What makes one an influencer on Steem
Someone sent me a DM on discord linking to a post by @fullcoverbetting asking my opinion on his post with the same question in the title. It's something I've been meaning to talk about quite a bit now ever since the EIP and seeing some selfnamed influencers and how they treat the platform and/or the rewardpool.
I originally started writing an answer to this earlier but lost electricity for a second and when I came back it was cleared out from the editor, this was totally not worth the #busy vote to have to rewrite it. :P Maybe I can formulate things better in my second go, though.
Anyway @fullcoverbetting starts off with the amount of followers as that's what mainstream media usually points to when they call someone an influencer. Similar like on older social media platforms the amount of followers doesn't mean much. They can easily be gamed, as we remember here on Steem there were many accounts that used to game it by follow-trading or abusing the wild west of account creations we had prior to resource credits being a thing. Same thing happens on other social medias, there are even services that will offer you thousands of followers for a price, some of these services will even give you "active" followers that like and spam comments on your content. If there's a demand there will always be a business for it, hence clickfarms exist. If there's one statistic that would matter a bit here on Steem when it comes to followers, even though that's also very volatile depending on price of Steem and the activity that follows it, it would be value of followers which you can check here: https://steemdb.com/accounts/followers_mvest
and no, that's not just to brag cause I'm on the top10 list with @dtube being there just cause they autofollowed themselves with others authorization (:P), but the amount of SP (influence in a way) of your followers should be way more important than just the amount of them, especially after 3 years of Steem existing you'll want those who have not given up on it yet to follow you.
His next point is payout of posts, here I have to say I don't particularly agree with there being any closed circles anymore or at least not as much. There were a lot of efforts early on after the EIP to shut these off by using your downvoting mana and from what I've seen there are only a few still thickskulled users who keep attempting to game this and when it doesn't go their way they retaliate in return which just shows more about them than it does for the initial downvoters. Curation is happening a lot more now, almost to the point where it is really difficult to find underrewarded posts that deserve the rewards, although that is of course all subjective but the wisdom of the crowd is working somewhat even though only a few are using their downvoting mana I imagine the amount of attempts to abuse will go up proportionally with a higher price of Steem so hopefully those being inactive with downvoting now will step up when that time comes. They are doing the platform and currency they hold a disservice by not combating rewardpool farming, vote-trading and other close circle voting. Fear of retaliation should not be an excuse to not use your downvoting mana where you see fit and I hope in the future stake combating blatant retaliation will exist a lot more to counter this. Here one also has to be careful as a curator/influencer, though, you have to continue curating the content you are downvoting, if the user improves his content or the effort that goes behind it you have to know when to stop the downvoting even if they continue to downvote you back in retaliation or hold a grudge cause you put a stop to their low effort farming. It's not an easy task but that's what sets aside a good curator from just someone voting/downvoting. You gotta not make it personal and keep it professional with the rewardpool in mind.
To get back to his post, payouts don't mean much either as an influencer, there are still a lot of users who have a lot of authority over others stake or trail votes or autovotes they know will be there no matter the content so they post whatever 5 minute post they can think of just to get those rewards. The amount of payouts you give other deserving authors may mean a lot more and make you a successful influencer than just your own. Then again what rewards posts should have is all relative, most of the content here today may not even be worth a fraction of the rewards they get anywhere else and especially if those authors who call themselves influencers don't do Steem a favor by at least promoting it through sharing their posts on their website or other social medias. Oh well, we can only improve from here on out and the downvotes are a great tool that make sure improvement comes if used correctly.
His next point talks about the amount of SP one has. Yes, one of Steem's strengths is that you buying a lot of Steem and powering it up can quickly make you an influencer but here it also depends on what you do with it. If all you do is farm rewards for yourself/family&friends no matter the content and don't give a shit about content discovery/proof-of-brain and the sharing economy then you are treating Steem as just another proof of stake coin which won't set it apart from the rest much. There are some good examples of users powering up Steem and doing a lot of good with it though, one of the by far best examples of it I would say is what @theycallmedan is doing with his stake. He really shows what one can do with SteemPower and much more to assist this economy, build on it and at the same time abide by the EIP when curating. Once we get a few more of him picking up this cheap Steem and working towards the same goals a lot of others here with less stake have been I believe we will see a quick change in the direction Steem is taking and a lot of current dead-ends opening up through solutions they've created with some effort. Anything is possible with Steem, same can't be said for centralized giants.
Do we even have real influencers?
We do, there are many but there are also many fake ones. If I had a Steem for every past Steem influencer/ambassador who wanted to do so much but quickly/quietly left to chase other options when the rewardpool stopped rewarding them with as much Steem or its value was not as high as when they proclaimed themselves with those titles - I'd be back in the top100 SP holders.
I do think we need to be doing more as content creators and influencers. #posh initiative is a good start and I'm hoping more curators will take that incentive into consideration when curating content and I'm hoping with communities and everything being in the same place we're going to have an easier way to deal with all these initiatives and at the same time come up with new ones trying to one up the others and all working with the same goals of bringing more value to Steem instead of attempting to gain more and more from the rewardpool while there's no new users coming in or even finding out that something like Steem exists.
So to me, being an influencer is more than just writing content and getting high payouts. It's more than just curating and commenting on others posts and most importantly it's more than just calling yourself and influencer while in reality you are very shortsighted and just looking to take the next stop at the a new blockchain based social media platform being created to use your "influence" you had here as a way to get an advantage of taking rewards from that one next. These are what I call nomads that will just jump wherever there is money in question and they will never tire from it cause that's all they care about. Sooner or later most of these come forward and show their true colors, the EIP did help a lot with showing how some people behaved when the cashcow stopped coming in. The good thing is that there are also a lot of people who don't care about that, many who have continued using Steem the same way as they did when they first got here, the same way they did when they had no SP and the same way they will do no matter what happens to the price of Steem. Best part is that there are a lot of those still who don't know about Steem but with our activity we will make sure they will find out and join us.
Something funny the other day that someone mentioned to me was "wait, you can only claim 18 accounts per day with your SP? how is that going to be enough for mass adoption??" so I answered with: "yes those are free accounts though and the cost to create an account that can at least vote 10+ times per day and comment a few times even at 0 SP is only 3 Steem. There's 370mil Steem in existence and maybe 100 million of it is liquid on exchanges - do the math on how many accounts one can create with that."
Anyway, just some freewrite on what I think it means to be an influencer on Steem, I'm sure there's a lot of things in there that may not be completely correct or the way you see influencers here being or a lot of things you may not be translating the way I intended them to, but would love to hear your thoughts on it.