What the Hell Is Steemit, Anyway?steemCreated with Sketch.

in steemit •  2 months ago 

Is Steemit a blogging platform? Or is it a social network? I think it's neither; it's something totally unique.

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I just read this post by the always thought provoking @whatsup. In it, @whatsup proposes two models of interaction on Steemit: Content Discovery, where people compete to have the best article every day, or Social Networking, where people post casual posts, and their audience, more often than not, is their friends.

You should totally read that post, because @whatsup frames the question in a really interesting way. But the article got me thinking, from the perspective of someone who hasn't been on Steemit very long, about where Steemit fits among the mainstream blogging platforms and social networks.

I contend that it doesn't fit.

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Is It a Blogging Platform?

When I think of blogging platforms on the Internet, I think of sites like Medium, Wordpress.com, and Blogger.com. There's no doubt that Steemit shares some similarities with these platforms; especially Medium, where authors can reap financial rewards for their posts (though, as I understand it, that's a process of highly centralized curation).

But when I look at those sites, I don't see a lot of social activity. People are writing articles more or less in isolation. They may have followers within the platform, or--more likely--outside the platform who only go to the site to read new articles by the bloggers they follow.

When I ask myself whether Steemit is a blogging site in that sense, the answer is no. While I'm sure some people use it that way, there's also a social graph on Steemit. People find like-minded people in Trending or Hot, and follow them in their Steemit Feed. I see many examples of people making friends on Steemit, meeting up in real life, and so on.

So that leads me to my next question, based on @whatsup's categories:

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Is It a Social Network?

I use Facebook, and Twitter, and (to a pretty limited extent) Instagram. I even used LiveJournal back in the day, when it was still cool. Those are what I think of as social networks. And it seems to me that the most prevalent use case of modern social networks is to keep up with friends. In most cases, the friends you keep up with on social networks are people you knew outside the platform before you followed them.

Facebook is really centered around keeping up with "real-life" friends, despite their best efforts to push their communities. Twitter users, in my experience, seem to follow either people they know offline, or people they know from some other Internet community--as well as celebrities. Instagram is pretty similar, though I'd say it's more oriented toward celebrities/influencers and offline friends than a place to keep in touch with friends from online communities.

So if there's a social graph on Steemit, like I mentioned above, does that make Steemit a social network? I say no. The big difference I observe between Steemit and the big social networks--aside from the content format--is that most people are not on Steemit to follow their offline friends, or even their friends from non-Steem Internet communities.

Instead, Steemit seems like a place where people follow authors with similar interests, interact with them in the comments, and often end up making new friends that they only know from Steemit. This is a little bit backward from my observations of the big social networks.

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Okay, But You Haven't Answered the Question

Right, I still haven't told you what the hell I think Steemit is.

That's because I don't think Steemit really fits in either category. You don't go to a site like Medium to have long-term interactions with lots of people. But you don't go to a site like Facebook or Twitter to read long-form posts, or essays, or fiction.

It seems to me that Steemit occupies a pretty unique space somewhere in between. As someone who's been on the Internet a long time, and whose first online social platform was Usenet, a social/blogging/whatever site that carves out a new niche is, well...pretty exciting. That's a big reason I'm here on Steemit.

What do you think? Are there other sites that occupy the same space as Steemit that I'm not aware of, or not thinking of? What do you think Steemit is? Let me know in the comments!

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@zyzzyva,
Yeah this is unique and all copy cats of STEEMIT with forks did not make that success as well!
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100% agreed! That's why I didn't include the copycats; nobody else has been as successful.

As I said in another comment, it would be cool if another platform were to compete with Steemit, because I think competition is healthy, but I don't see any other platform out there that can fill the same niche.

SteemIT is a website which is connected to the STEEM blockchain.

Steem is the thing which is hard to describe!

That's fair! I wanted to distinguish between Steem and Steemit in my post because there are so many other apps built on Steem--Splinterlands, NextColony, etc. But of course, there are all the alternate front-ends and tribe-specific interfaces to the blockchain. They're all very closely intertwined!

Fair enough.

Couldn't help myself...
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Okay, I legit laughed out loud at that. 😂

YAY!

I actually started using Steemit as a simple way to start creating content that I would then transfer across to a more formal and properly constructed blog.

But I like the interaction between people on Steemit. Even if I don’t like a lot of the content here.

I am now wondering if I should just continue creating content here since the opportunity build an audience and earn money seems quite real, even if the amount of money isn’t very much.

I've seen a few people doing what you describe--either posting content from their private blog here, or writing posts that also go on their own blog. It seems like there's no reason not to to both! But maybe you could create Steemit-exclusive content in addition to blog content.

I agree that there's good community here--even if you don't love all the content--and that you can build a pretty unique audience.

Doing both has potential. I’m just short on time though so figured I’d create the content here, or at least the drafts of my thought process here, and then create the polished product for my blog from what I have created here.

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well if your blog is a self-hosted Wordpress blog, you can do both using Steempress the plugin. You can create your content on your blog and it will post directly to your Steem account.

I’ve looked at that plug in. The only issue is that you need a business subscription for Wordpress to install it. And that is too expensive for me right now.

If there was a way to pay via crypto I’d do it though...

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you are looking at wordpress.com ... that is not a self-hosted wordpress install. A self-hosted means you have your own domain on your own hosting with wordpress installed. You have far more flexibility with that then with wordpress.com

Oh right. Self hosting does sound like a good idea. I’ll look into it. From what I remember about it, I needed to learn a few new skills. But that could be well worthwhile.

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No-one knows what Steem is but everyone has an opinion on what Steem is or should be :D

My take: It's an experimental 'social blockchain' where people fight if we're more 'medium.com' (long form content) or more 'Facebook' (just post and be social). But those people that fight over that (and what should be rewarded) often forget there's another group of people who believe only witnesses/devs who build 'apps' and other stuff should be rewarded, so while we fight about what Steem is through our posts they think we're stealing 'their' rewards :D

It's fun and new and confusing and sometimes really ugly. I haven't been able to leave this place since I got here at the end of 2017 and I'm still wondering why - maybe because I'm a psychologist and really love to see how people are handling this weird thing they're playing with ;-)

Cheers!

That’s really true! In my short time here, I’ve seen lots of opinions on what Steem and Steemit “should” or “shouldn’t” be. One of the nice things I’ve noticed, though, is that it can be more on the Facebook side or more on the Medium side, depending on how you choose to use it.

One of the things I’m actually liking about Steem as a blockchain experiment is that all the rewards don’t go to devs and witnesses. Most of the other blockchains are all about rewarding devs and people who secure the blockchain (miners, masternodes, etc.)...so Steem is kind of refreshing that way. And I say that as a software developer. 😄

Anyway, I think that la weird thing people can play with” is a great description of Steemit. The whole thing must be particularly fascinating to you, as a psychologist. Somebody ought to write a thesis about this site!

Well Steemit is just a single website within the greater ecosystem of Steem the platform. Steemit and the several other frontends are focused on content publishing similar to Medium. While Medium has centralized curators hired by the company to find and curate content, anyone on Steem can curate as well as produce content.

People on Steem congregate on both Discord and Twitter to socialize beyond the comment sections of posts. Discord also is a good place to create Steem centered podcasts with live audiences.

Steem truly is a growing ecosystem which is becoming like a mini internet of its own with the various use cases, written content, video content, sound content, gaming content, virtual reality content etc.

The biggest mistake I think we make is trying to define it in terms of existing categories. There are elements of most of those categories within the ecosystem. I think the one thing that is missing from most frontends though is a 'wall' where people can post those short statuses. That would bring some real social into the system.

These are all great points. I completely agree that we can't define Steem in terms of existing categories. Maybe that's the real answer to the question in my post: not that Steem doesn't fit into some traditional categories, but that it's really something unique and that it's in a category of its own.

I like thinking of the Steem blockchain as a mini Internet, like you said. I think we're just starting to see its potential beyond blogging/socializing, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Great response and it's true. We do not fit into either social category well.

I guess I was focusing on one element of Steem, the content side.

In addition we are a publishing platform, a network, a social economic community.

I'm so glad your response turned into a post.

I liked your take on the content side of Steemit. It was really true, and it got me thinking.

Steemit is a ton of different things, which I think is why I like it so much. If it were just Twitter + Coins, I probably wouldn't be sticking around.

Thanks again for inspiring me to think about it from my own angle!

Create article and discussion, have been thinking about this lately a lot as I am experimenting with other platforms as well (e.g. tiktok). I completely share your view, but there is one more thing:

This in my opinion is the best social platform for the blockchain community and world! No other site has such related content and let's me connect with like minded people as you perfectly stated out.

At the end, every platform needs to find its unique spot. Although I almost gave up Steemit, it found a long-term place in my heart!

You inspired me for a new post. Hope you'll enjoy it as I did yours. Thank you!

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I haven't tried Tiktok yet. What do you think of it?

I agree with you, that of all the blockchain-based social platforms, Steemit is the best. It's well thought out and has a really good community. The other ones I've seen have seemed pretty quickly put together, and don't seem to have a real goal, like Steemit does.

Maybe some of the other platforms will figure things out as they mature and be able to compete. I hope so. Competition is healthy.

I'm looking forward to reading your post!

I will mention TikTok in my post as well. You should check it out, it is a lot more fun than I initially thought :D got me quite some laughs! Enjoy ;)

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