Explaining Steemit to Friends and Family
I’ve been trying to explain the value of the steem blockchain a lot lately, and have found that it can be difficult. I figured I’d focus a bit and explain it.

Steemit is the first social media network that is owned by its users. Facebook is not owned by its users; it is owned by share holders. Early adopters of Facebook did not earn shares of Facebook stock when it IPO’d. The same goes for Twitter. But Steemit is a social media co-op.

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Before direct monetization through paid ads, people did manage to make money on these platforms, but indirectly. Effective marketers have used both Facebook and Twitter (and other social media) to focus attention on their products, with the concept of “viral” or “guerilla” marketing showing how social media spreads ideas. Once ads went live, the value for Facebook and Twitter was in selling ads, which command a premium as users’ self reported interests made targeting them very easy.

The Steemit experiment asks the question: what if early adopters of these platforms earned shares or stakes in the platform itself?

The value of the steem blockchain is similar-we are all working together to build communities of mutual assistance where we personally have a share in the rewards. If advertisers or mainstream publishers want to produce content in our neighborhood, it is likely to drive demand for steem higher, as advertisers will need to use steem to market effectively. I’ve been testing out some ways steem might be used to market. I mainly hope to prove that it works and drive more users here.

Most of us interact with the steem blockchain using steemit.com, which gives something of a raw feed of the blockchain. It’s unflattering and the design leaves something to be desired. But another thing that makes this platform great is how easy it is to create apps that interact with the blockchain.

This is why I have been playing around with Steepshot. Steepshot acts like Instagram, but with direct monetary rewards; I use the app on my phone to take pictures of my lunch and share it on the steem blockchain. I get paid money for this! Steepshot can be an entry point into steem for many people, who don’t need to have any understanding of how a blockchain works to earn some steem and meet new people on here.

Other community projects have popped up like Zappl (a Twitter like service), Dtube (YouTube clone), Dsound (Soundcloud clone), and more that are mimicking platforms that don’t have built in rewards the same way steem does. I’ve already seen some YouTube personalities move over to Dtube, and while I don’t think it will come close to replacing YouTube, I do think the ability to directly monetize video content is attractive. It is also important that one major company like Google doesn’t effectively monopolize video content creation.

Content!

The rise of reasonably fast internet connections created the conditions required for social media to be invented, with fairly lackluster content early on. Twitter was first mocked as a useless means of communication, but the character limit has sharpened writers who have grown up with minimum word counts and bloated writing. YouTube did not start with the talent it has now-some of you may remember how silly many thought it was to make a video of yourself for others to watch! YouTube is now a major content producer. @paulag wrote a great explanation about how Udemy grew to 20M users; its growth curve is an important study for steemians who are curious how this platform might grow in the years ahead.

Last week’s addition of @EngadgetNews to steem was a step forward for all of us, as they’re demonstrating the ability to copy/paste some of their best content and earn even more money from it. I want to see more tech blogs head over here, as they’ll bring programmers with them that will interact with steem and try to find improvements and new iterations of the system.

Who knows? Maybe in 2024 we’ll have a Presidential candidate who uses Dlive to host an AMA to steemians.

The content will continue to improve, so long as we take the time to curate the good stuff. Yes, upvote your friends and family when they get on board and make their first few posts. But also find your community and curate-upvote-so we get the best aggregate content.

Steemit is…

The steem blockchain enables directly monetized social media content. It produces rewards that are given directly to the producers of content, without middlemen, gatekeepers, or corporations. Developers can use the steem blockchain’s data and build their own app taking advantage of the incentive structure without permission from anyone.

Steemit is a social media co-op.

Jeff

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