I've been on steemit for 10 months now and, for the most part, I've really enjoyed the experience so far. I've connected with a lot of really cool people who do very interesting things with their lives, all while making enough money writing about my passions to support my own hobbies and interests. Steemit seems like the ideal social media outlet of the future, with people coming together, sharing their passions and connecting in a way I've never really witnessed anywhere else. I've praised it before and I'll praise it again; the community here on steemit is just incredibly supportive and friendly. However, after recent events, I find myself asking: could all of that be changing? We've seen a major uptick in new users, which is fantastic! Everyday, hundreds of new individuals join steemit, taking their first steps into the world of cryptocurrency (and I say welcome to you!). But as the community grows, I sense more and more of a shift away from the "old steemit" and we seem to be...changing. So I ask you, fellow steemians, do you believe that steemit is changing for the better or worse?
Overall, we have a very friendly community. Sure, every group has a couple bad apples, but steemit has always been a place where people can freely exchange ideas and conduct very friendly and professional conversations. Even the disputes and disagreements I have witnessed on steemit have been extremely civil, and maintained an air of mutual respect to them. There is no other social media platform that offers the support that I find on steemit. But recently, I'm seeing more and more negativity (and this isn't solely on the new users; plenty of long-term steemians have been rather nasty as of late); some comments are nastier, sometimes even downright spiteful. I've seen hateful images, blatant racism and entire posts that exist for the sole purpose of attacking or hurting others. While there is plenty of room for respectful conflict on steemit, these users sling insults and hate at one another for seemingly no reason other than they can. We all have differing beliefs and ideologies here on steemit, but now it seems to be getting just a little harder to share these beliefs without facing some heated opposition. Perhaps it is because we are pretty much all strangers here and some people feel more comfortable being nasty through anonymity, but hate seems to be rearing its ugly head on steemit.
Now let me be clear, this darkness does not reflect the overall attitude of steemit BY FAR. I'm talking about a very, very small percentage of users who partake in such negative encounters, and though the number of negative users seems to be increasing, the positive steemers still vastly outnumber these negative ones. So why am I concerned? Why don't I just write it off as a few people being...well, complete dicks? I worry because, personally, it reminds me of how much facebook has changed since I joined up. When I logged on to facebook in 2008 (holy cow, so long ago!) I absolutely loved it. I played stupid, meaningless games, connected with friends and family and followed groups that just posted ridiculous pictures. It was all just lighthearted and fun in the beginning. That facebook is a far cry from what we have today. There is so much nastiness and hatred between users, even "friends"; blatant racism and sexism can be found in seemingly every comment section. There is so much negativity and hatred across the entire platform that I fight with myself over whether or not I should just log off for good. What the hell happened to this promising social media outlet; how did we enable such hatred? And worse, could this trend be beginning on steemit?
Equally alarming is the increasing greed among users. In the earlier days of steemit, it seemed like everyone was unified in wanting to see steemit succeed. Sure, we all wanted to make some money, but we also wanted to grow and improve the community, support cryptocurrencies and help one another succeed. But now we have more and more people joining up who don't really care if steemit succeeds as long as THEY succeed. There seems to exist the false belief that steemit is a get rich quick scheme, and a lot of new users don't realize it's actually an investment. I feel this leads to two of the biggest problems we are now witnessing. First, some new users quickly realize that making money off steemit isn't as easily as they had originally hoped. Discouraged by the slow rate of success, these users sometimes become more toxic, sometimes lashing out against those steemians who have benefited from earlier success (accusing them of cheating the system). This only drives the increasing negativity I previously mentioned. The second problem is that people falsely believe that the best way to make money is to post as often if they can...even if it is meaningless random photos or memes. This is a practice commonly referred to as "shit posting" and as harsh as it sounds, it is a huge turn off for many steemians; instead of well thought out posts sharing stories, art or information, we are inundated with floods of single image posts that have absolutely no substance. Now I'm not talking about single photos photographers post here to inspire conversation, I'm talking about people who take images they don't own and share them here for the sake of making money. Even well meaning individuals trying to share a funny image with no original content are hindering their own success. To find new unique content, we now have to sift through endless waves of impersonal posts that do not reflect the individuality or passion of the poster. In order to gain new followers, some will simply beg for followers anywhere they can, even in the comment sections of other authors' posts. Where we once had intelligent conversations and constructive comments, we see shameless begging copied and pasted everywhere.
I don't like to leave things off on a negative note so I will also explain why I think there is great hope for steemit. We have a lot of genuinely great people here on steemit; for every toxic or rude individual, there are a hundred rational, respectful community members. These people take their time to support one another through upvotes, polite commentary and reasonable discussions. They take the time to construct posts that support steemit by keeping readers engaged and active. And steemit has something that facebook doesn't have; we have incentive to police ourselves. Facebook is owned by the shareholders; if it succeeds, they make money, if it fails, they lose money; facebook users remain largely unaffected. Steemit on the other hand, is owned by us, the community! When steemit succeeds, the value of steem goes up and we succeed! We have valuable incentive to make sure steemit remains healthy and successful. We upvote good quality content and talented authors, while flagging the negative posts that threaten steemit's integrity. In this regard, being a little greedy could be a good thing; if we want to see a return on our investment, we have to ensure the community succeeds!
So, in summary, I personally think we are seeing the beginning of some big changes here on steemit as our little community grows and prospers. Despite my pessimistic outlook in parts of this post, I actually feel fairly optimistic about the future long-term success of steemit. I think overall the changes that are happening on steemit will only strengthen our community of the value of steem. That being said, we have to be sure recognize where we need to make improvements as well; we need to be able to steemit's integrity from those who would try to do harm (not that I believe they would succeed). But these are all just my opinions, so I ask you all, especially those who have been a part of the community for sometime, how do you think steemit is changing? Do you believe it is changing for the better? And what steps can we take to make sure steemit remains the successful, supportive and welcoming platform we all have come to know and love?