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Navigating The Cryptocurrency Forest: Steemit

Steemit's platform allows you to accumulate cryptocurrency by publishing and interacting with content.

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First Impressions

It took awhile for me to find my cryptocurrency of choice (I still have to get my head around Bitcoin mining) and once I heard about content creators being compensated, I knew that owning Steem could be my first foray into cryptocurrency.

The closest platform equivalent to Steemit is Reddit in that you can comment and upvote a post. In Reddit, you can show appreciation to content creators (users who start threads or make comments) by upvoting them or giving them Reddit gold (about US$3 a month) .

For Steemit, the upvotes you give could (depending on the creator’s settings) be used to pay out content. The payout is done via cryptocurrency and you get a choice of exchanges for it. I had a quick look at some of the content uploaded during the last 24 hours and I was amazed at the payout possibility. For example, one account had a total of $70k possible payout….after spending a year on the platform....and based on the history of the user that amount was for the whole year. Not mindblowing numbers, yet enough to give a writer reason (without worrying about the bills for a couple of months) to spend some time finding their voice on the platform.

Announcing: APPICS | The Next Generation Social APP: First Smart Media Token! — @Steemit https://t.co/VEvQulX9rf #steemit #SmartMediaToken

Signing Up

Not sure if this contributes to the ‘anticipation factor’, because when I signed up, approval was not instantaneous. Mine took three days. I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to look at their T&C in detail. While going through it, I was reminded that since this was a blockchain I’m dealing with, there would be serious encryption, and it mentioned that. I was particularly delighted about the mention of Private Keys, which is widely used for email (try it if you haven’t).

It now makes sense why there isn’t a ‘forgot your password?’ option. Basically if you lose your private key (the passphrase), it’s gone forever. Along with all the credits (Steem Power) and dollars (Steem credit). Also, since this is a blockchain type protocol, I do wonder if the content I submit would be there forever? And if edits are possible…edits are there to be seen too? Forever>

Fuzzy will be live discussing Steemit and Ned tonight at 7pm central. Tune in to get the latest info.

Getting Started

Overwhelmed enough that you wouldn’t want to start? The biggest reason to give Steemit at go is you’ll be learning on the fly about cryptocurrency and how best to navigate the different digital currencies. Wouldn’t you want to do that in a platform that has 15 million monthly visitors?

Looking through my account settings, I notice that Steemit links to an image rather than getting your to upload one.

When I got to the ‘newbie area’ I got overwhelmed that during my break I was reminded again by the thought: ‘Am I just chasing the next shiney thing?’ I was able to breathe easy because I am joining Steem because it’s such a unique platform and it would likely result in a number of ideas (and I’m okay even if I’m not able to apply it to clients.)

I remembered the last time I felt this overwhelmed: it was when I first joined Twitter (and maybe when I first came across Twitter too). The stress of the learning curve (add to the realisation I feel like I walked into the comment section of Youtube --- Where the meanies are!) dissipated after two weeks or so.

After going all through that. I think creators who have a strong following (best results if you have a set number of email subscribers), because they can just encourage their tribe to come join them on Steemit.

No rush, take a couple of days…to just browse and even pop in for a chat. I found this document really helpful. Yes it does combine Reddit etiquette (Jab Jab Right hook is also a good reference) . I aim to try to make my ratio 10:1 (interaction vs sharing of content).

When I got to this: “It will also reduce your payouts if you post more than 4 times a day. “ I realised that I should only be spending 2-4 hours on the platform a day. Because that enables one post and a number of interactions, though I would guess 3-4 posts a week would make the payout algorithm like me more as a Steemit user.

As a person who prefers one-on-one interaction, the whole chat requirements (no straight DM-ing) is something I have to remember. If you are the same, it may feel like going back to your days doing IRC.

The biggest challenge for me was understanding how to vote. Having used Reddit before, my voting reflex was just to click something. So I clicked on the vote button…but then…I get a display of who voted (it was only later I realised what the usernames were). Finally I found it. It’s the button next to whatever dollar figure the reply or post has.

Questions...Questions....Questions....

Though there is a FAQ on Steemit. Here are a couple of questions your community might have when you decide to bring them over to Steemit with you.

Q: What is that number next to my username?

A: That is your reputation. Similar to Reddit's karma points it increases or decreases based on your contribution to the community. The difference with Steemit is you accumulate your reputation points much slower. As long as you interact with comments, content, upvoting and flagging you get a point each day. So if you don't remain active for a period of time (like I did)...your reputation doesn't increase or decrease.

Q: What is powering down? (I remember seeing a note in another user's wallet that they would be powering down in 7 days)

A: My understanding is each user has a specific amount of time when they are able to vote up content (both for posts and comments). Payout would be greater if a user upvoting your comment/post has a lot of Steem power.

Q: How effective is it if I flag a post? (Or do the cleaners need a bit of help?)

A: There are a number of bots around on Steemit. Some function to help good content get the attention they deserve and some flag spam (Which there are many!) and plagiarism. Don't hesitate to flag (there's no downvoting on Steemit) content you think shouldn't be on the platform.

Just keep in mind though...on Steemit you upvotes and flags are visible. If someone harasses you (which they shouldn't be doing!) for flagging their content, just leave it for the system admins to sort it out.

Q: Should I pay (Send Steem) for an upvote?

A: I would discourage you to send any kind of currency for resteems (similar to a re-tweet) and upvotes. The Steemit ecosystem seemed to have spawned bots (sometimes known as whales) who give content a boost in exchange for payment...however...it doesn't seemed to be discouraged

Q: If I need to ask questions, where do I go?

A: I suggest finding a relevant post and leave your comment there. You might get a bit of a cold shoulder like I did. If you do, just keep browsing until you find a user who'd give you a warmer welcome. There is a chat function (hosted on a different site), and if possible I'd suggest you avoid it. The first time I tried it, I was eventually able to find a chat room with actually interactions (lots of other chat rooms are just users flogging their Steemit posts)

Q: How do I know if someone has responded to my comment?

A: There is a section one your profile page called 'Replies' just keep checking if you have any. Unfortunately Steemit does not send you notifications that you have a new comment on your post or a reply. I got used to it once I understood how it worked.


Q: Can I send another user a Direct Message?

A: The closest thing to that is sending a memo. I have yet to test out that feature. If you would like to correspond with other users...I suggest you use Wire. If you're not comfortable making your Wire handle public, just leave a link on your profile (so you can receive the sender's handle via email).

Q: What's the difference between Steem, Steem Power, and Steemit?

A: Steem is the cryptocurrency, Steem Power is your voting capacity (how much payout the author would be paid out when you upvote their post or comment), and Steemit is the platform. More info here.

Q: How long can I keep editing my posts?

A: 7 Days. I find keeping a rule of 2-3 days so there is less chance I'd forget. Of course if you can sort it out before you are done for the day...you'll be able to give your brain more space to think about other things.

Q: What's the quickest way to get compensated?

A: There are two ways you get rewarded:

* Creating Content
* Discovering Content

So if you are among the initial pool of users who have upvoted a new post with quality content, you get rewarded too. Hopefully by now, you know which content you'd like to focus on. For me, it'll be completely specific to Steemit. Initially I found myself publishing content that should be on Thrive.

Outages

Twitter went through it awhile. Reddit goes through minutes or sometimes just seconds during period of heavy load (Saturday). It didn't occur to me that Steemit would end up going through it too!

So far I've experience two outages (details are here and here). Both were trying to send a contact one of my posts on Steemit.

Unfortunately outages take awhile ---- and the only way you know that you are in the middle of one....is if a page doesn't load at all (maybe 2-3 minutes and nothing happens). To confirm, just do a search for the Steemit handle on Twitter. If Steemit doesn't have any updates, you'll see tweets from users confirming that the platform is down. An excuse to take a 20 minute walk maybe? :)

PS: Thumbnail photo credit: David Castenson

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