Wow! So much to say after realising I have been using Steem for 2 years today! It's been a great trip so far - thanks to everyone who makes Steem the exciting space of ideas and connections that it is and is becoming.
When I first learned of Steem, via the whitepaper (before it was live), I had no-one to explain it to me and while I found it intriguing - I also remember thinking that it probably wouldn't amount to much due to lack of profile and/or funding. I had launched my own social network, so I knew how hard it can be to draw people's attention to a new one and I didn't really understand the financial possibilities that Steem represents at that time. A few months later I had a look at the live beta site and was surprised to find some people earning huge amounts of money for a single post and I knew I had to learn more to understand how this was possible!
After diving more deeply into the system and the people involved, I felt it was a great opportunity for me to connect with the kind of open minded and creative people who I like to mix with and in a way that just isn't possible on the existing legacy networks such as fakebooc, gurgle+ and twatter. I did not predict how many imaginative projects would spin out of the Steem blockchain or that we would have a version of Youtube, Soundcloud, Instagram, a Crowdfunding platform and numerous other projects that could gradually replace the existing paradigm quite quickly. I am still excited today at this prospect. :)
I wasn't wrong about the community here and I am regularly warmed by the variety of intelligent teachers/students I meet here on so many subjects. It was this kind of culture that I first encountered over 10 years ago on tribe.net that got me really attracted to and excited by social networks and it is a rare thing online - perhaps only made possible today by the decentralised nature of Steem and the way that the community can transparently decide on where the network goes, rather than having a centralised force dictate the boundaries without any recourse.
There's definitely a whole lot less of this kind of thing on Steem, that's for sure:
Success on a social network?
In the early days of Social Networking, sites such as Myspace became a space for a strange kind of ego stoking, where the 'prize' was to have the most 'friends' and it often didn't really achieve much at all! I was never interested in this at all, since I like to achieve actual beneficial outcomes and create things in life, rather than just watch a number increase of how many people have effectively clicked 'like' on my page. The way that we can be financially rewarded on Steem is a truly powerful step in the evolution of social software and while it has its problems too, it is reassuring to know that we can all rely on a process of receiving funds through our own creativity, directly and in realtime - where we can learn the ups/downs from home and where there is the possibility of success 24 hours a day.
In my own case, I made about 100 posts on Steem before I hardly saw any upvotes worth any money at all. I didn't really know how the system worked 100% and wasn't making the best choices with my posts - I also wasn't doing any promotion of any kind, which was something that was new to me as on older platforms I could just join forum threads in communities, make friends and build connections organically.. Here I needed to look at ways to promote my work independently. I am greatly looking forward for the introduction of community features here in early 2019 to finally complete the feature set here and really turbo charge the user experience and creative potential of the network.
After learning more about how Steem works I started to see more rewards for my work and started to put more of my time into building a presence here. I found that I was able to directly relate the amount of time/work I put into posts into how much money I was paid for them and I felt this was a good effect to behold (although I was still annoyed by the circle jerking of certain folks who could post a picture of their butt cheek and still get $1000USD for it).
During the high period of Steem's value a few months ago I was able to benefit the equivalent of more money from blogging than I would get from my professional career - which was amazing to me indeed! The current downturn in crypto prices will most likely recover and who knows, maybe we will see even greater heights to come in the future!
Becoming a Witness
Almost a year ago I decided to become a Steem witness, which means I run a computer server that participates in keeping the Steem network alive. This meant learning a lot more about the technical details of the blockchain and its software - which is something I am fine with as I have a degree in the subject and a lot of experience in software development. I have really enjoyed the involvement in the technical evolution of the blockchain and I currently run two witness servers (1 for backup), which are stable and reliably serve up Steem blocks hot and fresh every day for your enjoyment!
The Present and Future For Steem?
I am currently very busy in many different ways, so my time is being spread a bit thin recently, but I absolutely intend to return in full force to the creative projects I so love in the near future - with Steem surely being at the top of that list!
I have long held a vision of creating a new User Interface for Steem, but it is not a small project and the decentralised concept of Steem means that it is easy to start a project, only to learn part way through that others are already working on something similar. Since I don't like inefficiency, I have chosen for now to instead focus on working with others who I see have a good vision for what Steem needs. This currently means I am focusing on @oracled and @promo-steem tasks to some extent - which are effectively the marketing department for Steem and who focus on promoting the platform to government and corporate level investors. Without such interest, there may be limited potential for the growth of Steem (unless and until the social aspects really accelerate and take off - competing with FB etc.).
There are so many exciting projects to work with on Steem that it is difficult for me to predict where I will be in the next 6 weeks, let alone the next 2 years - but I know for sure I will feel better being part of this experiment than in the vast majority of other networks and projects that I know about. So kudos to everyone here for bringing their own flavour of greatness...
I know that the upcoming community and SMT expansions for Steem will open up many new doors - now, if only we can get the bot promoted posts put on the 'Promoted' tab and out of the main list of posts - the future will be truly golden :)
May We All Live Long and Prosper!
Wishing you well,
Vote @ura-soul for Steem Witness!
(Witnesses are the computer servers that run the Steem Blockchain.
Without witnesses there is no Steem, Steemit, DTube, Utopian or
Busy... You can really help Steem by making your 30 witness votes count!)