A week ago @techslut posted an article on her blog comparing Facebook to Steemit, and she stated in particular how @ned could do more to ensure that good content is rewarded and that whales don't just upvote their friends. I commented on this pointing out how disappointed I found it that people who posts lots of memes rake in the money because they are connected, while lesser connected Steemians with great content earn next to nothing.
image credit: Isabelle Lauren
Needless to say my comment got the usual backlash. One commenter told me I should invest in Steemit and not just want to receive handouts. Rather than being drawn into a senseless debate in @techslut's comments, I decided to write down my own thoughts on this subject.
The Steemit promise broken
I was drawn into Steemit by @svedenmacher who had heard about it at one of his foreign exchange conferences. He was told (which he in turn told me) that Steemit is this great place where you can blog and earn money from your blogging. And when I checked out Steemit, the marketing spiel on the website told me the same. Why blog on a platform like Wordpress where all your hard work goes unrewarded? the website asked me (not in so many words, but that was the message). If you blog at Steemit, you can actually earn money from your writing.
I do have my own blog, my own website even, at https://isabellelauren.com. I love having my own space on the internet. I mostly blog for myself, but I occasionally write guests blogs for which I get paid. I decided to do Steemit on the side to see how successful it would be. I didn't expect to start raking it in right away - after all, I was new and no one really knew me yet. But as long as I produced great content, I would be recognised and rewarded, right?
Wrong. While I kept seeing posts in the New and Trending categories which were no more than a picture or a meme earning in excess of $100, I only earned $0.01. It wasn't until I joined Discord, investing a lot of time connecting with people there in the hope that some would upvote my posts and I could earn a bit of money, that I saw my payouts increase a little. Reading more articles on the workings of Steemit assured me that I am not in the minority to think that the Steemit promise doesn't really ring true. It's not about how good your content is, it's who you are connected to. It is, in short, a high school popularity contest. Or, as we used to say (but paraphrased): it's not what you write, but who you know.
Writing is working
Going back to the commenter telling me that I should invest in Steemit. I think he meant that I need to buy Steem Power, so my posts earn better payouts. Or I should buy votes. But that goes against what Steemit promises to be, and at any rate, I can't afford to do so. I invest quite a lot of time in Steemit. I research my topics, I take pictures (most of my pictures are my own) and I invest time connecting with others, either through Discord or by commenting on people's posts.
Writing is working. I don't expect any handouts. I don't just fling up a half-assed post or a generic picture and expect to be rewarded hundreds of Steem dollars. Steemit is not the only platform where I have heard people talk disparagingly about content creators. I have been asked - through my own website - to blog for companies "for exposure". I always refuse. My time is valuable to me. Writing takes time and effort and if people don't think that should be rewarded, then why build a platform built on the premise that good content should be rewarded?
Despite what I have outlined above, I still like Steemit. I am not going to quit any time soon. I am intrigued by cryptocurrencies and the whole blockchain thing and I think it's exciting to be part of something new like this. I can be frustrated at how this platform works and still try to make it work for me. I may never rake in the big bucks. I am not much of a people pleaser, I speak my mind and am not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. I still invest heavily in my website, because that blog is something that won't suddenly disappear. And my hard work is slowly starting to pay off there.
I think it's all right to say, "Hey, this platform doesn't actually deliver what it promised to." It's disappointing, for sure, but that doesn't mean I am here just whining away wanting a hand out. I am looking at this critically and seeing its flaws, but I can also admit that it is an intriguing experiment that I am happy to be part of. So no, I am not going anywhere. I will still create quality content promoting feminism and female sexuality and maybe one day I will be able to elevate my status from minnow to...what is the next step up?
Many thanks to my followers who have already help me step up from the penny posts to earning a few more cents (sometimes even dollars!). You are all amazing!
Check out some of my quality content here: