Many of you likely have noticed the steemit community, the steem blockchain, and the other projects running on top of the blockchain like busy.org, chainbb, esteem, etc are not like other social media sites on the internet. When it comes to the discussions something magical is happening here. How is it we can discuss things here that on other sites will usually devolve down to name calling, trolling, and general unpleasantness?
Well first though we have the ability to down vote (aka the flag) it generally is not used too often. There are exceptions, but in general unless there is a really good reason to use it most people do not. Using it for a purely opinionated reason that has nothing to do with protecting the community tends to make the person a target. They may find themselves the target of flags after that and they tend to either change their ways or they are not part of this community for long.
There are exceptions. There are occasionally those that have amassed a large amount of steem power that will swing their sword of opinion around and whack posts that the rest of the community may frown upon. When challenged they will typically mention "it is my steem power, and I can vote how I like". This is actually a true statement. Though if everyone were to vote the way they do soon this community would not be the beautiful place that it is. In fact, it'd potentially be far more hostile than any other social media community.
Why would it potentially be more hostile? If you've ever experienced a flag here for purely subjective reasons that had nothing to do with spam, abuse, or plagiarism then it likely had a huge mental impact on you. It likely felt like a gut punch, and for some reason it may have depressed you far more than up votes lift you. Though it is equal to an up vote but in the opposite direction for some reason it seems to impact people far more than the up vote. By many months of observation the reactions would seem to support this. The person will generally act like they are attacked. There are the exceptions who do not react as such and simply roll with it. They do not appear to be the norm.
A key survival mechanism is to NOT fall to the temptation of verbally attacking or flagging the person back that was not particularly nice to you. I've actually never seen this work out too well. I've seen it result in a lot of hostility. It is particularly dangerous to do this if your target is some massive whale. I have challenged people doing these activities before. We each have our own methods, and you don't have to use mine. All I can tell you is that I was always civil. If they called me names, or belittled me I tried really hard to not do the same. It can sometimes be really difficult. Yet, all I can say is I have done this several times and once my target was the 7th most powerful account on steemit at the time. He has laid waste to many others. He did call me names, and belittle me. Yet I replied civil. We kind of in an unspoken way agreed to disagree, and something magical happened. He didn't flag me. He didn't put me on some auto-down vote bot. I once pointed out that the only reason I could think that he didn't flag me was because I was civil, and while it was obvious we disagreed on some things he could tell I cared about steemit and the community. His only response to that was to reply "He is right". So this is how I believe I've managed to not be decimated by a huge powerful person who has no problems swinging the down vote sword. Perhaps my experience might help some of the rest of you.
So what does this have to do with Steem Power?
That was indeed a lengthy build up to the true intention of this post. We love this environment. We love the amazing conversations we have here. We love the fact people should feel free to discuss many topics that often cannot easily be discussed anywhere else. We love that this is decentralized, and thus difficult and potentially near impossible to take down.
With the decentralization comes an issue. You cannot create moderators, and police to force people to behave a certain way. Doing so tends to centralize the power somewhere, and you are giving other humans power that others do not have. They can just as easily turn into a subjective censoring machine. We've seen this happen with moderators at other sites.
So that means WE are the moderators and custodians of this beautiful and potentially world changing experiment.
As you interact and your steem power increases you potentially become more and more capable of helping to keep this project working like it is. This is extremely important. It is perhaps more important than you realize.
The floodgates have not yet opened
There has been no serious advertising attempts made for Steem and Steemit at this point. This is by design and that will change in the near future. When that change occurs we could potentially have millions of people flooding steemit.
They will arrive only being familiar with how facebook, reddit, etc work and they will show up here and try to use steemit like those places until they learn how things operate. Without people like you and I who have accumulated steem power our beautiful community could devolve into something nowhere near as beautiful almost over night. The fact that there are so many of us that have steem power that love this community and know what it is and how it works is the thing that can hopefully stop this from happening.
We will be the custodians that can shepherd the new users towards the way the community works. We are the ones that can hopefully keep it from exploding.
If it gets as popular as I believe it likely will we eventually can have some wealthy people that might buy a lot of steem using money and power up. They could become a big whale instantaneously and they too could start swinging the down vote sword however they want. This could be pretty damaging. The only thing that can help with this is those of us that have been here for a long time banding together and doing something to try to mitigate that when it happens. Odds are this will happen at some point. Murphy's Law tends to kick in. This is especially true of technologically based systems like this one. With our steem power we can hopefully minimize the damage a Murphy's Law type incident might bring with it.
On the positive side if there are people powering up to whales overnight that would quickly drive the value of steem up and thus any steem power you hold will be worth a lot more.
Ups and Downs
It is likely as with anything that the value of steem will fluctuate and go up and down. It could some day drop back to the $0.10/steem it was a few months ago. The key here is not to panic. That is actually a positive time where your posts tend to earn you more and more steem power at a rapid pace. It is also an opportunity to buy steem and power up for a lot less money. So during those down periods there are also some positives. For when one of the up swings comes like the one we've been in for over a month now that steem power that you got for a very low price suddenly becomes very valuable. It has increased by over 10,000% in the last two months.
Steemit/Steem Blockchain has something other crypto currencies do not. It holds something of value beyond simply the currency itself. It holds our creations, and the things we have consigned to be stored in the blockchain. For some people this may be worth more than the currency itself. For this reason I see steem being around for a long time, and potentially due to its staying power becoming the most important crypto currency on the market. The only true competitor at the moment as far as I'm concerned is Ethereum and that is purely due to the smart contract aspect. Though ultimately I believe people's own creations may end up being more important to the masses than smart contracts. It should also be noted we could also do smart contracts on the steem blockchain if people develop it. I suspect they may. The steem blockchain is also way faster than the Ethereum blockchain. Thus, it is actually superior and only currently lacks the smart contract. It should also be noted that as far as Smart Contracts that EOS is on the way an it likely will make Ethereum look like an infant when it comes to smart contracts while also providing a bridge for steem and other currencies. The bottom line is that I don't think steem is going to go anywhere, it is more than a crypto currency. Other than Ethereum the rest of the currencies would have trouble making this claim.
Unless there is a dramatic change, or some new crypto that does all of this better I don't see an investment into steem power and holding onto it as being particularly risky. People talk about currencies being backed by something. Steem is backed by our creations. So is a piece of metal (e.g. Gold) worth more to you than something you created other than for a purely monetary reason? So in reality Steem may be the only crypto out there that actually is backed by something. It is potentially backed by the most important of things. Our own creations, thoughts, and personalities. This is pure genius in design.