?

Steemit does have a different setup compared to the other social media sites, especially right now. It's primarily been a blogging platform vs the normal social media setup so far. Unfortunately the feed system does only allow to follow authors and not topics, but there are some tools that can provide that such as (to search on multiple topics/tags) and (which I'd not played with myself, but believe it will notify on new posts on certain topics.) Personally I'm excited to see where the project will go to make things have more of the standard social media look and feel. But I'll agree, searchability is one of the things Steemit is needing development in.

There's nothing wrong if it doesn't fit what you're looking for right now. Steemit is still in Beta and getting new features and UI elements worked on constantly. FB and Myspace didn't start off in their current forms either.

cool, thanks - I get the "network of users" approach; it's just that I seek out topics to read about, and I don't much care who posted them.

That's understandable. I know it's a feature many of us look forward to seeing on here. :)

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