Danger Zone 3
If you were into photography, where would you go on the web? What about animation? What about guitars? What about bitcoin? Guess what: Those are all different places.
People naturally group their searches for info into interests and those interests themselves have categories, little idea wars, and so on. The sites surrounding and catering those interests reflect those interests and help people find what they are looking for. The Steemit community isn't really about anything in particular. By catering to "everything" content it will end up catering WELL to almost nothing.
This might get solved by adapting steem into different site formats, and I'd LOVE to help if I can despite being new to crypto code (remember I'm a dev too!). So instead of a photography channel we would have a steem powered 500px, a steem powered quora, and so on. When we have a steem powered guitarists forum and similar, this battle will have been won. In the meantime, Steemit faces the danger of being of BRIEF interest to many but having staying power with very very few. This truth really compounds the other ones. Despite the other issues I'm writing about, if Steemit REALLY catered well to specific groups, that would give them a reason to stick.
For instance, no web forum I know of pays contributors to it and nobody expects to be paid. Yet they stick because those forums cater to them. With steemit, people see the dollar signs and expectations change. They will come for the hope of cash, but probably only make a few cents at best. And since the site doesn't cater directly to their interest X, they will leave.
How do you allow for the possibility of money without it being the expectation? That's genuinely hard. Right now the big advertisement of Steemit is to get paid. But most won't - which might be fair but it's a different mentality. And if they don't get paid (especially if they don't get paid despite attracting an audience) they will leave. Unfortunate, but true.
Money image credit "Tax Credits" (76657755@N04) on flickr
Danger Zone 4
So far we've looked at the issues of turning attention into money via ads, the downside of "attention" and activity not being what we want for quality, and the problem of the attention being too distributed and unfocused.
These are all problems of GETTING attention. But there's another: keeping it. The best attention for creators is often a two way street. Granted, it's a 1-to-many type of street, but it still goes both ways. That's essentially why patreon works. Before patreon and still today, creators (smart ones) would create email lists or other ways of reaching their fans directly.
- Could remind users of new or upcoming content
- Could gather feedback
- Could connect fans to shops or ways of supporting the artist (concerts, art showings, readings, or just branded merch)
- Get a headcount that you could use for marketing, sponsorship, or leverage for partnerships
Steemit has mechanisms that can kinda-sorta replace these items, but not all. If payout were related directly to audience size and enthusiasm the amount of steem someone has could be used for marketing. But with most coming from whales a huge payout probably means something like having the right 10-20 people like your post. The other options: building a list to advertise 'real world' events would inevitably mean that users would need to leave the site and go to an artists personal website or some such. This loops back into the problems above: If users and authors are all better catered to OFF steem, they won't stay. And unfortunately, the incentives don't really line up yet.
So now what?
Steemit has FANTASTIC potential. Steemit could change the internet at a fundamental level in a GOOD way. We just need to make sure it isn't overrun by trolls, BS marketers with twitchy content, or blowing up and burning down in a burst of novelty then nothing because specific user groups don't find it "sticky".
All non-Archer photos CC: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/