A few weeks ago I decided to join Steemit. This is a social platform where users are rewarded for posting content, for commenting, for voting and for curating the content made by other users.
The first time I heard about the platform was in early July, when two online friends (Leah – stellabelle – and Razvan – razvanelulmarin) kept mentioning it on one of our groups.
But I guess I wasn’t too disciplined to check it out first thing in the morning. It took me an additional two and a half weeks until I joined it.
I wrote every single day, sometimes posting twice a day on Steemit, since I joined. I’m not sure when I’ll break this chain of consistency.
In this post I’m going to talk about my experience with Steemit, the extreme frustration I’ve been through, as well as the lessons I learned that may be helpful should you decide to join.
Look and Feel
Steemit is more similar to Medium and Reddit than it is to Facebook. Users post content and other users vote and comment. Votes bring rewards in Steem Dollars (SD).
One of the most important things you have to know is that Steemit is based on blockchain technology. As per their definition:
“Steem is a blockchain-based social media platform where anyone can earn rewards.”
Here’s the intro video:
Unlike Facebook and other platforms, Steemit is decentralized. It is transparent: any user can view all the activity of other users (and how much is in their Wallet). 🙂
Let’s take a specific example so that you can understand this easier:
This post was voted by 93 users; 9 users commented on it. My reward was $28.23 (SD).
The two major reward mechanisms on Steemit are:
– Steem Power (SP)
– Steem Dollar (SD)
As the author of this post, I received 75% of the rewards. The remaining 25% was distributed to curators (voters and commenters). To grasp the complexity of the reward mechanism, I’d recommend reading Steemit White Paper or reading more about it here.
On Steemit, each post has an active lifetime of roughly 24 hours (currently). So, after I make a post, the next 24 hours is the time period in which other users will vote and comment on my post. After ~24 hours, the author and the curators (voters and commenters) received their payout in their account. The post is still available/visible, up for comments, votes, and rewards, but the next payout is after 30 days.
Since I was the author in this case, I got 75% of $28 (SD), which is ~$21.
Half of that went into my Steem Power: $10.5
Half of that went into my Steem Dollars: $10.5
1 Steem Dollar (SD) is current equal to $0.86 USD, according to steemdollar.com.
SD, as currency, fluctuates a lot; it’s volatile; it’s new. In earlier days, SD was worth close $2. However, it usually is stable at 1 SD = 1 USD. I assume that if the platform is going to take off, SD will also take off. Here’s a chart of the price progression and market cap. since July:
Once I receive the payout of SP and SD in my account, which can be seen by anyone in My Wallet, I can transfer my SD to online exchangers so that I can ultimately get USD on my credit card or in my bank account.
You could exchange SD to practically anyother currency: normal, virtual, or crypto. There are countless online services for this purpose.
Fees are almost non-existent and the transactions are completed extremely fast. I could get SD into USD in a matter of minutes, and SD into Bitcoin in a matter of seconds.
As users receive more rewards (by posting and commenting), their Steem Power (SP) grows. A user with higher SP has a ‘heavier’ vote. Let me be specific.
To get $28 SD my post was voted by 93 people. If a user with very high SP (i.e.: 1 million SP – very early users, whales) would have voted on my post, it would have probably bumped it to $300 SD. And that’s a big difference.
Conversely, I could also have gotten an additional 100 votes (hence, 193 in total) from users with low SP and it would have only bumped my post to maybe $30 SD. Steem Power matters.
Let me give you a current breakdown of user hierarchy (thanks @furion):
I am currently in low middle class (SP: 802). Very high power users are mega-whales. You are motivated to write very good content to be hit by as many whales as possible; there are currently not too many of them. We need investors!
It has often been the case that other users constantly check for plagiarism in posts. If detected, as it happens often, such posts are flagged. When a post receives a lot of flags, especially from higher power users, the reputation and the rewards of the author sink to the bottom. And to grow a reputation is not easy. So, you must be original in your activity; which promotes good and ethical behavior!
While you can cashout daily (your SD), your Steem Power (SP) acts more like a long-term investment.
If you want to get SD from your SP, you could power-down and receive a weekly payment for the next 104 weeks (2 years). I do not entirely understand this process so I’d rather not say stupid things. See the white paper for that matter.
Platform Performance and My Performance
When I joined Steemit there were approximately 40,000 accounts. Now, in early September, there are ~80,000. Here’s a stats breakdown (thanks steemd.com):
Out of this, there are 4,500 daily active users. There are many inactive accounts for various reasons which I will not get into here.
My early days were unbearably frustrating. I would write long posts, often spending hours at end working on a post, and would see nothing in rewards:
However, writing everyday for the last ~40 days (since I joined), and adapting my approach almost regularly, I started seeing some traction. Afterall, it’s a game of statistics. Chances to hit the spot increase with the number of tries you make. Stepping over my ego and my frustration was probably one the hardest things I did in my life:
Those rewards got me extremely hooked and even more motivated, as you might imagine. Game theory at play! I am very pleased to write more on the topics that I modestly touch here: programming, psychology and neuroscience. I also write about research and health related stuff, but to a lesser extent.
There is way too much that I can say about Steemit. I have a ‘rush’ of ideas that I cannot transpose into words. Being on the platform and posting everyday for the last ~40 days gave me a decent experience of how things are going there.
I could keep on writing and providing detailed explanations about the reward system, about followers, about whales, about the best time to post to maximize your payouts, about spam and plagiarism, about rewards from curating and commenting, about SP as long term investment, about the open-source code, about transparency, about blockchain technology and about many other topics that I dealt with. But this post would grow into a book. And it’s not my point for now.
Plus, since the platform is still in its infancy, changes and improvements occur on a daily basis.
That is why I only wanted to give you a brief intro of the most necessary things you need to know. To get a fuller understanding, read the white paper. Heck, fuggedaboutit…join Steemit and experience it firsthand.
I think steemit can be extremely addictive as it combines: immediate monetary gratification (+ SP for the long term) and instant interaction with other users. It’s an upgraded version of a social platform.
Facebook and Twitter do not reward me for my posts. On Steemit I write about the things I am mostly interested and I interact with people who vote and pay me for my contribution.
Since this is open-source blockchain technology, anyone can contribute to the development of Steemit. Its code is available on github. Plus, it makes it easier for developers to analyze what’s happening under the hood and write relevant and insightful code for that matter.
I happen to analyze Steemit on a weekly basis with Python. I parse all the operations that took place on the platform and try to gather insightful impressions. One programming-exercise that I do weekly is to analyze the most voted authors by whales. Here’s my last one.
I’ve done that in ~60 lines of code, which you can find here.
Numerous developers have created tools and services for Steemit. It’s easier since its open source. Some of these users/developers have been rewarded with thousands of SD for their contribution. Yes, thousands in less than 24 hours! Call that instant gratification!
Here are some tools and sites worth mentioning:
– Steem Tools – collection of tools for steemit
– Steem Whales – Rank of user accounts based on SP, SD, followers, account value, etc.
– Catch a Whale – The best time to post to increase your chances to be hit by a whale.
– and dozens of others.
It would be rational to think that being able to do three things I enjoy gets me hooked:
– programming + writing about it + being rewarded for both
As someone said, Steemit is social media on steroids. While to some it may have negative connotations, I think it’s a proof of concept that will most likely disrupt conventional social media and the publishing industry.
I made a lot of virtual new friends on steemit, some of them from Romania. We interact on the chat platform of steemit as well as by voting and commenting on each others content. We follow each other.
Even though Steemit’s growth may be slow (few understand how blockchain and cryptocurrencies work) and even though there are still numerous problems that we have to deal on a daily basis, I am confident that together (we, the users) will do most of what is in our power to improve it one step at a time:
– by being on the lookout for spam and plagiarism,
– by posting good content,
– by contributing to the sourcecode,
– by developing tools for steemit, and
– by rewarding each other for our actions.
It’s open source, decentralized, highly-secured, and transparent (see my wallet and all my activity). It looks promising. And I invite you to join it. I’ll follow you 🙂