Hello everyone, we at steemSTEM have a message for you
This post is designed for both newcomers and to the aspiring members of the steemSTEM community. We are going to address important aspects regarding the overall quality of a post that go beyond scientific writing technicalities, and we’ll also demonstrate how to engage in this community. As will be shown, this entails more than having some science-tagged-posts being curated by our crew.
What Does it Involve, Then?
Let’s start with a question. Why are you posting? If the answer is ‘money’ to you, then it is obvious to us, too. There is a distinct difference between posts of somebody struggling to come up with ideas to get rich and somebody who has been inspired to teach or engage in the community with original ideas. The most successful authors are those who are both driven by reward, and passionate and consistent with their work (more on this later).
The level of commitment and pride you have for your blog content is essential. Your reputation and followers are the by-products of this and the upvotes always come next. Yeah, in short: the community comes first. The rest follows.
So, just in case you got this order of events mixed up, please reassess it.
Commitment and dedication
What do you blog about? Plants, animals, mental health? Whatever it is, take your time to do some research on your topic. This is after all how your readers will eventually follow you.
This might take a while, but keep in mind you are not the only one in this situation - this always makes one feel better! The goal should be to create a document that you are proud of - which will likely take anyone quite a bit of time!
But what is research, if not searching on Google? Try Google Scholar or other academic sources. Don’t be afraid to personally email researchers on the subject you’re interested in. They are almost always more than happy to engage with you, give you permission to use their images and offer even more than you asked. It could even be an opportunity to bring a new professional into the community.
Often when I write about something on the fringes of science, I find that a slight detail has been disputed in a paper saturated with evidence to the contrary. These aren’t things to ignore, embrace it and discuss it, even if it is your area of expertise. There’s nothing wrong with a subject being wrong or controversial, as long as you rationally discuss it and provide evidence whilst opening up discussion.
Pressing the POST button
Now, that you have finished writing your post, which might have taken you several hours or even days to put together, you are ready to press the POST button. Yeah!
As soon as one presses the POST button, the obsession begins: ‘Will I be upvoted?’ ‘Why aren’t they upvoting me?’ I think ‘Mine is better than theirs, yet they got the big upvote?’
But, here is the good news: the steemSTEM team has a group of curators, scouring the platform searching for all the material related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.They are real knowledgeable people, looking for quality content in order to reward them better.
But it is a small team with limited voting power. 6 months ago it was easy to upvote every single post, 24/7, that deserved it with time to spare to scour the lesser-known corners of Steemit to find new potential. Now things have grown exponentially, this is impossible, yet each curator still reads and proof-reads twenty (or more) 500-2,000 word posts a day.
But there are much more than 20 authors, and so a higher level of expectation is a must, and authors need to strive to be the best.
So what are the minimum requirements that we look for?
Originality : In case you are not sure of how to be original when writing a science post, it is simple: Write using your own words. This equivalently means making more of an effort than just giving a twist here and there to that article you saw in psychologytoday.com or on BBC Planet.
Well Written, Clear English: If your reader can’t clearly understand the points you are trying to make, then your post is not effective!
Well Formatted Posts: In short, make your content easy-to-read and follow for everyone. Add headings, find nice images (and reference their sources), and do not make your posts too long, or too short either!
Use A Language You Are Comfortable With: Curators are all seeing and all knowing. They even have magic tools! If you feel it’s too difficult to write in English, you may try to translate an article about global warming from a Spanish source and try to sell it as your own original work. This will most likely leads to flags and reports to steemcleaners, and your Steemit career could be over, just like that!
Instead, we have a growing, trusted community of different nationalities, from Nigeria to Italy, France and Venezuela. If you persevere, these communities will allow you to grow in your first language.
If your English is average but needs improvements, consider using tools such as Grammarly or even, you know, friends from the aforementioned communities.
References. Please reference everything; all the sources of information for your post, as well as all the images. This is not that hard and will only bring you credibility. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, so give them a little credit.
These are the minimum objective requirements, and you are capable of meeting them, don’t you think? We think so too. So please keep them in mind.
However, the bigger we grow, the more selective we have to become, so how do you shine above the rest?
Well, once you’ve mastered the minimum requirements, there are, of course, other things to consider: practicality, originality, personality, style and other subjective factors all lead to a more beautiful and worthwhile post.
Sure, a 12-page report on the physical dimensions of spines on the leaves of Western Sarahan cacti or whatever is important in some academic circles, but what value has it to the steemstem community readers, and to a larger extent, Steemit itself? If the answer is ‘nothing’, perhaps you should reconsider the topic. OR if you still choose to proceed, temper your expectations for the amount of attention it will get.
We already discussed using your own words to make original content, but instead of just finding a topic and re-writing it, perhaps try to find a new angle, find some of the latest research and discoveries. Don’t just put other content into your own words (but of course do ensure that you use your own words!), make the content itself your own!
You could even include how the information you discuss has a personal impact in your life. This brings followers in because they get to know you and want to follow you, rather than the information you provide. Writing in your own style gives us curators more confidence that it really is you too, rather than some report copied from some obscure website, which then wastes more time as we work on finding the original source material.
Don’t be afraid to make the post fun or humourous. Don’t be scared to mix it up a bit with some creative spin, fictional characters debating for example, or using your other talents to make it shine, be it music, art, photography or whatever. The more unique it looks, the quicker and longer it catches everybody’s attention.
In short, authors should ask themselves ‘is it valuable’ or ‘is it interesting to the casual reader’, or even more importantly, ‘is it understandable?’
Beyond the Post
There is more to this opportunity. As we said at the beginning, being a member of the Steemstem community is not only about writing a post and having it upvoted by the team. It is first and foremost about sharing STEM knowledge, educating and eradicating superstitious beliefs.
There are many ways to become a member of the steemSTEM community besides posting quality material. You can for instance engage in healthy and adult debates, take part in friendly chats in the steemSTEM chat channel, or even motivate other members of the community through commenting on their posts.
The attraction of Steemit, for many, is the financial reward. However, the posting/expecting to be paid for it pattern can be a frustrating one, particularly for newcomers.
So, please try to look beyond this. This is a view that will only isolate you from the bigger picture that the steemSTEM community is: **a family of science lovers who support one another with mentoring, comments, jokes, upvotes, quick words on the chat, collaborative works and so forth.
And, of course, why not … a community that sets an example to all the other ones within the Steemit platform.