I’ve been thinking about the reasons I keep returning to Steemit instead of returning to Facebook and I’ve narrowed my list down to six distinct reasons.
Some of my friends have abandoned Steemit but I haven’t and I don’t intend to do so. I admit that I lost confidence a few months ago because doubt and fear overtook my mind. The main reason for the doubt was because I felt the developers weren’t seeing the impact of the algorithm being so heavily favored to those with enormous power. Their inaction on this matter was incredibly frustrating and I even questioned their ability to perceive reality. But the drastic power imbalance is now being looked at very critically and it is my hope that the devs acts sooner than later on this issue. But none of this really explains why I haven’t returned to Facebook. I could have become fed up with the Steemit’s awkward ecosystem and left long ago. But I didn’t.
Here are the six reasons I continue on:
STEEMIT DOESN’T SELL MY PERSONAL DATA
Steemit doesn’t currently support advertising. This means that Steemit, Inc. is not collecting my personal data and then selling it to third parties. I have no idea if advertising will become part of Steemit’s future, but it’s not currently in existence. For these reasons, I feel very different on Steemit than I do on Facebook. I feel like I’m inside a smaller world, and one which is not constantly trying to get my phone number or data. I also like that you don’t have to use your real name in Steemit. You’re not forced to reveal your true identity. This is how it was in the early days of the internet and I liked having the choice to use a pseudonym.
I CAN EXPRESS MY OPINIONS ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF STEEMIT
Even if the devs of Steemit don't embrace my ideas, I feel that having the ability to voice my opinion about the direction of Steemit is a positive and it's something that I cannot do in Facebook.
Imagine if you were among the very first people to join Facebook and you got to voice your opinions about the direction that Facebook was headed. Imagine if you had the opportunity to speak directly with Zuckerberg about future features and the kinds of tools that were going to be implemented. Wouldn’t that be bizarre to be included in the conversation?
Well, in Steemit, it’s normal for users to voice their opinion, point out flaws, suggest alternative ideas and come up with solutions to problems that arise within Steemit. There is a self-governance aspect of Steemit that is entirely missing in Facebook. When I’m in Facebook, I get the overwhelming sensation of being like a Kindergartner and being served lollipops for lunch and being spoiled with new features that I really don’t need. When I’m in Steemit, I feel the pressure to think and also to figure out what I will contribute. And yes, I do have an advantage because I was an early adopter, but I currently don’t have whale friends who upvote all my posts, so I have to think very strategically about what I should write and how to use my energy efficiently.
There’s a consciousness component that exists in Steemit that is entirely absent in Facebook. But there’s also a struggle, like a Darwinian survival of the fittest game that can turn people off very quickly.
THERE’S LOTS OF FUTURISTIC TECHNOLOGY TO USE
I think I’m guilty of taking for granted all the futuristic technology that was built for users in Steemit.
The fact is that for over 8 months, I have been actively working within a decentralized autonomous company, or a DAC. The digital cash rewards I’ve received came not from a central authority like a CEO or a traditional company, but from an algorithm which other people also interact with. I got really lucky because I found Steemit 4 months after it had launched. But I never had a job interview and I never met the boss, but I do work every day within Steemit. This is crazy, isn’t it? I would guess that most Steemit users may not fully comprehend even such a radical idea. But after 8 months of experiencing this kind of reality and learning a lot about how blockchains work, I’m fairly certain that something like this is how the future of work will be.
I see it as an investment both in time and money. For me, time is money, so every day I have to figure out where my energy will go to create money. Right now Steemit continues to teach me new things so I remain there. If it stagnated or went in a direction that goes against my core beliefs, I would leave. So far, that hasn’t happened.
The wallet within Steemit is also revolutionary.
I can send digital money (Steem) to anyone across the globe and it arrives almost immediately without fees. When is the last time you tried to send money to your friend in Kenya? You probably had to pay a big fee to do that. In Steemit, you can send digital money to literally anyone, anywhere on earth without fees in a matter of seconds. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I’ve grown completely accustomed to this after 8 months of using it. But it took the developer of this technology years to create it. We can’t see the toil and the headaches inside the wallet technology because it works flawlessly.
The other aspect of Steemit is the fact that there’s a strong developer community contained within it. I’ve learned a huge amount of new information that I doubt I could get anywhere else. I’ve also witnessed how some programmers help out younger students who are just learning to code. All of this is taking place on the blog pages of Steemit and I’ve never seen this kind of thing happen on Facebook before. I also witnessed how @ned, the CEO of Steemit contributed funds to help a young student, @aidancloquell, buy a computer so he could learn to program. It's fun to watch his progress on here.
I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TURN MY CREATIVE ENERGY INTO SOME MONEY
It is true that it is currently quite difficult to make a decent amount of money on Steemit.
And for some people, it might be impossible. Gaining traction on Steemit is a long, arduous process that many people are just not cut out to do. I’m not going to sugarcoat that reality. Either you blog because you love it and just can’t help yourself or you give up pretty quickly. I write and create stuff because I just cannot help it. It’s like a disease for me. And some of my posts really bomb, too. Sometimes I spend 14 hours on creating a video that only a handful of people even bother to watch. That’s frustrating for me, but I just continue on. I have a lot to say and a lot of videos to make. I feel like I’m just getting started. Also, I invested so much of my time already (which turned into Steem) that I cannot see how walking away from that time and money investment would make sense.
The fact that I never had to go to a job interview and yet I’m able to turn my creative energies into digital cash is a dream that I cannot let go of. I think it has taken me 8 months to really appreciate and understand better what the underlying technology of Steem is and how it could potentially change life in the future.
I CAN HELP SUPPORT OTHER ARTISTS AND WRITERS
Even though I do not have whale status, when I upvote other people’s posts, I can see the numbers go up for their rewards.
There really is a feeling of satisfaction in being able to see the numbers go up because I pressed on a button. And I think once more people can experience this feeling by the algorithm getting fixed (see this post for a proposal I support), the more people will have a healthy experience in Steemit. As it is right now, the mental overload of continually seeing your upvote not being able to change the payout of others’ posts is downright depressing. I’ve been experimenting with an alt account recently to experience the feelings of not having my vote do anything. It is depressing. I doubt if an average person would be able to cope with this for very long.
But for me, I suppose I’m one of the lucky few because my vote is able to raise up other people’s payouts. But being a human, I feel that even my small weight is not enough and of course, I would like my vote to matter more. If no one has voted on a post, I’m only able to give it $.07. There’s always someone ahead of me.
I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INVEST IN A STARTUP
I love the energy of startups.
I worked for one as a writer a few years ago and it was very exciting. I was never able to shake that kind of excitement. With Steemit and Busy.org, I can invest my time into helping build them. There are so many different projects to create, build and visualize. At the moment, I’m helping to write some articles for the Steem Wiki which was built by @someguy123. I’m also helping the Steem Gnome project along, and providing feedback to a number of others who have their own initiatives going. In addition to these projects, I’m usually writing and creating new Steemicide Hotline videos that explore the darker sides of Steemitsville. If it weren’t for a couple hardcore Steemicide Hotline fans, I might have ceased making these videos. With Steemit, anyone can contribute either time or money and help grow the platform. Steem Wiki pays its writers to contribute.
So, if you like the startup ecosystem and you enjoy helping to build an environment for the future, you should join Steemit.
If you are expecting everything to be handed to you on a silver platter, then Steemit will probably disappoint you. But if you know how to fuse two pieces of broken, soft metal together to make a hard fork, then you will probably love helping to transform the future of Steemit. I'm enjoying it, even during the mini wars, meltdowns, and ragequits. I guess I'm staying no matter what happens. (I just drank 12 gallons of Kool-Aid, obviously.)
All Images From Unsplash
ps: I wrote this one with the intention of sharing it on other sites besides Steemit. I'll report back if it gets any traction.