How Steemit Becomes Irrelevant and Dies - A Newcomer's Perspective on Why STEEM is Today's MySpace

in #steemit4 years ago

Steemit Tombstone.png

I've been struggling to motivate myself to post on steemit. It's not me. It's you.

When I was new to the platform and got introduced to the raw potential of the steemit model as it was originally designed I was truly excited to see what it was all about, and what it had managed to become in the year since it's birth.

The idea of someone's work being noticed organically based on the quality of the content and then rewarded monetarily is truly fantastic. In addition to motivating the creator to continue providing content for the platform, it also provides motivation for said content to stay at a high level of quality or even improve over time. I'm also rather enamored by the change in the power structure of the typical social media model as it is deployed today, where the user is the end product who is being sold to companies as a target for advertising opportunities.

Alas, that is not what is happening here on steemit any longer. In a very real sense, this platform has devolved into a replica of the outside world that we cryptothusiasts are striving so hard to supplant. The fact that one percent of the steemit population controls the vast majority of the power within the platform makes me wonder when the first useless, impotent cry for an 'Occupy Steemit' movement will come along. The fact that the platform has fallen into a world of cronyism, self-segregation, class separation, and ultimately disenfranchisement is truly unfortunate. This platform has a remarkable potential to help usher the masses into the brave new world of blockchain technology, but on it's current trajectory it is going to fail.

In all actuality, the more I find out about the state of the steemit ecosystem the less thrilled I am. For example, today I was introduced to the concept of dead whales. Are there really accounts out there that have been dormant for huge swaths of time that have automatic voting enabled? How big are these accounts? How did they form? Is it just because they were early adopters to the platform? If they're large investors who want to HODL STEEM for a year or two, do they not realize that using the platform in a passive manner like they're doing is turning away a large number of people who could be otherwise attracted to the platform and encouraged to buy more STEEM, thereby pushing up the price?

I don't see how anyone's best interest is being served by the existence of dead whales. Even those 'dolphins' and 'orcas' that are benefiting from it today by having an automatic payment come in regardless of what they contribute to the community are ultimately going to be worked out of a job by the process.

Someone will come along - maybe me - who will develop an alternative blockchain based on some of the same principles that STEEM was founded on, but that dramatically improves on the overall model and implements a platform where the original intent behind STEEM can be more effectively carried out. Maybe I'll call it SteemV2.

When that happens, whether it is me or someone else, the STEEM community as it exists today will slowly shrivel on the vine and the value of the token will decrease over time as new users adopt the more ably managed blockchain and existing users migrate to it for the benefits thereof. In a very real sense, steemit is rapidly turning into MySpace, and the development of Facebook is right around the corner.

I'm sure it's easy for Whales, Orcas, and Dolphins to be very comfortable in their cozy little dominions that they arrived at through either being early adopters, buying their way into power, or gaming the system until they had enough influence to affect policy and enable themselves to game the system even further. Heck, I can't really even fault them. I wish I was one of those lucky few who heard about the platform early on and made ridiculous amounts of STEEM by posting anything and everything that I could think of.

However, if that was me, I'd never leave the platform and I would do everything within my power to facilitate the platform sticking to the original ideals. By doing so, I would foster greater adoption rates and ultimately a higher BTC price for STEEM, thus increasing my fortune. Whales, Orcas, and Dolphins should all have this same philosophy. If you're not careful, newcomers will be coming to this platform to try it out, might even stick around long enough to earn a few STEEM, and they'll then dump it on the market for whatever they can get when they discover what a cozy little world a select few have carved out for themselves and into which the barrier of entry is daunting.

In the short term the price of STEEM is likely to continue to rise regardless of what happens, as millions upon millions of people pour into the cryptosphere. As soon as a better alternative comes along though, people will leave STEEM in droves and the value of your steemit account will plummet. Here's some food for thought for any whale, orca, or dolphin that happens to read this. How much money would you lose if the value of STEEM and SBD went to five cents? Don't you think that you should be doing something in the way of caretaking for the overall platform?

The first, and most obvious thing that needs to happen is to have the auto voting landscape altered dramatically. The dead/sleeping whale problem is only one of the issues that needs addressed. I don't even know how change could be accomplished, other than through the influence of those who are benefiting greatly from the current system. One of the best ideas that I have come across is outlined by @mikepm74 HERE

Another idea that occurred to me that could be put in place by just a few on the development side would be to install some methodology where repeated votes as the only action within an account, over, and over, and over... would experience diminishing returns. In other words, if a dead whale is out there that has five accounts set up to auto vote every time they post, then the value of that vote to the creator being upvoted should be decreased by 10% for every time that they get upvoted without, say, one original post or two comments on the platform by the voting whale. I honestly have no idea how a system like that could be designed and implemented as I'm no coder, but it's one way that the STEEM platform itself might be altered to help it survive.

Perhaps the most effective way to save steemit would be a complete reset of the platform, where everyone goes back to zero. Now that there are many, many more people who understand the underlying structure there would be much greater competition right out of the gate and a more organic form of growth could occur. In a model like this perhaps you could render all exiting coins before block X on the chain as zero voting weight. This would maintain the value of the existing user's tokens but render impotent their unfair advantage in the marketplace that is causing so much disruption to the ecosystem. The more I think on it the less I like that particular idea, but some kind of 'reset' is what really needs to happen.

If you want any further examples of what I'm talking about, look back into history at the dot com boom. Thousands upon thousands of companies with literally trillions of dollars of collective funding were launched, grew, and ultimately failed within a couple of short years because they were supplanted by a better idea or they failed to evolve and remain competitive as the dot com landscape itself evolved. Make no mistake, the cryptosphere as it exists today is a direct allegory for the dot com boom in 1995. This landscape is shifting rapidly, and all of these blockchain technologies are literally still in their infancy.

Does steemit want to be like Ebay, Amazon, and Google? Or would the community rather end up like Kozmo, Beenz, and DrKoop?

Ultimately, I'm a big picture kind of guy. My core self tends to see overall patterns and trends instead of paying attention to small details. The pattern I see happening here is one of a slow glide into obsolescence. It won't crash tomorrow or anything, but without intervention that is where it is headed. I don't have any great solutions, and certainly lack influence, being new to the platform and still learning. Surely there are those here who could do something about the track that steemit is on.

Does anyone happen to be listening who has that kind of power?

Unlikely, I suppose, as I don't have an angel auto-voter set up to bump this post directly into the trending and hot categories.

Steemit, I'd like to introduce you to MySpace. I bet they have something they could teach you.


You're a great writer - as a suggestion I'd add some headings and sprinkle a few pictures to break up your text. It'll take your posts to the next level and make it easier for people to read. 😉

^^What this guy said sounds very familiar...and intelligent ;) He must be as smart as your wife!

Thanks @mikeycolon. As you can tell, my wife agrees with you :) I'll get the hang of this eventually.

The wiring is the hard part and you've got that down pact. ☺️

It’s not a simple issue. After my first month here I spent about 2 more trying to fight the good fight, only to feel it was falling on deaf ears. Later I learned that almost everyone active in the community is trying to solve these issues in one way or another but it really comes down to ideological differences and a big fat elephant in the room, that is this:

There is no new paradigm in cryptocurrency without change in culture.

Cryptocmarkets work just like the stock market. The more you have, the easier it is to gain. The rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. We try to set up implementations to fix that because yes the system is broken, but you can’t make a system that isn’t broken until you change the ideas upon which it is built and work on the culture it resides in.

Steemit is like this for exactly the same reason the crypto market is doing well, because it offers opportunities to make a lot of money. All that talk of a better world, it’s not up to crypto to create that, it’s up to us.

There are many arguments that are unpopular because they don’t fit the crux of free market capitalism. I believe curation rewards should be 0 and anyone serious about curation should earn from making posts on it. I believe there should be a cap on voting power. But you get into all kinds of problems with this....if there’s a cap, what stops someone from creating 100 accounts and filling them to the brim.

I can understand the desire for a reset too but think of how that would feel to someone who has worked hard for a decent place on the platform. You are essentially stealing from them.

The problem isn’t steemit, it’s our relationship with money and power.

Stick around, you will be surprised at the good you can do despite having the odds stacked against you. Your opinion is valued. Sometimes It’s just overheard in all that’s going on. There are way more decent people here than you think.

Let me be clear that I'm not bashing the vast majority of steemians as a whole. I completely agree that there are a whole lot of great people on the platform, and for those who are finding success as newcomers I am both encouraged and encouraging. My wife (@byn), for instance, is doing remarkably well here. Of course, she's quite extraordinary (all personal bias aside) :)

Where you and I disagree is regarding your point that you cannot make a system which isn't broken until you fix the underlying cultural and societal issues. I understand what you're getting at, and I agree that the inherent nature of humans will always lead some to seek out gain well beyond their peers. However, steemit as a platform could easily be modified to at least mitigate the impact that the top 1% is currently having in terms of presenting a barrier to entry for newcomers to the model.

I wouldn't want to - as you put it - 'essentially steal from [established accounts]'. I do understand that they've put in the time and effort, and that simply by being early adopters they profited disproportionately to what anyone coming to the platform today could reasonably expect to gain in the same amount of time. The same thing is true of any crypto. I tend to think of posting here on steemit as effectively running a mining rig for STEEM. Instead of a PoW mining concept, STEEM is just using a PoC (Proof of Content) model instead. By getting in early when the mining difficulty was very, very low they were able to mine huge amounts using very little in terms of resources. They deserve those gains just as much as someone who set up a BTC mining rig in 2010. The place where this analogy runs dry though, is that someone who mined a whole bunch of BTC early on doesn't have an unfair advantage at mining additional BTC today, which is very much the case with STEEM.

That leads me to an interesting thought in terms of how to express what I'm trying to get at. In my above post I called it a 'reset'. It may be more appropriate to term it a 'difficulty adjustment' that is applied relative to the age of the steem that you 'mined.' Some sort of algorithm that essentially weakens the influence a unit of steem power can have over time without devaluing the actual underlying STEEM.

I don’t know how much we disagree really, I don’t find many problems with what you say, I’m just trying to share my perspective. I also want some changes in the algorithm, but what I mean is, a change in the culture would mean a clearer idea and agreement of what we want steemit to be, how we can accomplish that and coming together to pressure the witnesses (some of which may not even need pressure if they feel it’s what the community wants, @timcliff comes to mind) to make changes that would help the distribution of wealth. Rather than jut focusing on the negative, try to make a proposal. If it sound a good, I’ll share it. If it’s good enough, I’ll send it to all the whales I know and mention it in my circles.

One of the changes in culture that I propose though is less focus on what someone “deserves” because this is where people always end up arguing and it’s all subjective and based on personalities beliefs. We all deserve more, especially those of us who struggle, no one really “deserves” less unless they don’t care about others, but even that is a subjective call.

Your idea sounds great to me, is it realistic? I have no idea but you should talk to people in the chats about it and see if anyone bites. There are a few witnesses who hang out in #general.

I've not been involved in any of the chats to date. To be honest, I don't even now where to find them :) What chats are you using?

We have a chat called be awesome, linked in most of my posts. We are all small fish though. If you want to talk to the big fish, or do a search for the steemspeak discord channel. There are about 4 or 5 whales that Hangout in each but you need to hang around and meet a few people first otherwise they’ll just blow you off cause there are a billion minnows who think they’ve been wrong and wanna complain :-P

Good points. I agree that it will be difficult to make changes due to unintended consequences. I've worked with companies that have caused serious issues in their marketplaces by giving perverse incentives to members to do things that caused issues.

It’s kind of a mess already, but I think we still have a shot if we recognize our own ability to influence others. @serapium has some good ideas that I hope he can channel into some conversations with people who understand the tech more than I do!

Well thought-out and very well written.
I've only been on steemit for a couple weeks now.
I am improving my quality of content.
But find it impossible to get viewed more than once or twice by anybody.
The struggle is real minnows can drown.

Unfortunately, a great many minnows do indeed drown and leave the platform. Steem could be so much more than it is. It's a shame that it's growth has been stunted in this way. Thanks for commiserating with me :)

Agreed, I would follow you!

This was really well written and thought out. I salute you for putting this together.

I hope there will be a solution to this problem and perhaps an alternate blockchain with a social media aspect as you mentioned.

If everything was reset to 0 people would lose their minds! Plus I didn't know about the dead whales.

Great post - salute!

Still being relatively new to the platform, I didn't even know about the dead whale issue. I did however notice just how hard it can be to get views as a minnow. Hopefully this circulates enough to make some people in higher positions stop and think. Also, hello from a fellow Okie!

@myleskshupe I'm getting the impression that there are likely quite a few skeletons in the steemit closet that newcomers generally just aren't told. I actually came across this on my own whilst trying to figure out how one is supposed to grow even a modest following if the trending and hot pages are populated by nothing but established giant accounts. When investigating it I kept seeing the same names on the same people's posts over, and over, and over as upvotes. I finally came across the post that I linked to in the above post that turned me on to what was actually happening. Where are you from in Oklahoma?

That's some solid detective work. I guess since I rarely browsed the hot or trending I hadn't noticed. I always browse through the new section cause I figure that's the best way to find minnows like myself to upvote and connect with. I'm from Tulsa!

You just made this song play in my head: Iiiiiiit's a Small World, Aaafter All, Iiiiiiit's a Small World, Aaafter All...

Broken Arrow here.

Dang that's crazy, I'm from BA! That's where I graduated from.

The platform is as useful and smart as the people who use it. If we all stop trying and just let it go with a flow, of course it will implode, but as long there are people noticing things, willing to help, learn and work every day, things can always be better.

I agree that there is always room for improvement. And while I also agree that the platform is only as good as it's users, I would point out that there will soon be many, many, many platforms like steem from which to choose. Steemit hasn't been around long enough, and the vast majority if it's users are new enough, that there hasn't been adequate time for serious brand loyalty to have developed.

Great post! I re-steemted it. As a newcomer, you will be surprised by the number of views (very very few) you will get. And you will not receive the post that you really like.

i wish i had seen this in time to give the upvote love. i really appreciate the sentiment...i feel it deeply myself. Like @whatamidoing says...many are working on this...i do think there are some great folks here for the the right reasons. the trick is finding the webs that link all us together. Its funny a friend used the myspace comparison to me today. cheers for the spirit and thoughts on the future of steemit

Thanks for stopping by! I'm hopeful that the platform will find a balance soon, and that brand loyalty will start really setting in before a different platform comes along that is better managed.

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