Busy and Bewildered
OK, I'm going to break one of my cardinal rules here, which is not to blog about blogging, and not to steem about Steemit.
What the hell is going on here?
This place was great when I was taking an extended break from work and could actually sink hours a day into writing--and then figure out how to share it. I'm grateful for the chance to earn a little cryptocurrency and even more grateful for the friends I've made here.
But now that work ties me up for 60 hours a week, I realize how difficult it is to keep up--not just with the content here, but with the basics of navigating the site.
The world needs readers as well as writers.
Most days now, a reader is all I am. I'm okay with that.
But Steemit doens't really serve that need.
I also realize why your everyday worker/family caregiver/"normie" society member gets so addicted to easy-to-nibble communities like Instagram and Twitter, and how unlikely they are to invest the time needed to understand a platform like this. If I hadn't already come to love you guys, there's no way I would have gotten into this club.
I've got about three hours of "leisure" on a normal workday. When I get home from work, I want to spend a couple of them with The Wife, talking about our days and our plans, and maybe watching a couple videos together on YouTube. That leaves an hour in the morning between pouring that first cup of coffee and getting dressed for work; lately that's been tied up with general life admin as well.
If I'm lucky, I can squeeze in 30 minutes of online time on the morning train. (The ride is an hour long, but for the first quarter hour we're in a cellular dead zone, and by the last 15 minutes the train is too noisy to concentrate and too crowded to open a laptop.)
As for the ride home, I'm asleep for most of it.
I might get some free time on the weekends, but lately that's been taken up with visiting family, doing home maintenance, running to the dump, and taking naps. Throw a flu and a big storm and an extended power outage into the mix and I've had little time for creative hobbies.
I'm checking in on Steemit after an extended break, in other words.
I miss the place.
But I've only got a few minutes here and want to make the most of them.
So where's my feed gone? Ah, I guess it's this link that says "My Friends." Fair enough.
But most of the regulars are missing.
It's nice to see communities are here!
That was a long-promised development. But, what an odd collection of subjects are on offer!
I guess that's the strength of decentralized, user-generated content. We're not going to get clear-cut topics like Science Fiction, Romance, Current Events, World History, ect. Instead, I can subscribe to "World of XPILAR," "Steem Church," "Alien Art," or something called "Neoxian."
Some of these sound fun--I wish I had a bit more time to explore. But things are so Balkanized that users are spread thin. A lot of the subjects don't show posts from the last seven days, so there's no point in voting on them. (Unless the payout system has changed as well?)
I guess this brings the focus back on the content and the comments, though. Do you find yourself reading older posts more than before, when you want to catch up on your favorite communities?
Where to post?
It seems that you can post in any community, right? I'm not sure if posting automatically makes you join that community. Everything I've subscribed to so far says "guest" next to it. Are my privileges limited?
And then it turns out posts to a community don't go to your general blog? Maybe that's why so many of of my followed friends in the former feed seem so quiet. If so, how do I find their community-based work?
Also, I've got no idea what tags I'm supposed to use on my posts now. Do I pick a community for them and then add tags as normal?
There used to be a limit of five tags but now posts have heaps of them.
So much to ponder...
Most of the posts are about Steemit. (Like this one.)
This has always been the case, but it's in overdrive now. Here's my problem with that: Nobody would ever have read the New York Times if all the articles in it were about the New York Times.
Maybe Steemit is different because most of the people reading here are also creators with a stake in their platform. And maybe the New York Times is a bad example because no one really reads it anymore anyway.
But it gets to the point where it just feels like we're smelling our own farts. There might be some novelty there (is that the Chipotle I had two days ago?) but nobody's going to stick around for it long-term.
If I've got a couple minutes on a lunch break I want to see what people are doing and creating with this tool, not learn more about the tool itself.
And then there's all this malarkey with Justin Sun and Tron.
I guess he owns us now?
Wasn't the point of content on a distributed blockchain that nobody owns it? What exactly was for sale, and what currency was used? Steem? SBD? Bitcoin? Who exactly was the seller and where did the money go?
I can understand buying a huge stake and becoming one of the biggest of the whales. That seems perfectly fair and reasonable. But if someone were doing this, shouldn't the sudden demand for Steem drive the price up?
Now that would be great for the community! It would motivate a lot of talented content creators to spend more time here as well. But the value has actually been lower since the "acquisition" than before.
Then a couple days later Sun wanted out? It sounds like he's as confused as I am, and no wonder. I've been here almost three years. He stumbled in a month ago, looked around for all of five minutes, and said "I'll take it." But what does "He wants out" mean? That he wants his money back?
Anyway, I realize this is the sort of grumpy old-man late-stage Andy Rooney grumble that doesn't contribute all that much to the discussion. I suppose I could spend some time googling and reading and eventually get a shadow of an idea of what's going on, and how to move forward posting my humble essays and photographs.
But again, this isn't a full-time thing for me right now. I'd rather whinge and then chat with you all in the comments.
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Camera divider and signature illustration by @atopy.
If you'd like to read more, you can check out a categorized catalog of my posts on Steemit here.