Why Steem is falling and what we can do about it

in Project HOPE2 months ago

steemFalling.jpg

Preamble

This article is in response to a discussion that took place between myself and @cryptokannon a few days ago.
I wanted to give her a proper response and then realized that it would be better if I turned it into a post rather than just a very big response.

I had recently watched a video about the Amazon Empire (The video is almost 2 hours long) and realized there was a lot one could learn from that video.
Then I stumbled upon a post by @cryptokannon that made me feel sad and disappointed, but I wasn't able to say what I wanted to say without going into a long explanation.

What made me feel sad

Before Hive forked off of Steem, @steemchiller was constantly creating new ways to interact with the Steem blockchain through his steemworld.org application. So many people relied on it that after the fork he became our top witness.
I had expected that @steemchiller would continue his work and create the editor he began working on a very long time ago, as well as continue to add new features that would help the average user of the Steem blockchain navigate this mysterious new technology.
I had also hoped that there would be a new ideology with respect to the way Steem operated now that the old witnesses had forked off and there is a new set of witnesses running the show.

I noticed that where we once saw regular updates (in the top right corner of steemworld) about progress made on the steemworld application, there hasn't been an update in months.
Instead, I discovered that there is a group called Team Steem that is handing out Steem Power (SP) to a select few who are aware of these hand-outs and can convince the team that they are worthy of support.

At first glance, one would think, "What's wrong with that? Isn't that a good thing?"

Why I believe handing out SP is not a good thing

In the video about Jeff Bezos and his Amazon Empire, we learn that Amazon ran at a loss for a very long time before bringing in a lot of money for its investors.
The technique that Jeff used is one I have been mentioning that we need to adopt here on Steem for about 2 years or more, but the mindset of those in charge seemed to be at polar opposites of my own.
Steem is the grand-daddy of social media sites that pays their members, so it has the advantage of being first. Yet, Steem's ranking on the cryptocurrency charts has dropped from being near the top to below the top 100.

The heading of this post by @cryptokannon asked: "Why Dormant account on Steemit?"
To which @kiwiscanfly responded,

I think new users become dormant due to the promises they get when they hear about Steemit. When they do not get visited by a Steemcurator account they sulk instead of engaging with the community.

There has never been such a high focus on newbies in the 4 odd years i have been here. I see some do power up there earning's and grow there accounts whereas others just cash out.

We need to promote steemit as a Social network first which can lead to a crypto investment - I think we should all be encouraging 100% power up especially now we have a 4 week power down period.

Steem is supposed to be a social media platform, so why are we still treating it like an investment vehicle? How come Facebook has grown into such a giant, yet they don't pay their contributors anything?
When we try to incentivise people to join Steem for the money, we are attracting the wrong type of people! The people this kind of effort attracts is the type who will try to grab as much as they can, as fast as they can, and exit as soon as they feel they got what they could out of it.
This is not how one builds a community!

So what SHOULD we be doing?

Selecting "worthy" recipients to receive financial support can be tricky. It can create resentment from those deemed "unworthy". It can be seen as favouritism and deemed unfair. Much time and effort must be put into the selection process; time and effort that could be better spent elsewhere.
Instead of wasting valuable SP on trying to get people to join for the money, this SP should be used to fund further development of front-ends to interface with the blockchain so that the average person doesn't have to learn how to write in Markdown; create a seamless user experience with lots of support and information about how to discover new features and functions.
Our NOTIFICATIONS is a joke! Who needs to see a notification that is several days old? Also, having to click to see notifications is not as good as having them pop up as a small message like so many other sites are doing. The header on my profile shows less SP than I have. Hopefully that number isn't used to calculate my VP!
We need to make Steem as slick as Facebook. We need a good search function to find articles. To find an old article of my own, I need to scroll through hundreds of old posts on my profile! That's not user-friendly.
Forget about the money aspect of Steem and focus on creating a platform that non-technical people can enjoy simply because it does what other platforms don't do... Steem doesn't (or shouldn't) censor content based on politics or beliefs.
With Twitter, Facebook and YouTube taking so much heat lately, people should be flocking to this platform! Unfortunately, after 4 years, its still user-unfriendly. This is where the focus needs to be!

Once the User Interface is made friendly and the average person can enjoy their experience on Steem, people will gradually move to the platform on their own. As the popularity of Steem increases and Steem takes a large market share, the price of Steem will rise on its own due to the involvement of those who choose to be here because the platform functions as a social media platform.
That is how a community is created; by people that are here for each other instead of for the money. The money then becomes a very nice BONUS!

Picture a newcommer that regularly posts and interacts with others, votes and gets voted on, but never checks their account balance, instead just allowing it to grow. After a year on the platform, they discover that they earned 50 Steem. At today's price of Steem, its not anything to cheer about.
However, because so many others are joining the platform and wanting to have a say in governance (or just feel they want to increase their VP so they can hand out bigger votes) the value of Steem increases to $4. That 50 Steem would then be worth $200. That's a nice bonus for doing something you would have done for nothing.
We need to attract the kind of people who are not scheming to fill their bank accounts with quick money. We want those who simply wish to be here for the social aspect and are quite happy to allow their SP to increase indefinitely.
Gaining ever-greater market share will allow Steem to grow like Amazon and that will lead to greater wealth in the long run for those who were patient and kept growing their SP.

Jeff Bezos was patient, saw opportunities and filled the voids with products the people wanted. He took advantage of the way the system (the financial and consumer market) was designed and grabbed market share away from his competitors.
Steem has been on the wrong track and still follows that same path. Steem is not using its advantage and is chasing a ghost that it will never catch. Steem needs to change its focus and work from a different angle because this one has been tried and isn't working.

Disclaimer

My comments above are just my opinions. I have no special insight into how the world works. Everyone is entitled to form their own opinions based upon thier own experiences and observations.
If you have different ideas and wish to share them or want to convince me I've got it all wrong, I would welcome rational comments and supporting information.

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Hi @happyme thank you for taking the time to reply to my confusion and questions earlier in the comment sections. I feel attacked by your comment as I thought you were directing your comment at that moment to my controversial post. Actually, you were commenting on the bigger picture of what is disappointing to you on steem.

I will have to agree with you on not so user-friendly interface of steemit. To compare to Facebook UI is too much I think, not sure if Steemit will get to that point soon. To be able to get to mass adoption soon Steem blockchain needs a front end that is as easy as using Facebook and Twitter/instagram. For now, we have all the tutorials in place to refer to for the average user. I think one of the factors of not upgrading the UI is the possibility that no users coming in once that being implemented. The quick fix now is that all the need to know tutorials are in place and mentoring system, now steem greeters kind of doing that: they will attend to/answer all the newcomers' difficulties on steemit. I wish the same as you too, they will allocate some funds for improvement on the UI, mobile apps friendly..

Thank you for this feedback on your end. Hopefully, the steemit team will take it into consideration.

Hopefully, the steemit team will take it into consideration.

Yes, that would be wonderful. I believe Steem still can be turned around, but it will take the people at the top to make the necessary changes.

I'm glad that I was finally able to clear up the fact that my disappointment was not directed at you. It was simply through your post that I realized there has not been any major change in Steem's direction since the new witnesses took control of the chain.

 2 months ago 

Hi @happyme

Welcome to PH (project.hope) community :) Hope to hear more from you in the future.

realized there was a lot one could learn from that video.

Could you tell me what kind of knowledge one could expect to learn from this video? 2h is a lot and it would help me if we would know what to expect.

Instead, I discovered that there is a group called Team Steem that is handing out Steem Power (SP) to a select few who are aware of these hand-outs and can convince the team that they are worthy of support.
I didn't understand that part ...


Steem is supposed to be a social media platform, so why are we still treating it like an investment vehicle?

I'm not sure if I agree. Steem (as a blockchain) was not supposed to be a social media platform. It's a token, which is considered moslty an investment vehicle and store of value. That's quite natural.
The fact that Steemit (dapp build on top of steem) ia a social media platform doesn't deny that STEEM is what it is.

Facebook has huge advantage over Steemit. They knew how to monetize traffic. On steem and hive majority of users are against ads and sharing much of our data (necessary for ads). And in result -> this monetization (which is a succes of centralized social media) is not happening here.

The fact that we're attracting the wrong kind of people is ... well. Very true.

ps. check out comment from project.hope and cyu on our discord.
Cheers, Piotr (@project.hope founder)

Thank-you for engaging in this discussion @crypto.piotr

Could you tell me what kind of knowledge one could expect to learn from this video? 2h is a lot and it would help me if we would know what to expect.

It would take me several hours to go over all the things one could learn from the video. It is a documentary explaining how the Amazon empire was formed. Amazon is a big successful business and it started from very humble beginnings. Each step was a move to grow the empire and each step is something that could be repeated/copied.

Instead, I discovered that there is a group called Team Steem that is handing out Steem Power (SP) to a select few who are aware of these hand-outs and can convince the team that they are worthy of support.
I didn't understand that part ...

Team Steem is offering support to only those who are aware of the program and of course, only those who apply and qualify can then get that support. That leaves out all those who do not know about the program. Why not support everyone universally?

Steem is supposed to be a social media platform, so why are we still treating it like an investment vehicle?

Good catch! Thank-you for that. Please substitute Steemit where I used Steem. You are absolutely correct in that Steem is a crypto-currency. What I meant to say was that Steemit was advertised as a social media platform and all efforts to date seem to have been focused on keeping it as such. Considering the drop in status, I would suggest that those efforts are not working as planned. For instance: A big deal was made about how communities would be such a great thing for Steem (note that this is a social function, not a monetary function), yet all it has done is segregate the community into fractions. What Steem needs is a method to include everyone rather than segregate them. The idea isn't bad, it is the implementation that was bad. There is no cohesiveness.

On steem and hive majority of users are against ads and sharing much of our data (necessary for ads). And in result -> this monetization (which is a succes of centralized social media) is not happening here.

If you watch the video about Amazon, you might realize why that kind of thinking is short-sighted. It is this kind of short-sighted thinking that is holding Steem back.

 2 months ago 

Hi @happyme

I only realized that I've never read your reply (somehow I didn't notice your comment) till now. so BIG THX! I always appreciate.

Thanks for always being so responsive buddy
Yours, Piotr

Any time I log into Steem, I click my icon and then the "REPLIES" button. That brings up all replies to me. When using the Steemit front end, all the replies I have not looked at yet are bold, so it is easy to see what I've seen and what is new to me. Not all front ends do that, and this is one reason I prefer to stick with the Steemit front end. I'll tag you as well, in case that helps, @crypto.piotr.

Hello @happyme

Thank you for posting within our project.hope community on STEEMit.

Please spare few minutes and read how project.hope is organized and learn about our economy.

That would help you understand more our goals and how are we trying to achieve them. Hopefully you will join our community and become strong part of it :)

Do you use telegram or discord? If you do then join our server and give me a shout. I would gladly share with you goals of our community and introduce to others from our team.

Consider joining our discord server: https://discord.gg/uWMJTaW

Yours,
@project.hope team,

Thank-you for the kind invitation. I have been contacted quite often and already know about your mission. I don't like using other methods of communication and prefer all of it is done here on this platform.

I prefer to remain loyal to the community I am currently with, however, things always change, so the future might hold something new and different for me.

 2 months ago 

I'm sorry to hear that you prefer only to comment as a method of communication @happyme

That method is one of the worst I can imagine. Lack of privacy, lack of visible notifications (meaning that people mostly reply after couple of days, or quite often do not reply because they do not even read a comment).

Truth is, that nothing can ever be done if people do not communicate.

Anyway, interesting post. Unfortunatelly nothing will ever change, since both STINC and HIVE also do not communicate with anyone (that's also major difference between FB and Steemit, the difference that made it more likely for FB to succeed).

That's my last 2cents in that topic. Cheers,
Piotr

The communication aspect is of great concern to me. I hesitate to use outside resources because that lessens the pressure to fix these things on THIS platform. If we truly desire a community to thrive here, then why encourage people to go elsewhere? Put pressure on those who can effect change to make the required changes instead.

I did mention that notifications here are a joke and need to be improved, along with so many other things. It would be great if someone from Team Steem or even one of our witnesses would explain why these things are not being made more user-friendly.

As for a lack of privacy; I'm not so sure that is a big deal. Having public discussions is inclusive and builds trust. Having private conversations builds suspicion and distrust. If there are things that NEED to be said in private, then people will always find ways to accomplish that, but I don't believe privacy should be encouraged on a social media platform. Can you imagine how Facebook would look if everyone there kept telling others to go to their private website for all their interactions?

STINC and HIVE also do not communicate with anyone (that's also major difference between FB and Steemit, the difference that made it more likely for FB to succeed).

I agree that there needs to be a whole lot more done as far as connecting the user to those in control of this platform, however I don't understand the inference that Facebook communicates with their users. Granted, I have not used Facebook for over a year, but before that, I did not see Facebook making any efforts to get user input. They did have some self-help files, but did not have any way for users to ask questions directly or offer suggestions from what I could see.

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I agree that should make it much more enjoyable and entertaining the experience of browsing steemit, and very important to have a friendly UI. Hopefully the friends of @steemitblog and @steemcurator01 read this post and take this on count. I also mentioned some time ago the importance of having an official Android and IOS app that allows fun experience. I am convinced that this will give an impressive boost to the community, a simple, fun app that offer rewards for using it.

Thanks for your feedback. With the majority of users now on mobile devices, you are absolutely correct about the importance of catering to users on mobile devices.

Yes, if anyone knows how to get this article to the attention of those who should see it, please do pass it on.

There are so many ways to improve the user experience. Is this just not a priority or are there technical reasons why these improvements can't be made?

My guess is that the developers of Steem have become complacent and are only looking at the back end and ignoring the users. As we can see from past experience, this is the wrong thing to do.

Thanks for your insight and support. I'm not able to answer your question. Hopefully someone else will.

We just need a good Steem Token with a strong community backing it.

What makes a good Steem Token?
Steem HAD a very strong community, but that got broken up and it is not so strong any more. This needs to be built up again.

those who have remained on this platform have the task of making STEEMIT return to the splendor of the past .. and I am one of them. ..And I'm working hard

The average users of Steem don't have the ability to make changes to the front end applications and definitely don't have the ability to make changes to the code running the Steem blockchain. What exactly do you think the average user can do to return Steem to its former splendor?

I have worked hard, you have worked hard, yet Steem is still falling. What needs to change?

There is a saying: The definition of crazy is to keep doing what you are doing and expect things to change.

I can`t even set up a profile pic >< what kind of change are you talking about? hahuh. This platform is nothing that I expected.
@echobunny , the newborn

That's exactly what I'm talking about.

This platform needs to be intuitive and easy to use. People need to feel comfortable instead of stressed out because they can't figure out what to do or how to do it.

Thank-you for your contribution.

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