The State of Steemit: My thoughts about the present and future of steemit

in steemit •  5 months ago

state of steemit-01.png

So this is my humble opinion on the state of Steemit as of May/21.

Before I get into this post further, let me introduce myself. I'm Malicered, I'm a Graphics Designer and Artist. I am also Customer support lead at @Privex hosting. Longtime collaborator and close friend of @someguy123

I have many years of experience in startups and small businesses as well as marketing and advertising.

Today, I wanted to share some thoughts on what Steemit is today, and where I think Steemit is heading as a whole in the future. Some of the opinions I will express are unpopular opinions. They may even upset you. But ultimately, this is about the expression of my point of view, and not at all personal to anyone.

Steemit is not in a good place right now.

What do I mean by Steemit is not in a good place right now? I'm not talking about the pricing for STEEM or SBD, I'm talking about the platform itself, and what it means.

It has never been harder for Content Authors to get rewarded for their content before. Well, perhaps it's been harder before, but it is still very difficult.

One argument can be made that I am in fact wrong, and it's never been easier to get rewarded. To argue and debate this further, let's take a look at what Rewards and Rewarded mean.

Rewards. In this context, we're talking about the rewards you get for posting content. The Tokens you get to trade for real life currency. This is one of the more important things that Steemit has to offer because without any rewards there is no point in putting in the hours of work needed to make content.

As of writing this, users are able to purchase big upvotes from many different voting bots in an effort to make it to the frontpage of steemit. Making it very easy to reach those high numbers of rewards and exposure of the front page, provided that you invest enough money.

So the problem here is that since everyone can boost their posts to the frontpage, eventually, no one is going to be looking at the front page. Hot, Trending, it's no longer a matter of "Hey this is really cool content" rather a matter of "Hey I paid this much SBD/STEEM NOW READ MY CONTENT".

Effectively what we have now is a second Promoted tab, as the content is no longer ranked by how creative or cool content is, but rather who was literally the highest bidder.

This has a very negative impact on viewership, as people are simply less likely to browse content that has been paid to be put into one's vision, rather than viewing content that made it into one's vision through its creativity and merits.

Imagine if you will, Browsing through Imgur. If you don't know what imgur is, it's a image hosting site that allows you to upload content and share it publically.

Imgur has a frontpage of it's more viral and most viewed images of extremely interesting, sometimes funny, or even sad images that have made it to the frontpage because of how highly viewed they are.

Now. Imagine if imgur allowed you to reach that front page by paying for it. The frontpage of imgur would be filled with countless advertisements, and general shitposts.

This is effectively where Steemit is now.

Additionally, Vote Bidding is also hurting Steemit in another just as big way. These voting bots often have large amounts of steem power delegations to them. Most of the time, that delegation is purchased for on a monthly basis.

What does this mean in layman's terms?

It means there are impactful users out there, selling their voting power for Voting bots. Now, don't get me wrong here. That steem power belongs to those users and they can do anything they want with it, that is their sole right, and no one can take that from them.

However, if we take a look at what this means for the platform... What if every single whale delegated all of their Steem power to vote bots? Those larger users will no longer be participating in the viewership and rewarding of content.

Remember how hard it is to get discovered on Steemit? There would be 0 incentives for genuinely creative content authors to be rewarded, since meaningful votes would no longer be chanced upon but rather gated behind a paywall.

Want a sick vote? Fuck you, buy it!

And while things are not quite as bad as that now, it is drastically becoming a problem and spiralling out of control.

Now, I know what you're thinking, Malice you're taking this way too extremely. It's not a problem. Plus people can still make money through the Steemit platform.

Well, you're half right. I've used voting bots before, and typically, the profit margin is extremely low. And as more people use and indulge in these voting bots, that profit margin will decrease as well.

In fact, it's so bad right now, that you literally have to plan when you will post a bid for a vote in order to break even. Sometimes you may get lucky and get a really large upvote for a fraction of the cost, but basic economics tells us that if enough people abuse this, it will eventually get to a point where profit on your bids will be almost negligable, and all you would be paying for is to be on the frontpage with the other content that people bidded to get there.

What this means is that we are in a downward spiral into decentifying Content authors. The authors that make steemit worth visiting and browsing.

And while that may not be anything worth considering for some, consider the following:

  • What happens to steemit when no one is no longer browsing or posting content because there is simply no point?
  • What sort of business is going to want to invest time and resources into a dead platform?

These are very serious considerations. But alas, there is quite little anyone can do about this. I suppose mass awareness would be a good step. But without influence and limited awareness of the issue, there's just not much that can be done.

As a regular content poster, I will continue to try to provide something to the platform, even though it appears this train ride is headed for a cliff. Perhaps some brilliant developers will learn from steemit and create a new blogging platform with checks and balances in place to prevent things like this from happening.

I hope for the best and wish everyone good luck in the coming months.

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There are issues here, but there's still a lot of good going on. Many of us just ignore the trending page as it's useless. We support good people with our votes. I'm open to suggestions on who deserves them. I've spoken out against buying votes. It's just enriching a few accounts, all some of those do distribute what they make. It's still distorting the impression that new users get of this platform. My hope is that the trending page can be updated to ignore purchased votes. Of course people will still try to get around that, but it might help.

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Doing something like that would actually curb what's going on right now. Although, from what I've seen, a change like that would take time and I have a feeling would not be adapted normally through this website.

I do think there are folks out there still doing what they can for the positive of the platform. But as we can see, it's going to be outweighed by parties with stronger self-interest in mind. Only time can really tell what's going to happen, but I pray that steemit will succeed and triumph for the all rather than the few.

Thanks for sharing your views, I appreciate it greatly, and I did learn something new. Thank you for that as well!

I agree with your view and I find now even more difficult than before finding good content and also eyes to look at my content. It's pretty frustrating to be honest...I use a couple of bidbots, in the latest posts, just to help me get more SP, to grow the account a bit...but you're right it's a downward spiral. Also, Discord communities have become the only ways to reach someone else, but there as well you have to be active and always in line with the group dynamic, if not you're not considered...it's like creating another bond of dependency. It's an interesting complex problem, both on the UX perspective of the platform both on the intrinsic economical dynamic of the created content.

Truth be told,you are right,steemit is harder now and more difficult,most people dont vote for quality posts and most times it's voting bot that contains more steem power,now leading to something like

If you don't buy votes,You dont get votes

Thanks @malicered for your content keep the quality post coming,i hope to be like your type of blogger some day!

I've yet to hear anyone offer a REAL solution to the bid bot problem.. It's certainly not going to go away.. and if bid bots are SO profitable for the owners why hasn't someone created SMT just for that?

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A short term solution would be to find a way to filter the trending posts by removing posts that have upvotes from the major bid bots. The issue is a bit more deep rooted however. Bid bots are a result of larger users that delegate to make passive income. While users will make plenty of money delegating their SP on the short term, they will be hurting themselves in the long run, when the steemit platform dies and the value of Steem/SBD is worthless.

This is the effect of bigger users not interacting with the other users of the platform causing a chokepoint in reward allocation.

While claiming something as drastic as "The Death of Steem", we have to understand that over a long period of time, user bases will be isolated and not want to use the platform. Content Authors Go, Content Readers Go, Smaller users go, and when steem crashes eventually, Dolphins will go, and so will whales.

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BTW: I proposed a fix for those issues 3 month ago - but it ironically it suffers from current problems as well - no attention.

If anyone is interested, just here comes a REAL solution:
https://steemit.com/utopian-io/@steemhq/how-to-make-steem-great-again-the-exponential-author-reward-method

Maybe it's worth it - a well known witness should repost it, in order to gain attention.

I agree with your outlook where Steem is heading right now.

My best guess right now:
People will move on to another platform sooner or later when a better alternative becomes available. @dan already mentioned a competing product comming on EOS platform anytime soon - brace yourselfes!

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I’ve investigated some of the other crypto platforms and they don’t seem as interesting or advanced. Steem seems way, way ahead of the curve at the moment.

The Steem blockchain is more than a content creation platform. That was a working proof of concept, but it is not the end game.

The end game is Steem in the hands of a million or more people creating new economies and business opportunities. It is about creating a beachhead in the battle for cryptocurrency dominance.

People will use the currency they have access to. Steem is the most accessible cryptocurrency available. It is free to sign up and can be acquired through interaction and relationship. No fiat on-ramps required. No necessity for exchanges. Just sign up and start interacting with others.

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Yeah, and once they fix the sign up and sign up bot problem it should become more frictionless.

I am just getting started here and I have to say that I am not that impressed. Reading statements like this...

As a regular content poster, I will continue to try to provide something to the platform, even though it appears this train ride is headed for a cliff.

...make me even less so. Steem has some issues to work out or I believe it will quickly be replaced by an up-and-coming competitor.

My blog is just in its infancy, but I will continue developing it because for me it is not really about money, votes, or even interactions for that matter (although the latter would be greatly appreciated). The bot comments don't really do it for me :(

Thanks for your comments on the platform. They have been enlightening.

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I already knew my opinion on the matter would be controversial. I mean, most of our top witnesses openly run bid bots.

I'll share an experience that I had with a friend who I introduced to this platform.

I once had a friend who was extremely talented in cosmetology. I pitched the idea that she may want to try her hand in blogging about her work, and maybe even come up with some unique makeup designs.

I designed her logos, and helped her with formatting and editing, even so much as trying to get my friend @someguy123 to upvote her content. Within a week, she made 2 or 3 posts before leaving the platform all together.

When I asked why she stopped blogging, and she explained that she felt like no one was really looking at her content.

That's pretty accurate. I've been on steemit for a very long time, and my audience is extremely small. The only reason my content gets viewed even remotely is because of friends.

It seems like things are going down hill from here, but like I said, I'll do what I can to help on a personal level.

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That’s interesting. I agree the rewards are small but it isn’t fare to compare engagement or audience size to Facebook or Twitter. I too know people who give up really quickly but that’s no different from any other platform. How many have you tried and given up after a single post? I can think of a couple off the top of my head. This platform is going to be for early adopters for a while. We definitely need to reign in the bots but we also have to get better at pitching the platform. I always tell people it’s like getting some pocket change for the same exact thing we already do on all these other parasitic platforms. Why not earn some change while having a little fun?

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Maybe Steemit as a skin has less utility than the founders imagine, but all the other skins add so much value tonthe network. Steepshot and DLive work pretty damn well for being infant platforms. DTube is also pretty great.

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

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Sounds like a step in the right direction. Having a "bot free" new and trending column would be very popular with most steemians.
Dr EMB

I would like to see this backed up with some numbers, because I’ve made more money on one post here than I have posting dozens of videos on youtube over five years and hundreds of hours of time invested into the channel.

I think that we need to ask “as compared to what?” And if you compare any of the platforms that are similar - like Instagram and Steepshot - I get zero $ from Instagram and thousands of percent greater rewards from Steepshot. It may not be thousands of dollars, but that kind of income takes a long time to build. With Instagram it could take me years to earn a single penny. With Steem I’ve earned much more than that from minute one.

Steem has problems, but compared to the alternatives there it’s still better, freer, fairer and more open.