Happy New Year my fellow Steemians! I'm back and ready to burn some rubber after a long & refreshing end-of-year break. But before putting the pedal to the metal, what better time to look back and reflect on my Steemit experiences thus far than the start of a brand new year?
It truly has been an awesome few weeks off: no work, no travel, just sleeping in everyday, doing Christmas stuff, eating junk food, spending time with my family, and of course playing the new PS4 games I got for Christmas. I've become quite addicted to Final Fantasy XV, to the point that you'll have to forgive me if playing it takes away from my blogging time... but I'll do my best to stay dedicated for you, my dear readers. And I've been lazy long enough; it's time to put my keyboard back to good use again.
Glad to hear it. So when did you join Steemit?
I've been blogging for a grand total of just over 5 months now, beginning in early August last year. And what an amazing journey it's been. I joined Steemit as a complete newbie, never having blogged before or even made much use of social media, and not sure what to expect. Like many others, I was lured in by tales of $1000+ post payouts, and ended up staying for the community once I realized how fun Steemit is (and also a great way to improve my writing skills since I aspire to craft a novel someday). The money is now only a secondary consideration. My philosophy can be summarized as:
write to write well, not to make money, and money will follow as a natural consequence.
Others might say a watched pot never boils.
Did you struggle at first just starting out?
Of course, I went through some rough patches and got lost a few times before finding the right road. I didn't realize at first just how many twists & turns there are to the Steemit experience.
Consider moving to a foreign country: at first you stumble around blindly, having great difficulty performing even the most mundane everyday tasks. But eventually you learn to speak the language. You start interacting with people, learning the culture, and gradually figure out the lay of the land. Before long culture shock fades and you quickly grow in confidence, fitting in with the locals & accomplishing with ease tasks that you would have needed help with not long ago.
So it is with Steemit.
I count myself a bit lucky in that I come from an IT background, so it didn't take long to pick up the mechanics of using the Steemit web site and writing posts in Markdown. But I can see how it could be a huge learning curve for the less technically inclined.
The learning curve for me was more in feeling my way around the social conventions of the Steemit community, finding awesome content creators to follow, and discovering how to efficiently use all the great tools that exist on external web sites (it's mind boggling what you can find with a quick browse through the Steemit App Center). With each new discovery, my horizons expanded and I came to realize that being on Steemit means much more than simply writing good stuff.
Steemit is a community experience first and foremost. Early on I figured out that interaction is key to growing as a Steemit user. Putting myself out there, commenting as much as I can on the work of others and engaging with my own readers are core principles of my blogging strategy. Simply put: we succeed or fail as a community, not as individuals (a philosophy expressed very well in a recent post by @dantheman; see links at the end).
With that in mind, do you care to give a shout out to any particular members of the community?
Absolutely. Here is a sampling of individuals who have enriched my time on Steemit immeasurably. They have provided inspiration and lots of good reading, without which I'd be worse off. If you're looking for some great people to follow, you can't go wrong with the following:
@kafkanarchy84 - I was drawn to KafkA early on in my Steemit adventures. Besides sharing a common interest in Bitcoin, we're also both expats residing in Japan. I actually had the privilege of meeting him in person when he made a trip to Tokyo last summer. Since then I've had fun following his own Steemit adventures.
Enjoying a tasty sushi lunch with fellow Steemian kafkanarchy84
@thecryptofiend - a force to be reckoned with in the community, he's amazingly active and pops up just about everywhere. His blog is my go-to for interesting photography pieces, and he often resteems thought provoking posts that make it easy to discover great new content.
@berniesanders - one of our top whales, Bernie does a lot to help out the community by curating a wide variety of content. I am grateful to him for taking notice of my blog. It's always exciting to get a vote from good old Bernie!
@quinneaker - founder of the Garden of Eden sustainable living community, Quinn demonstrates a life lived to the fullest and writes extremely motivational, uplifting articles. I'm happy to have his support on some of my posts, and always enjoy reading more from Quinn and all the others at @gardenofeden.
@williambanks - founder of the radical new @vivacoin economic system, William is a technical genius, full of energy and enthusiasm for his work. I'm proud to be among the first crown holders to invest in Viva (an opportunity I never would have had if not for Steemit), and looking forward to exciting times ahead as we near the launch of the genesis block!
@marcgodard - special thanks goes to Marc for inventing @steemvoter , a service that has revolutionized curation by putting the power of a voting bot in the hands of ordinary Steemians everywhere. I rely on it heavily to augment my manual curation efforts and spread the voting love around to more people than I would be able to otherwise.
I could go on, but you'd probably grow bored if I listed every single person who deserves it, so these few will have to suffice.
You've been around for a while now. What important milestones have you achieved?
One thing I love about Steemit is the feeling of building up your account bit by bit, starting from nothing and gradually making something of yourself over time. I didn't have any set goals for myself when I first joined. After all, when you don't have expectations you can't be disappointed, and even small successes feel thrilling.
To keep track of my progress over time, I look at changes in various stats like post count, reputation, Steem Power (SP), curation score, and number of followers. The Steem Whales web site is the best way I've found to monitor this information month on month:
This graph shows my curation score is advancing rapidly, having nearly doubled since last month thanks to the magic of Steem Voter!
By using the rankings menu you can see how you measure up compared to other Steemit users.
I have achieved far more in 5+ months than I ever imagined I would. My most notable milestones include:
Followers - Just before the end of 2016 I reached 200 followers. And I'd like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to each & every one of them! You guys are worth your weight in gold! I'm happy you've been enjoying my writing up to now, and I plan on delivering a lot more great content to you throughout 2017.
Steem Power - I'm following a cost averaging strategy of repeated buys on the Poloniex crypto exchange, and supplementing it with curation / author rewards to gradually increase my holdings. I want to have as much SP as possible to maximize the benefit of my votes & curation rewards. I've reached a great milestone of 15,000+ SP, and aim to double it in 2017: a modest goal if prices stay low and I can maintain my current rate of progress.
What advice would you give to new Steemians?
I'm still learning & figuring things out as I go, and my blog is still small compared to some of the juggernauts I follow, but here's a top 10 list of important lessons I've picked up along the way:
Don't burn yourself out. Steemit is very much a marathon, not a sprint.
Consistency is key. Establish a schedule and stick to it. I write new posts once a week and always post at the same time. Getting into a sustainable routine will help with #1.
Don't get upset or discouraged if some of your posts don't make any money. Not all of them will. Post rewards depend on a lot of things, not least of which is luck. Just keep on keeping on.
Help out the community and the community will help you out. It's not a one-way street. I've been happy to make small donations here & there to various community projects, and I spread my votes around as much as I can.
Engage with your readers. This shows you care, and will make them more likely to follow you & read more of your stuff. I try to respond to every single comment on my posts, and do so in a timely manner.
Read as many posts as possible and comment as much as possible. But leave thoughtful quality comments, not spammy noise. This will help establish name recognition and get you followers.
Don't resteem excessively. A little is OK; too much is bad. I don't pay attention to people who don't produce at least some original content of their own.
If you quote someone or use a non-original image, give credit to your source. This is important! Nobody likes people who try to pass the work of others off as their own.
Pick a theme (or two or three) for your blog, don't just write randomly whatever comes to mind. I focus on cryptocurrency, life in Japan, finance, and my struggle to escape the rat race. Occasionally I may stray from these topics, but this is the core I always come back to.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: write to write well, not to make money, and money will follow as a natural consequence.
Any Steemit New Year's resolutions?
You bet! This year I want to continue building on my success up to this point. I'd like to aim for the following by year's end:
- reach 500 followers
- double my Steem Power to 30,000
- hit 2000 comments
Achieving these basically means staying consistent and not slacking off as the months go by.
It's good to have goals, but they can be a double-edged sword if you make them too lofty. As mentioned earlier, lack of expectations means you can't be disappointed. Concrete goals definitely introduce expectations, but by now I have enough experience with Steemit to have a pretty clear idea of what's realistic and what's not.
So bring on 2017! I can't wait to see where my travels take me in the months ahead. The road is wide open, I've got a full tank of gas, and there's nothing to hold me back. Keep calm and Steem on!
Links of utter coolness
@dantheman's article about the compounding effects of cooperative blogging on the value of the Steemit platform:
My official review of the Steem Voter service:
The latest news on Viva, including a fun contest to promote & find participants for the new economy:
Viva official web site: https://vivacoin.github.io/
Steem Whales (put your username into the search box to see your own stats): http://steemwhales.com/cryptomancer?weekly
For more posts about cryptocurrency, finance, travels in Japan, and my journey to escape corporate slavery, please follow me: @cryptomancer
Image credits: title pic is from the Supernatural section of fanpop.com. The picture of me with @kafkanarchy84 was first posted by him here. Feel the Bern meme is from makeameme.org. Viva and Steem Voter logos were created by the owners of those projects, @williambanks and @marcgodard respectively. The curation stats are screen shots from Steem Whales. All other images are taken from Pixabay and used under Creative Commons CC0
Achievement badges courtesy of @elyaque . Want your own? Check out his blog.