Steemit... and Evergreen Content: A Paradox?

in writing •  2 years ago

I suppose we all have our own approaches to writing and creating content. One of the things I was taught-- and continue to believe in-- is the value of creating "evergreen" content.

In case you are not familiar with the term, evergreen content means something that has lasting value-- something that will still be as relevant next year-- or even five years from now-- as it is today. 

ChimneyRock
Chimney Rock at dusk, Sedona, Arizona

That's not to say that news stories of current events don't have value-- it's just that they are more intended for immediate consumption.

As I was getting ready to end my day, I started thinking about evergreen content and Steemit.

From a contributor's perspective, we know that payouts on Steemit pretty much happen in the first 24 hours. Sure, there's the 30-day payout, but I hardly ever see anyone collect more than a few cents. Based on that, there's incentive to create content that will get attention NOW, without really caring much about what's going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year.

At the same time, we're often talking about how to contribute to building "community" here, and creating a venue that offers "lasting value." Why? Because when potential newcomers to the site see a "library" of high quality (and "evergreen?") content, they will think this is a great place for them to start contributing, and that will continue helping Steemit grow.

I got to thinking about my content elsewhere. 

Cairn
Rock cairn in Oak Creek, near Sedona, Arizona

Some of my articles on HubPages (for example) are 8-10 years old and continue to draw 10-15 actual page views per day (mostly from Google searches) as they slowly and steadily roll past 20,000, 40,000, 75,000 page views in their lifespan.

Some of the individual posts on my blogs have had 20,000 or more views, and continue to be visited... some of them date all the way back to 2002. 

So where am I going with this?

Just trying to reconcile the ideas of "only today" rewards with the idea of building "long term value." 

I mean no worries-- I plan to always do my best, regardless of whether I am only rewarded today, or I also derive long term benefits.

I just have a concern-- based on a LOT of years of web writing experience-- that the Steemit rewards structure might encourage "click bait" rather than "quality content" as the site grows and draws a larger and larger crowd from more mainstream sources. I mean, why should I put much effort into making sure contributions will look good to a Google search... three years from now... if it doesn't really benefit anyone?

What do YOU think, fellow Steemians? Is the short term reward structure counter to the intent of creating long term value? Or am I just overthinking again? Or can you create long term value with content that has a "short shelf life?" Leave a comment-- I'd be interested in hearing other people's opinions!

(As always, all words and images by the author, unless otherwise credited. This is original content, created expressly for Steemit)

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I am likewise concerned about the incentive structure of Steemit encouraging sensationalism over substance. The rumors of a change to week-long payout windows is a step in the right direction, I hope.

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Well, I will be interested in seeing what the HF17 changes will bring... supposedly at the middle of March. 7 days at least will allow for some sharing to other social sites and blogs within a timeframe that's "useful."

I just really like Steemit as a venue, and would hate to see it self-destruct through too much short-term emphasis.

Wow. I was thinking this same thing just this morning. While I am not a great blogger, and nor do I put out much original content(most is shared from other sites) I do try to make it relevant for the long term. great post. Upvoted and restemmed. Also shared to FB and twitter.

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@troyvandeventer, thanks for the comment and support! One of the things I really like about this site is precisely that it doesn't have all the "sensationalist nonsense" we see on so many content sites... but this short-term focus is a little bit of a concern to me. It's not going to change my personal long-term strategy for posting... I just worry about it creating issues with attracting contributors, down the road.

One of the big draws for me of Steemit as a platform for publishing my work is the promise of durability, that once it's on the blockchain, it will remain there.

Sure, short term rewards are nice... but I value the thought that my descendants far in the future may be able to find an archive of what I write here.

Long answer to say, yes, I agree with you completely - evergreen as the norm. Oh, I'll do some ephemeral posts - contests and such - but I may not index them all.

Like @jacobtothe, I hope the longer payout window will also help matters... I am also very much looking forward to "permanent edibility" so that I can have a more reliable and better arranged Topical Table of Contents.

😄😇😄

@creatr

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Agreed-- I find the "durability factor" very attractive, too. I'm getting a bit tired of having to perform "emergency rescue" missions to retrieve my content when sites suddenly announce they will be shutting down at the end of the month... it's my hope that will never happen with Steemit. And my hope is also that this will not become a Facebook-like pit of baby pictures and people sharing what they ate for breakfast. Maybe that sounds arrogant... but I think there's a place for everything.

Yeah this is something I have also thought about and was pleased to hear about the time increase to 7 days. At least thats a start. Hearing about people still reading your posts from way back in 2002 is very interesting and is a good example of how information/intelligent opinion is a valuable commodity. Like a work of art, it does not devalue over time. When a newbie to art looks at Rembrandt the experience to them is new.
I have a feeling that Steemit will take this into account in the future
Perhaps when someone looks at a blog some years after it was first published the author will get some kind of % - like a copyright fee or something or pay some steem to look at it- Something anyway
It is a very valid point you make though and I dont think anyone can argue against.
I wonder of the 24hr timescale was initially introduced as incentive for people to keep posting. But there is only so much a person can say in a day.
How some people can keep posting high content everyday is incredible to me. Once every couple of days is enough for me.

Good thinking!

I just have a concern-- based on a LOT of years of web writing experience-- that the Steemit rewards structure might encourage "click bait" rather than "quality content" as the site grows and draws a larger and larger crowd from more mainstream sources.

I think you're right, that is the immediate incentive. Don't forget that after HF17 it'll be a 7 day pending payout period instead of the two 24 - 48 hours, and month periods. This will change things a bit but probably won't overly change the effect you describe.

One thing this means that larger bodies of work are better chopped up and dragged out piecemeal over a few posts. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for active experience on the platform, perhaps it's like a TV show cut into episodes instead of a feature movie.

I wonder if there could be an archive initiative? I keep thinking of app ideas to apply to Steem(it) without actually changing it fundamentally, and this might be another candidate. We could brainstorm about how to reincentivize this based on reward shares or something similar, sort of like a trail or guild?

Upvoted and linked to my latest post. Cheers @buzzbeergeek !

Your concerns are valid, @denmarkguy. Steemit seems a wee bit like Bubblews in my view, and that is not reassuring. I've been on HubPages for over 4 years and earned a little money there. They place a premium on quality, which is a great thing. Their emphasis on quality alone has allowed them to outlast many other writing sites.

You can find me on HubPages @ http://hubpages.com/@rohanfelix

Same here. That's why it took me a while before I signed up on steemit. And even after I got approved, I was thinking whether it's worth investing my time creating content for this site if I see people just making posts in order to get pay offs instead of creating quality content or posting about what they really love.

I do hope that steemit doesn't just die out. Well, I'll probably stick around for a while