The steem community is experiencing a lull right now and many users have saw fit to blame the whales, bitcoin's down turn, the cycle of the moon and even stepping on cracks (which will obviously break your mother's back). @whatsup posted a honest bit about the community's misunderstanding of where the responsibility lies and I think he was spot on with the idea that we are responsible for ourselves.
And while Steemit is not high on the development team's radar, they operate in a way that echos the reason why @Dan stared working on blockchains, to allow people freedom to communicate and share. Steemit provides the tools, the rest is up to us.
I want to look at why we are lacking a community right now and while there are many reasons, I'm going to focus on two, the first I'll discuss here and the second in another post.
The value of information
If we look at the history of how information transfer has been monetized, we'll notice traits common among all mediums. Firstly, people who want information will pay for a it, but only if the source is good. Second, people will try to sell low quality information by marketing it as a high quality source. And it turns out that it's quite easy to market low quality information if the demand for good sources outweighs the supply, atleast until people figure out the scam.
Here on steemit, we see no restrictions on the type of information that gets transmitted and in relative terms, if someone is paying attention to a piece of content, then it likely contains information that they want or are interested in.
Everything is being packaged as "something you need to know" aka, information, and it is subjected to the idea that it has some sort of value. How the value is derived has always been a long standing debate. In comes the steem blockchain.
Now you might be wondering who the intended audience for this article may be. Let me just make clear, this post is intended to provide guidance to people who want to understand how this platform can be improved upon. I have a significant amount of stake in steemit and I'd like to see it succeed, but I don't think it's possible unless the community can come to a conclusion on how to use this blockchain.
What exactly has happened in the last year since steem it's inception?
Steem took off running but despite all of the success it has seen as a social media platform, it's also struggled with an identify crisis because of the content that authors push out daily. Without a doubt, content is not all created equally and certainly should not be rewarded equally either. By adding a reward system to content indiscriminately ontop of a difficult to evaluate process and a lot of funky things can happen.
Many of these things are well known and spending just a few weeks on steelit will expose you to it. Primarily, the top issues we see are disagreements on the value of the information being shared and vote buying. I won't touch to much on vote buying, but I do want to look into the value of content on steemit.
There's a systematic issue with most content is there is a lack of depth in the subject matter.
Within steemit is an overwhelming amount of content from travel blogs to "how to" and diy articles. This isn't a unique phenomon to steemit since the real meat of the internet is built on the freedom of expression and how you can share any view you want. And the bulk of it has always been people trying to share knowledge.
But let's go back to the obvious reason why most of the content on steemit exists; to earn steem tokens, but how do we value the content? If we go back to the beginning of this article, we established the concept that people are willing to pay for information and steemit has created a system that removes the part where you reach into your own pocket to pay for that information. We all know how this works so I'll skip this detail and go straight to to the million dollar question.
Is the information something I would pay for?
Since the primary way to earn steem tokens is to produce content, ask yourself how much you think your content is worth if you had to pay for it. Its likely that your content isn't worth much, no matter how much work you've put into it. Remember, the reward is based on what the community thinks the content is worth, not how much time and effort you put into it (unless you bought upvotes).
I can't speak for everyone but the majority of content on steem is produced for no particular audience in mind and often lack depth in its scope. More often then not, the posts have little entertainment value because of poor writing quality. Granted, persistence and consistency will improve your skills if you continously study the craft of story telling, but how many people have actually tried to do more than blog about their own typical day to day activities?
This is less of a knock on the authors, but more to highlight how difficult it really is to develop intriguing stories to tell, and why basic blogs aren't worth much.
know your audience
The auidance here is rather small, despite having over 1 million registered users. So certain types of content might be accepted on one platform but not another. As always, know your audience applies.
Why am I pointing to the audience as an issue? Let's look at the numbers.
1 million registered accounts
60,000 active daily users
Of which less than 500 people control over 50% of the vested steem. The remaining is scattered and unable to produce any measureable work.
The overwhelming majority of the content and ideas produced here needs to be focused at grabbing the attention to the top 500 holders of steem power. If people aim at anything other then this, then the community of all steemians are collectively at a disadvantage in the long term
Out of those 60,000 daily active users, how many create new posts each day? Let's say all 60,000 post at least once a day.
I don't have the metrics, but it would seem to me that more than half of the users are from places in the world with limited education and limited writing skills. They'll be significantly disadvantaged when it comes to creating attention grabbing content. So we are now down to 30,000 posts. All of these posts are fighting for the attention of the top 500 holders of steem power. Fyi, the #500 spot will hold about 30,000 SP.
Out of the 30,000SP how many do you think are posting pictures with no compelling story? Or food blogs (of which many can be found through out the internet with significantly higher quality posts). Or daily life posts about litterally nothing that we care about in particular?
At the end of the day, blaming whales bring little resolution to the table because by now the attention is already lost. I find myself checking steemit less and less frequently, and more time spent thinking about how to increase the value of the token.
You guys tell me. I have 26,000 SP and I would love to work on a project with someone and use my SP to create something that is NOT AN UPVOTE BOT, NOT A CURATION RESTEEM ACCOUNT, but instead something that spreads steem content outside of steemit. I am not a developer, I am a structural engineer in real life and I have a decent amount of SP that I'm willing to delegate out if you have a good proposition. I have my own but let's hear out what you guys have in mind.
Would steem investors be willing to pull back delegations to steem upvote services and pool things together to build a our own communities pages?