Is This Post-Capitalism? My First Week on steemit.com [review]

SocialMediapocalypse
annnarkehmedia.com subscribers will be aware that following the most recent social mediapocalypse, I’ve mostly gone dark on the big social media monopolies while I investigate what alternatives are currently available.

This will be the first of several reviews which I’ll be posting.

steemit.com is by far and away the most mindblowing of all the new social media platforms I’ve discovered on my post-social mediapocalypse journey, so far. It’s so much deeper than I had anticipated. I’m realising that it’s potential for positive systemic change on a global scale is incredible. Unprecedented in fact, as far as I’m aware.

I was only looking for new social media platforms but it turns out that steemit could also be part of the solution to the world’s hopelessly corrupt monetary system.

Which is nice.

*CAVEAT/WARNING* these are my personal reflections after just over a week on steemit. It’s been challenging and some of my assumptions, conclusions and advice could yet prove to be wrong. I am fast becoming a steemvangelical but steemit might yet prove not to be the glorious utopia it currently appears to be.

Any corrections, further advice and constructive criticism welcome.Steemit

INTRODUCTION/OVERVIEW

Steemit, Inc. is a private company based in New York City, headquartered in Virginia. The company was founded by Ned Scott, and Dan Larimer, creator of BitShares, and EOS. It’s been building STEEM since it launched in March 2016.

There are very few rules on steemit but the context, culture and etiquette are very different to the old social media platforms and I’m still only just starting to figure it all out.

Steemians upvote posts and comments and the authors who get upvoted can receive a monetary reward in a virtual currency token named Steem and in US dollar-pegged tokens called Steem Dollars. People are also rewarded for curating (discovering and sharing) popular content. Vote strength and curation rewards are influenced by the amount of STEEM Power held. Steemians are affectionately referred to as ‘plankton, minnows, dolphins and whales’, representing the scale of their STEEM power, (wealth) and influence.

You don’t have to ‘buy in’ to get started on steemit.com. My account‘s currently got 0.788 STEEM power. At the current market rate, that’s about 50cents for my first day’s activity. Upvotes accumulate for a week at which point you can claim them. My most popular post on STEEMIT so far has reached the current market equivalent of about $1, give or take. My second most popular post has reached the market equivalent of $2. So it’s not about how many people upvote you, it’s about who upvotes you.

$2 isn’t a lot but it’s $2 more than big data were sharing with me. And it’s $2 just for posting something that I wanted to post, that had value to me, that others saw value in.

If everybody migrated to steemit the quality of popular discourse and the value of STEEM could both rise significantly.

THIRD PARTY APLICATIONS

Steemit includes a host of third-party applications, such as d.tube, which is a decentralized video platform. It’s similar to YouTube, but instead of advertisements, it uses the built-in STEEM currency which is awarded by people upvoting other people’s vids. #AdvertisingShitsInYourHead

There are LOADS of other third party apps, up and running and in development on steemit, including front ends which I haven’t looked at yet. I’m particularly excited to explore D.live – the steemit livestreaming service. Livestreaming to the blockchain would be really useful.

POSITIVE BEHAVIOURAL MODIFICATION

There are many subtle but profound differences between steemit and the old social media platforms, which I’m still adjusting to. At the moment they almost all seem positive, apart from the inevitable phenomenon of some (a lot) of people literally just unashamedly milking it for the sake of milking it.

So why do I think steemit is so good?

  • It’s not just that participating in the community is incentivised monetarily.
  • It’s not just that there are no advertisements constantly shitting in your head.
  • It’s not just that the preferred etiquette is for less frequent, higher quality posts
  • It’s not just that there’s no censorship, that you know everything you say and do is indelibly stored in the blockchain forever, so people are further incentivised to be more considerate and thoughtful.
  • It’s not just that there are no constant ‘notifications’ and other triggers demanding your attention and modifying your behaviour

It’s all of these things and many more which give me real hope in steemit, as a potentially paradigm shifting solution to so many of the micro and macro challenges which humanity currently faces.

THE ANCAP CHALLENGE

There seem to be quite lot of self identifying ancaps involved in and supporting steemit.com. I had always rejected anarcho-capitalism in the past, because I found the concept somewhat oxymoronic but in the context of the steemisphere and it’s relationship to actual social value I have to warmly welcome and applaud their work, and their ostensibly long sighted ethical and moral compass.

If like me you’re primarily interested in steemit as a means of keeping the internet free and escaping big data’s myopic nightmarish filterbubbles, don’t make the mistake of just sacking off all the crypto-guys as hopeless breadheads, as I very nearly did. The crypto-currency side of it is a daunting learning curve which I’m only just now, reluctantly starting. The thing I’ve come to realise though, is that for steemit to deliver on it’s paradigm shifting potential the emerging crypto-markets need to be succesful.

This is quite a challenge to accept and reconcile. It seems to me now like some sort of weird, new, anarcho-crypto, post-capitalist, Max Keiser and Jeff Berwick via Jaron Lanier and David Graeber hybrid, which I’m struggling to get my head around because it’s such a monumental challenge to all my previous assumptions about economics and society.

Dos and Don’ts

I dramatically underestimated just how steep a learning curve steemit would be. While in many ways it’s very similar to the old social media platforms, the differences are deeper and  more significant than they first appear. Don’t just dive in at the deep end like I did, don’t rush, take your time, as I’m trying to do now.

Don’t just skim the introductory material and the FAQ!
I just dived straight in and made a lot of ‘plankton’ (n00b) errors…
Again, steemit.com is way deeper than it looks at first.

Do have actual real conversations with people on your posts and on theirs. Check your replies and respond to them. This should just be standard but bears mentioning, as it’s such a cultural shift away from facebook and twitter’s incessant and addictive notifications. Steemit doesn’t send you a notification every time somebody farts, or hassle you to post something if you spend a day or two offline.

Don’t just follow back everybody who follows you, as you might have done on the old social media. I made the mistake of following back 150 odd people who followed me and had to spend a day or two trawling through removing loads of bots, dead accounts and other bods who I found disinteresting. I’ve probably got a fair bit more following and unfollowing to do before I get it right for my personal ‘niche’.

Do check out the people who have followed you and follow them back if they seem interesting and cool to you.

It’s not about how many followers you can acquire anyway, it’s about the quality of the interactions you have and the actual connections you make along the way.

RECOMMENDATIONS

If you’re interested in learning more and joining the steemit community, use the time queuing for your account to properly familiarise yourself with the white paper, the blue paper and the FAQs.  There’s a lot to digest but don’t be put off and don’t just skim through it all like I did at first. There’s way more exciting information in these documents than I can helpfuly relay here and now.

You don’t need an account to have a look around the platform and its various affiliates like Dtube, Dsound etc.

Say goodbye to being dripfed bullshit by big data’s prolefeeds. You’re responsible for how you use your time on steemit and for what content you create, curate, upvote and share.

Don’t be put off by the ‘trending’ ‘new’ and ‘promoted’ feed being mostly drivel, as it is on big data’s platforms. Don’t be put off by the mountains of posts about cryptocurrency and markets if they’re mostly illegible to you, as they are to me.

Go straight to the ‘View all tags’  link (at the bottom of the trending tags bar) and have look for stuff you’re interested in. If what you’re looking for isn’t in the long top trending list, use the searchbar. This takes you to a google search – set that to ‘by date’ to find the most recent posts and discussion about what interests you.

Tags I’ve personally found interesting on steemit.com so far include:

#anarchy #eco-train #earthdeeds #earthtribe #informationwar * #news #nature #science

*Important note: the ‘informationwar’ account and tag is not affiliated with Alex Jones and his hatemongering crew of alt-right wrong uns. Thanks to @sloe for pointing this out and to @informationwar for confirming.

infowardisclaimer

CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF STEEMIT

From my perspective, it’s a bit of a shame that so many people on steemit are currently there just for the purpose of making money. At the same time, I fully respect how much effort those same people have put into making this potential utopia a reality. Given all the other benefits of the paradigm shift that steemit represents for the digital space and the material world, I’m prepared to suspend my disbelief and challenge my preconceptions.

One of the only two criticisms on the wikipedia entry about steemit.com, is from Joe Lee, co-founder and CIO of digital currency trading platform Magnr, who told CoinDesk:

Whether Steem succeeds as a digital currency will be more a reflection of Steemit’s success as a platform as opposed to the economics of the coin itself. This is a good example of a digital currency whose value will be closely affiliated to its utilitarian value as a social networking and sharing platform.”

So, the ‘whales’ and the ‘planktons’ successes on the platform are inextricably intertwined. Community cohesion and monetary value are inextricably and immutably connected. If the steemit community absorb this criticism constructively steemit could save the internet which could help save the world!

A mass migrate to steemit could improve the quality of the steemit platform, the diversity and quality of the content there, the cohesion amongst the community and at the same time raise the living standards for everybody, rapidly.

It could lead to an actually grassroots-led third sector that could be infinitely more effective than the current one, (which rewards it’s CEOs six-figure salaries while leaving the problems themselves unsolved for decades on end)…

A mass migrate to steemit could be just the r3V0_|utionary paradigm shift we need.

Could steemit.com be Post-Capitalism?

It certainly looks promising to me!

Reviews of all the other social media platforms I’ve been investigating will be posted very soon.

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