FUTURE SUCCESS IS BASED IN FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
Here's the quick of the matter: If STEEM does not implement and innovate photographers (and other content creators) will never come here and for that matter most users will leave. But here's the thing that's just a general rule for almost every company and site. So that's not really news to anyone.
If things stay the same we'll get even less growth... and to be honest for about the last month we've had little to no growth in many areas except price but that's a market thing. The beginning of the year the growth was pretty awesome by comparison.
However, I don't think it's fair to predict the future while stuck in the past or by insisting things are bound to stay the same. You have to assume there will be improvements and you have to predict based off of those.
One issue is that Steem / Steemit has been much slower at new developments than most of us would like. But let's take a step back... most sites that we use and love are slower at iteration than we want them to be. If you look back at this post I did yesterday I mentioned the major changes FB did and looking back we don't realize it took years. They also had the luxury of lots and lots of moving parts so they could make changes pretty often to lots of them. Also a ton of employees and big time investments. And expectations for social media weren't really set... they were setting them, now new social media is living in those shadows.
So we will spend the bulk of this post talking about how future developments may impact steemit and the photography community, but first a little more insight...
VALUE TO PHOTOGRAPHERS AS IT STANDS
To be honest the photography community on steemit is TINY in comparison to almost any other social media. I estimate it at somewhere between 100-300 active photographes posting content... if that. I think there are only about 1000-3000 people who dabble in photography and that's not active posters/voters. (Do you know of a method to come up with better estimates of these numbers?)
It's also smaller in general numbers and smaller in number of the common social media influencers. In fact almost zero of the common name photography industry influencers are on Steemit and I doubt even a tiny small fraction know it exists. I know quite a few of them from 2011-2012 the Google Plus days even though there have been many more (and different ones) that rode themore recent Instagram wave to insta-famous-ness.
Photographers and Social Media
Let me take a moment and explain that photographers are chasers... they chase new opportunities again and again because each new opportunity is a chance for a new person to stake their claim of new followers whereas it's hard to wiggle into old places like FB, Instagram, Youtube and various photography forums because people are often satiated with the number of people the already follow. There aren't a whole lot of ways to make money as a photographer and most of them do have benefits from social media following. You're either marketing photoshoots to people, showing off your portfolio for busnisses to hopefully see, or you're convincing other aspiring photographers to learn from you so you're selling to other photogaphers. (actions, classes, workshops etc)
Let me say I think it is GREAT that most photographers have not found their way to steemit yet.
I think photographers like the idea of being an early adopter and grabbing their user names and getting some quick attention on a site where people are begging for new people to follow... but the truth is Photographers don't stick with Early Adopter sites well. They also abandon ship pretty early. Vero, Ello, GPlus etc etc. Even years ago when some jumped on to Instagram but then kinda backed off until it was really hobbiest, celebrities and pretty much non-photographers that took instagram mainstream and that's when photographers committed in mass. They are quick to jump on but tend to just ride waves better. (same with most people... it's nothing unique really) One of the main concepts of an early adopter site is an understanding that most people won't last
I would rather a photographer wait 6 months and join than they join now and last 6 days
STEEMIT NOT READY
Truth of the matter is that STEEM/ STEEMIT isn't ready for mass adoption yet. I personally haven't invited very many people yet because I know that it would require me really guiding them every step of the way. I tend to just focus on people that have the mentality to handle an early adopter site. People like @derekkind @caseygrimley ... then there are people I talk to all the time and am totally willing to teach and keep motivated like @sjarvie5 and I think it was @photogames community that got her motivated.
IT WILL BE...
But that said I do think we will see mass adoption and that's my big prediction. In other words I'm bullish long term if I'm bearish right now. I think it's actually healthier we don't have massive growth until some things get changed.
These are the core things that I think will lead to more mass adoption
IMPROVED SIGN UP SYSTEM
I didn't think it would be as big of an issue. But it is... Many times friends have mentioned it and therefore i've seen the impacts. It's an issue and it needs to be fixed. You can't make people wait 1 week that's just the simple logic
MORE FAMILIARITY WITH BLOCKCHAIN
As they learn about other blockchains they get acquanted with key benefits of steemit.
- Blockchain's ability to store information
- Crazy long crypto-graphic passowords and the concept of "keys"
- Benefits of decentralization
- Benefits of non-censorship or non-centralized censorship.
- CryptoCurrencies and volatility etc
COMMUNITIES / #HiveMind
From what I understand of this new Blockchain function it will be a HUGE boon to the whole ecosystem. It will for sure impact photography as well.
- I see several communities doing an amazing job of curating and showing off amazing content
- I see places where you come and you have a pretty good expectation that you'll see great content
- I see @Photogames having their own community page bringing our already stellar community closer together
- I see more interaction between photographers and creating better connections
- I see more users/photographers educating eachother and helping us be more effective at steemit
- I see people realizing they're from the same location for the first time.
- I see more people connecting over lots more common interests.
If we think back to the FOUR C's it will help with a couple of them.
- Content, Connection, Commitment and Capital
It will specially help with connections and content... to some extent it gives people a thing to do and a place to go and check out when they're on the site those little touches will make an impact on Commitment as they continue to find things to keep drawing them back
FINDING PEACE WITH ROLE OF TRENDING
- I think the community in general has to start finding peace with the economic model of steemit. That doesn't mean giving up on taking it to places they want to see it go. But they to realize that the whole site can't be built upon TRENDING being the end all be all of the site. I think they need to realize that Trending isn't ALL ABOUT showing best content first. I think they have to understand there is an economic underlying of steemit and people will continue to treat it as a business and an investment and that doesn't have to be bad. Adding in communities will go a long ways to making them feel comfortable with this because the desire for stronger curation methods can find a release valve over there. I also think businesses have there own sort of release valve mechanism in steem and it's not ads ... but they'll be one day paying us instead of us getting nothing out of ads. And perhaps that will bring some people to peace about the trending aspect. _Perhaps it's true that some will never find peace about trending and will continue to stay away but the more people who find ways to USE the economic system instead of insisting it must ONLY be used for curation of content. I think there are ways we haven't thought of yet to continue an economic mindset and a content mindset that don't depend on destroying either.
PRICE OF STEEM
what fun is a prediction of the future of steem without talking about prediction of the price of steem.
We deal in probabilities that change and what I may think today may and should change in a week based off of new information. My prediction is going to be a view of a positive scenario (but keep in mind a negative scenario is always a possibility)
For me for the last week or so I was thinking we'd see a dip (which is presently happening) this is a healthy correction that would help us to get to 60k satoshi perhaps even 70k satoshi. I think there is a general bull market for a while on most coins in the market. Then I think there's another healthy correction sometime this summer. I'm hoping and expecting steem to dip from that 60-70k range and perhaps find a resting place around 30-40k.
Then I think or predict we see another end of the year rally and even if only slightly larger than last year that would be healthy and exciting for steem. Because then I see steem at 80-100k levels possibly at the same time bitcoin creates another All Time High. If they both peak together which tends to happen I think we could see levels from 16-25/usd for steem.
Obviously all this is just predictions based on one probability, which i think is pretty well in the realm of possibility. But every week with more and more data we start to form new ideas.
HOW THE FUTURE COULD ROLL OUT
(don't bank on these)
- We have flat growth for a while longer
- Price of BTC and STEEM go up in may/june
- Hivemind and Improved sign up system are realeased
- Steem Price rallies even more because of that
- Communities/Hivemind starts to pull together communities (and community leaders)
- Because of sign up, communities and price we see way faster growth of users.
- Some photo influencers (from other locations) start jumping in
- We see a typical photographer flash join aka photographer gold rush
- Half of those photographers are not willing to learn how it works and don't last more than a week
- In general though we have tons more photographers and hopefully we have the ability to educate them and keep them happy until they have connections and capital to feel more comfortable.
- Because of higher rewards and a larger base of active users YOUTUBERS will start using Steemit more.
- Later in the year SMTs are finished and I don't think they effect STEEM too much for photographers but it boosts the price again.
- There will be several new competitors to Steemit which helps educate about the concept of social media on blockchain.
- Then towards end of the year the whole market rallies again and prices go crazy if not somewhat unsustainable again.
I think Photogames community along with Photofeed are two of the main glues for the photography community right now, contests are fun but I don't see them as community builders and people don't sustain motivation or "commitment" because of them. Right now the most important thing @photogames can do is stick around and be consistent. It's not gonna be the large net that gathers Every photographer together but I think it's the force that Makes/developes/empowers the movers and shakers in the photo community on Steemit. I hope @photogames doesn't create followers but turns them into leaders who feel like they can help all those new photographers that may join in at any time with a small spark of interest. Those photographers that often come flying in and last a moment unless they find fertile ground and a reason to stick around.
I say keep a close eye on those who participated in the more demanding Season2 of @photogames... those are the names you want to remember. @photogames did not make them leaders it just helped bring it out a bit and bring them together.
How to help
Right now one of the best ways is directing new photographers to initiatives like #photofeed or even #travelfeed / @travelfeed and even @photogames specially as we head to a format of simple daily games for a while. Then going to those hashtags and giving out votes. We dont' have to wait for whales to make them feel good about being here. We can all help build a desire to commit for the people joining. #photofeed and if you dare even #photography is a good place to start voting and commenting on people's stuff.
BOLD CRAZY PREDICTIONS
In the end if I were to make wild wild guesses I would think the following.
USERS: 1 million users now - 3 million by end of year.
PRICE: $3.50 price right now - $20/usd price at some point this year... likely very end.
PHOTOGRAPHERS: I think there are maybe 200-300 active photographers right now - I think 2000-6000 by end of the year.
Let's see what happens, shall we. What do you think? Do you have any predictions?
NOTE: I reserve the right to change my mind