If you expect to be paid "fairly" for creating "valuable" content, your expectations do not match reality. I've touched on this aspect of human nature before, but in the context of Pokémon Go. It applies to Steemit as well. I left a comment last night which got me thinking about it again.
Let's start with this direct quote from the Steemit white paper:
The economic effect of this is similar to a lottery where people over-estimate their probability of getting votes and thus do more work than the expected value of their reward and thereby maximize the total amount of work performed in service of the community. The fact that everyone “wins something” plays on the same psychology that casinos use to keep people gambling. In other words, small rewards help reinforce the idea that it is possible to earn bigger rewards.
It's important to keep this in mind. This is how the creators of the platform view it and have designed the economic incentives it operates with. Though some like @screenname are trying to raise awareness about vote count verses post value, ultimately it doesn't matter. We still end up with this reality:
143 votes don't matter as much as 48 votes backed by more influential accounts. Since I first started posting in July, I've slowly, over time, come to realize this truth. It has helped me set my expectations accordingly. Properly setting expectations is key to living a joy-filled life (speaking of, my post Expectations Breed Frustration, Expectancy Brings Joy earned over $128).
This point has been hammered home for me each week as I post the Exchange Transfer Report. It's essentially the same content structure, updated each week. Some weeks have made over $300:
Others, less than $2:
And yes, I recognize how the $ amount matters less than the VEST count.
It takes about 30 minutes to create each report. Should I expect to be consistently paid for my efforts? Does this fluctuation in payout frustrate me? Should I be concerned about Steemit not being "fair"?
Why? Because I've read the white paper multiple times. I didn't quit my day job with some grandiose dreams of making enough money here to support myself (or my family). I recognize it for what it is: a lottery game. That's why each vote is exciting! Each payout a gift.
Steemit is not a meritocracy and content value is not ever going to be "fair." Value is subjective. Not only that, the online timing and mood of the voters (especially the whales) matters more than anything else in terms of payouts. It's not a meritocracy. It's chaotic, like a turn at the roulette wheel. Expecting consistent results is somewhat silly.
But here's the interesting part:
You can make a difference here in terms of which content is valued.
The only catch: you need to invest some serious money. The people who determine value distribution here are those who have a lot of Steem Power. They either invested real money, real time, or got in early. Without their investment, the practical value of the tokens generated by STEEM and rewarded to authors would be exactly zero.
Think about that.
Value really is subjective. Yes, good content on its own has value, but only when monetized. There are no ads here, no monetization taking place. All the real, exchangeable "value" derived here is happening because of the speculators and investors. Content creators can whine and complain all they want, but ultimately the value here is determined by those who control the value of the ecosystem. If you don't like that, you have a few choices:
Keep your expectations out of whack and live in frustration as you continue working on great content which you see as going unrewarded.
Leave and continue posting on other sites which also don't pay you directly for valuable content.
Invest in Steem Power and become a whale so you can more greatly influence value distribution here.
Continue creating content and forget about the payouts. Maybe even hide the $ symbol. Ironically, that post earned over $880.
Seems to me, option 4 makes the most sense (though I did a little bit of investing in Steem Power early on as well).
Sound good? Am I missing anything? Which option are you choosing?
Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, voluntaryist, and blockchain enthusiast. He wants to help create a world we all want to live in.