How To Determine Content Value In A Social Media Platform? (Hint: Steemit IS A Social Media Platform)

in steemit •  2 months ago

First, it was hi5.

Then it was MySpace.

Then Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a plethora of other social media platforms emerged, in an unprecedented wave of personal empowerment, based on the free dissemination of opinion. It's very important to understand that: social media is not about information (as in triple verified information, like the news should be), but opinion, or whatever the heck I want to think about everything.

Although they are different in structure, and they may prioritize different types of content (short text, long-form text, photo, video, etc), all of the above have something in common: the business model. They are making money by offering the user generated data to advertisers. In all of the above platforms, the main product is the user (who, most of the time, has no idea that if you're using something for free, then you must be the product being sold).

Then blockchain came and a new type of social media platform crystallized. One in which access is not for free and user data is not sold to advertisers. Steemit is probably the most common of all, and the most complete. It has more than a million account (out of which about 100,000 are constantly using the platform). There are already countless Steemit clones (the steemd blockchain source is MIT licensed, which means everybody can take it and clone it, just like the initial alt coins built on top of the Bitcoin codebase).

The fundamental difference between Steemit and all the "legacy" social media platform is how value is determined.

I know there's something lingering in the back of your head from the previous paragraph, so before diving too deep, let's make this clear: yes, Steemit is not for free. It may look like it's for free, but it isn't.

Here's why:

  • account creation carries a certain cost (the majority of accounts are created by a few accounts pool which are willing to make a business out of it). This will be even more prominent starting with HF 20, from September 25th.
  • every blockchain interaction diminishes some resources from the account (right now it's about bandwidth, but again, starting HF 20, there will be a new metric called Resource Consumption, or RC).

Now that we settled that, let's move into some of the fundamental differences between legacy social media platforms (Facebook et al) and decentralized media platforms (Steemit).

Horizontal Influence versus Vertical Influence

Facebook plays the "big numbers" card. The more followers you have, the biggest your influence. If you have a page with 100,000 followers, then you are an influencer. You can brag with these numbers and try to sell advertising (or the potential attention of those 100,000 followers) to big spenders.

Steemit plays the "relevant numbers" card. It doesn't really matter how many followers you have, but it matters how loaded they are. Or how much SP, how much influence they can exert in the platform. You may have 10 followers, but if each of them are upvoting you with enough SP, then you are trending.

Let's call the first model "horizontal influence" and the second one "vertical influence".

The activity on a "horizontal influence" platform will be very different from a "vertical influence" platform.

In the first case, you're chasing as many people as you can, regardless of any other metric.

In the second case, you're chasing only the relevant ones (with the extreme case known as "whale hunting").

How Many Verticals?

As I said, one metric to measure the "depth" of an influencer is the amount of SP. But that only means you have a relevant stake in the platform, nothing more. You're some sort of investor (wait, you are an investor) hoping that the platform itself will bring some ROI in the future. As an investor, you can direct your influence to any actor on the platform, in the direction that you see profitable in the long run. I'm talking here about honest investors, not about those whales gaming the rewards pool, obviously.

But is that enough?

As many controversies on the Steemit platform showed during the last two years, that's not enough. Just because you had so much money to become a relevant stakeholder, and, at some point, you upvoted a shitty author just because he posted a funny meme, well, that doesn't mean the meme's author is valuable. It means that in a certain context, you thought that it was funny.

So, I think we need more verticals here.

One of them was already tackled, and I'm talking about reputation. I wrote a longer article about it here, so feel free to have a look at it. It measure the reputation of a user against the entire ecosystem on the platform.

Another one I think it should be expertise. And we're talking about communities here, about niched content. Hivemind, and all the DApps built on it, may soon come up with a relevant metric here.

And another one I think it should be seniority. It's a metric based on how much time a user spent in the platform, actively. It's a way to recognize early adopters who are still active, as I think they deserve a way to be recognized and rewarded.

Bi-directional Value

And, and that's probably the most surprising feature, all of the above metrics should act as an "amplifier" of an upvote.

For instance, if a somebody gives an upvote worth 10 cents to a user with a high reputation, an expert in its field and also a good, solid early adopter, the actual value received should be somehow multiplied, so instead of 10 cents, the author should receive 13 or 17. That would obviously increase the curation for the upvoter as well.

It's a a bidirectional value exchange, as opposed to the unidirectional way we have right now, which is somehow limited.


I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.

Dragos Roua

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Steemit is the future



I like the idea of seniority. I read all the posts I comment on and upvote. There should be the concept of quality comments introduced somehow. Yes they can get votes. But rewarding real engagement should be pursued with more consideration.

It can be hard to judge who is a valuable user here and it will depend on your priorities. We've seen that reputation can be gamed and I wrote about this recently. The new UA rank is another measure, but no one number tells the whole story. Some of the accounts with the most followers are just spamming the system. I'm interested to see how Steemit scales to many millions of active users, if that can happen. Some people don't appreciate how small it still is.


I just created an account - got 4 followers after a minute, and of course that spammer superpromoter was in it.


O.o not clickable to enlarge? hm...

So this is one example how follower numbers are totally useless as a measurement.


I've got almost 5000 followers, but few are what I'd consider real. We've seen how easy it is to get many more. I could buy my way onto trending to boost my rep and followers, but I choose not to


I partied my 200th follower with a giveaway.
And right at that time the bot invastion began and in half the time it took me to get to 200, I had 2000.


It's slowed down a bit for me lately. Maybe this is part of less people signing up. I'm just happy to have a good crowd who actually read my posts.

I understand that bi-directional nature would see bigger rewards for new comers but would a seniority bonus have a couple of unintended flow on effects 1) discourage new comers as you see some people earning $5 a post, whereas you are earning 2 cents (and you know it's a long time until you will earn $5? and 2)As voting and curating would be worth much more to them than creating would you get newcomers not creating as much and focusing their votes on older members?


The bi-directional nature is already priced in, as in senior members who have an established audience already make more by the simple fact they get more votes, it's just not formalized. Formalizing it in a predictable, deterministic way will encourage newcomers to stay longer on the platform. It's a promise that it's bound to be fulfilled at some point, since it's written in code, as opposed to the uncertain ROI of "fame".

Hope I made myself (reasonably) clear, didn't finish my coffee yet :)

The bi-directional value can make the difference adding value to all the metrics

Regards @dragosroua

I guess steemit will be the Future for the next Renaissance Era which will step in this World through crypto-spectrum.

Also, regarding music/art, i think musicoin will be the next level for the out of the box thinkers in this spectrum as well.

One of the best platforms untill now. Hope to stay in the bussiness for ever.


So is Steemit a total pioneer? Myspace seemed a little bit similar to Steemit in that it was not "censored" like Facebook with algorithms.

I think @steem-ua is a good start to evaluate engagement and real reputation.
We are in our way to improve the blockchain and backends that’s for sure.
Steem on

if you're using something for free, then you must be the product being sold).


I support the metric system because it will encourage loyalty on the platform.

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I upvoted your contribution because to my mind your post is at least 9 SBD worth and should receive 169 votes. It's now up to the lovely Steemit community to make this come true.

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Have a nice day and sincerely yours,

Thanks for your insights from a senior (good point :-)

The seniority ideas is good...It will serve as recognition to those who remained committed to this platform and encourage newcomers to stick....

I really love this post. I've never properly understood the concept and what truly differentiates other medias from cryptocurrency medias.
Recently, in one community I belong, an argument was arisen about the irrelevance of too many followers if they aren't upvoting a post.
And obviously, it is very true that followers don't just Upvote posts except mostly, they know you, your post attracts them deeply or your influence on their own could really make a difference.(monetary wise).
While on social medias, followers like or comment on your post if you are trending, like famous if not in real life but on the platform equally, if you maybe respond to their posts too in a way that they appreciate it, and alot if the posts come up on their wall.
Sometimes I make a post on social media and get low response compared to the number of users online and one day I realised only 30% of friends would come across the post.

This post of yours has really given me more insights about these platforms. Thanks.

Can't see how objectivly implemet that.

btw. you got a post about what changes (in detail) in HF 20? I haven't seen one so far.

I was thinking in unfollowing you because of those useless (for me at least) "market snapshot" you post everyday, but this post changed my mind.

Mostly because of what you wrote on the title: Steemit is a social media

This is the kind of discussion i am trying to bring to the community discussion for a while now, but since i am small, people dont tend to pay much attention:

If steemit is a social media, low quality do not count as abuse

(On the other hand, flags should be embraced, and used as the user see fit)

Lets be real: professional content creators Will never embrace Steemit due to how the reward system works.

If Steemit wants to be a high quality content platform, the payout model must change. Or else, lets stop the whining, and embrace the use of flags for content you dont like.

Btw, as a social platform steemit is also lacking. Its like a duck: can do a lot of things, but none of them os good enough.

Bidirectional value sounds the most interesting in my opinion. If you put a lot of expertise in an article you should be rewarded accordingly.

I will translate this post to many languages and i will repost it under your name as we discussed it b4...
I like what i read from you. So i will dpread your voice and name all over the steemit space

Resteemed my friend
I stopped using my facebook account for many reasons and i have transfered all of my resources to steemit.
Now i am using steemit as my number 1 social media.
I know stemmit still young compared to others. But it is the only space thst i found my self inside it.
Thank you

Steemit is more better than facebook.Everyone like steemit,This is very great and beneficial platform,steemit community is to good,I love this platform,

I am new here at steemit, but can very well realize the power of this platform.
Nice post on the content value.
Keep steeming

"free dissemination of opinion" and Knowledge

@dragosroua could you expand more on this? “the steemd blockchain source is MIT licensed,“

Steemit is the very best... we are lucky to be here early.

Posted using Partiko iOS

Steemit has a great potential and i think when we can see ads in the platform in that moment steemit will be unstoppable. Regards

Realy your blog written awesome

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Interesting comparative analysis, Dragos!

I think it's relevant to have different kind of metrics (or "verticals" as you called them) publicly available.

How these are used and refined in time is important for a more accurate and actual picture, and for the effects they generate in the ecosystem when users desire to "level up" or to keep their level.

These metrics may also have unintended downer effects, if users are constantly reminded of lack of progress or even regress. We humans generally like to go from point A to point B, and to see we've made some kind of progress in that direction.

i dont know whether you see my comment good or bad but literally i always write what i watch not like those asshole who just comment the shit and yeah quality is important as well as reality ... 😊

When people said to me that SP can be bought it makes me think in how the big accounts are build, I'm new here so I don´t really realize yet how it works but I'm thinking if this is a business where who already has money or power before come here is the one who can grow up or if actually write good and useful post is a way of growing.

And I though about it because if is better to give upvotes to big accounts that can give you better rewards, Why should some one will spend time and votes helping the small ones?