On this day — January 29th, 2020 — it has been precisely three years since I created a Steemit account and decided to poke around this place, just for a bit. And — at the time — it really was for "just a bit."
It has been "quite a journey," you might say.
This is going to be a somewhat "random ramble" post; perhaps a bit of a "log" of where we have been, and where we are; where we might go.
Flight of the swallowtail
On January 29th, 2017...
The price of Steem was $0.1683. Today it is $0.1622.
The price of Bitcoin was $921.99. Today it is $9,331.25.
I have to admit that I didn't have any idea what I was doing, nor what I was getting into. The thing is, I ended up here completely by accident, because a friend had suggested I go read an article about Universal Basic Income. Which just happened to have been published by a Steemit writer, on Steemit.
Back then, most people seemed to be writers or bloggers. And before you get your knickers in a twist, back then we called it "Steemit," not "Steem..."
Anyway, the article itself didn't really convince me of anything... but this site intrigued me enough that I spent a couple of hours just poking around.
Geranium in the summer sun...
Then I decided to make an account because... why not?
And why? Because "Social Blogging" (a web genre that was largely killed by MySpace and Facebook around 2005-06) has always been one of my favorite things... and the Steemit that existed in January 2017 reminded me a lot of the old Social Blogging format.
Unlike many here, I am actually a veteran of the "rewards for user-generated content" genre, having first gotten involved in a site named Epinions, in 1999. My most recent previous experience with a site that rewarded contributors for content was the by then defunct TSU community.
TSU was basically a waste of time because only a handful of uber-popular people ever made it to the $100 payout limit. But it was one of many "prototypes" for people getting rewarded for user-generated content.
My Expectations Were:
Pretty low, really.
I was mildly intrigued by the cryptocurrency angle — I knew what Bitcoin was, and a friend had worked on the Ethereum project. For me — in a more practical sense — it meant there wasn't really a risk of a company simply running out of money, as had inevitably been the case with my past experiences. About 50 times. No, I'm not kidding...
That said, and having played this gig of user-generated-content-for-rewards many many times before, I still figured that the standard evolution would unfold:
- A handful of people will earn some decent rewards
- Many will work quite hard and still end up with pretty much nothing
- The rest will run around in circles, mostly complaining, or shouting "It's a SCAM! It's a SCAM!" because they thought they'd get paid $100 for posting a few sentences.
- The venue will last at most 12-18 months before the vast and unstoppable invasion of spammers and money-for-nothing seekers make the STEEM token worth somewhat less than a Dogecoin.
I figured I might get lucky enough to make a hundred dollars before things went south...
Back patio visitor by the bird feeder
On March 11th, 2017...
The price of Steem was $0.06953
At that time, it definitely seemed like my predictions of Steem/Steemit's demise were coming true rather more quickly than I had anticipated. I felt sadly resigned and not surprised, since it was just more evidence of my impression that web content has little — if any — tangible value.
"How can I think that?" you might wonder.
Although there are people who get paid for creating web content, the fact that so many are willing to give away their knowledge for free severely depresses the true value of web content. So paying people to create something with dubious value... has to be a ruse, right?
Buddha in the sun
However, in the six weeks or so I had spent posting and learning about the Steem community, my attitude had changed from "Yep, this thing is going to collapse!" to "It would be a SHAME if this thing collapsed..."
The thing is, I realized that there was a really intelligent and interesting community here; people who were far more respectful and caring than I had previously experienced in one of these communities.
Sure, there were some trolls and some spammers... but not nearly as many as I has expected.
So I found myself — albeit reluctantly — actually giving a shit whether this place made it, or not. After all, I was thoroughly fed up with the empty noise of Farcebook... which was deeply entrenched in mobs and social lynchings, following the 2016 US Presidential elections.
Red flower in our garden
"Oh My, All That Infighting!"
That said, it seemed like there was always someone "having a fight" with someone else over the nature and future of the community, and how it "should" be run. That was almost a dealbreaker for me.
FACTIOD: I have never liked Reddit because it always felt like there was more energy going into petty skirmishes and power struggles between self-involved sub-Redditors with power hungry dictatorial tendencies than went into actually sharing stuff.
Shadow banning, outright banning, territorial battles. On Steemit you "can't do that," they said... except for the minor detail that the eternal "Flag Wars" I witnessed seemed to embody pretty much the same negative vibes.
I remember getting a post flagged for little more reason than the flagger didn't like someone who'd given the same post an upvote.
What the hell IS this place? Junior high?
But I decided to hang around, because I was still enjoying one of my old favorite activities: Social Blogging.
On January 3rd, 2018...
The price of Steem was $8.57
And many people with even half a clue were suddenly earning $100+ a post for creating content, much of it (sadly!) with zero redeeming value. System "abuse" was running rampant and the rate of content creation was exploding!
At its peak, my own Steemit account was actually valued at over $26,000! And that came from less than a year of active blogging. Even in my very best year on long-defunct Squidoo, I only made about $6,000 from hundreds of full-length (1500+ word) articles.
That was rather eye-opening!
But I tend to have a pessimistic nature. And I am always looking for that "5000lb ACME safe" (think old cartoons) to drop on my head.
And boy, did it EVER!
Calendula in the sun
Haven't We Heard This Music before?"
As humans, we often tend to be rather myopic and not capable of stepping back and noticing that some genius invention we find ourselves in the middle of is merely another iteration of history. And I must hasten to add that the collective "falling off a cliff" we experienced wasn't Steem's fault, it was the fault of a bunch of greedy humans trading on irrational euphoric optimism.
As the cryptocurrency markets and the whole idea of blockchain technology took it in the shorts, we were basically riding a rollercoaster that typically accompanies all world-changing inventions. Last time we saw it was in the "Dot-Com gold rush" of the late 1990s, followed by the collapse in the early 2000's. Before that, it was the advent of the personal computer, in the early 1980's. We forget that things have their life cycles, and we fall victim to the belief that our industry will be different.
Behold! The common dandelion...
After everything goes to the Moon it is INEVITABLE that a period follows, during which the viable projects get sorted out from the garbage. In the interim, everything gets a stiff haircut.
As we rode the elevator down, I grew weary of thinking "It's not going to go any lower than THIS!" only to watch the decline continue. By the second half of November 2019, the price of Steem momentarily flirted with the 10-cent level, but then we seemed to slowly turn a corner.
What I find somewhat noteworthy — as I uncork my 4th season here — is that Bitcoin has risen about 1000% in value since January 29th, 2017, while Steem is value almost exactly the same, over the same period! And yet BTC is — in many ways — less "functionally useful" than Steem. Whether that reality will ever turn around, remains to be seen...
Here's the thing: I don't actually care! I am having a good time blogging and being part of this community!
Fall maple leaves
A Few Random Numbers before this gets RIDICULOUSLY long...
Now, let me bore you with some random statistics. They are mostly here because I am using this spot as a sort of "marker" of my own progress.
As I post this:
I have made 1,178 top level posts
I have left precisely 14,000 comments for people... and they have been a lot more than just a "nice post!"
I have upvoted others 50,591 times — and I don't use bots or auto-voting services.
My current SP is at 2,825.224, which is sadly low... BUT
I have actually earned 17,332 Steem all told, but have had to power down/cash out a couple of times to fund personal financial troubles.
I've actually been a "Dolphin" here twice, and look forward to becoming one again for the third time, later this year!
One time, I actually had two posts organically near the top of the "Trending" page.
For a very brief period, all my active posts earned $50.00+.
Yes, I've written posts that earned $0.00. I've also created several posts that earned $200.00+, back in the day.
In addition to this account, I also run the "alt" accounts @alchemystones (niche blog for my artwork), @reddragonfly (art-related blog I started for our now defunct brick-and-mortar gallery) and @curatorcat (with my wife and 27-year old daughter, basically cute cat photos).
Every single post and comment I have added to this community was original and created from scratch! 99.9% of the photos I have used have been my own. It's a LOT of original content... I'm sure my friend @abh12345 could tell me exactly how many words and characters it is... I just know it's many!
It's a long way to the top!
Finally, I'd Like to Wish a "Happy Steemversary" to...
The only other person who joined on the same day as I (and whom I've been able to track down) — who has made any kind of significant mark here — is @tarazkp.
I mention him partly because I want to give him a "Happy Steemversary" shoutout, but also to point him out because he represents — at least to me — the potential of this community and platform. What you can do here, if you put your mind and heart into it... NOT JUST because throw a bunch of money at it.
Well done, sir! You are an inspiration to many!
And So, Onward Into Year FOUR!
I'm sure it will be filled with all the usual "fare," from botched hardforks to petty arguments to momentary triumphs to exciting new apps and use cases, and beyond.
And it's all just part of the gig!
What? You didn't expect perfection, did you???
Final shoutout to @steemitbloggers for bringing us the awesome Powerhouse Creatives community, and to @creativecoin and the crew for making a tribe I feel I can relate to... and that I post from, quite often!
Thanks for reading!
(Another #creativecoin creative non-fiction post)
Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment-- share your experiences-- be part of the conversation!
(As usual, all text and images by the author, unless otherwise credited. This is original content, created expressly for this platform.)
Created at 20200129 16:28 PST