Writing for upvotes or writing for an audience?steemCreated with Sketch.

in blog •  7 months ago 

Writing for upvotes is a short term thinking. For Steem to move from survive to thrive, authors need the discipline to write to attract an audience, and voters need the discipline to vote for posts that grow Steem's long term value.


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I have been posting almost daily from my light blogging account, @remlaps-lite for several months now with a series of #rsslog posts. I think I've posted every day except for one since early April. In terms of Steem upvotes, to put it mildly, the series has not been a stellar success. Basically, my only consistent voters are a couple small bot-chains, including one that I operate for voting by my own account and those of several other people who I know.

So, the other day, someone asked me if my posts have started getting larger rewards, and I answered "no". The obvious next question was, "Then why are you still doing it?" It was a good question. I spend one to three hours every day, sometimes even more, searching for links, reading the ones that seem interesting, and condensing them down into micro-summaries for these posts. Am I just wasting that time?

Well, here's part of the answer to why I'm still doing it: (i) I think Steem needs much more content that's not Steem related, and I am trying to create some of that content; (ii) It is a fun way to keep myself informed about things that are happening in the world around me; (iii) I am trying to reach people who are not on the Steem blockchain (you may notice that many of my posts link out to relevant small blog sites that are not part of the Steem ecosystem); and (iv) I am supporting other Steem authors by reward-sharing with authors of derivative works that I incorporate into my own posts.

Obviously, this little series of mine isn't going to be winning any Pulitzer prizes, but it is all original writing with emerging topics, and I think it actually provides densely packed information in a manner that is designed so that a reader can easily learn more about any of the topics, if they choose to.

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pixabay license: source

In every one of these posts, I am including four or more links to newly posted Internet content, which provides a place where Steemizens can - if they chose - bring discussions about breaking information in from the Internet onto our blockchain. I'm also hoping that many of the Internet sites to whom I link may follow the link to see where it came from. Finally, I include at least one link to a Steem post by another author, in order to expose off-Steem people who might read my posts to interesting Steem content. In addition to providing a timely source for information, this is all intended to work together to (hopefully) funnel an occasional person or two from the Internet into Steem.

When I search the Steem blockchain for content to include, however, I notice something. An awful lot of posts that I go through look like someone's going through a formality of laying down a 300-word place-holder as a place to accept their expected upvotes. Now, for the authors who are just going to liquidate their rewards, this is a fine strategy, I suppose. Take the money and run, as they say, but for those of us who are powering up most of our rewards, this seems like a really bad idea. Steem's value won't go up without audiences, and we won't have audiences until we give them something to come for - even if that's not what today's whales are voting for.

So what am I suggesting? When people blog on Medium or Wordpress or Blogger, it's a safe bet that they're mostly not worried about non-existent payouts. Instead, they're trying to write things that people want to read. I guess all I'm suggesting is that Steem participants need to recognize a distinction. Writing for upvotes is short-term thinking, writing for your audience is long term thinking. If we work to build our own audiences, the same way people do it on blogger, or medium, or anywhere else, eventually the votes should follow. As small-stake authors and voters, if we want to move with the Steem platform from Survive to Thrive, maybe we need to stop waiting for someone else to solve the problems, and start engaging in some long term thinking of our own.

Rhetorical Question: @steempeak lets you view your voting trail by adding /trail after your account name (for example, mine is https://steempeak.com/@remlaps/trail). Take a look at yours right now. How many of those posts are going to attract people from the Internet to come use the Steem blockchain?


Thank you for your time and attention.

As a general rule, I up-vote comments that demonstrate "proof of reading".




Steve Palmer is an IT professional with three decades of professional experience in data communications and information systems. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics, a master's degree in computer science, and a master's degree in information systems and technology management. He has been awarded 3 US patents.

Steve is also a co-founder of the Steem's Best Classical Music Facebook page, and the @classical-music steemit curation account.

Follow in RSS: @remlaps, @remlaps-lite

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I suppose I am not your audience, even though I am. I don't write for upvotes, and neither do I write for purposes such as attracting an audience, building a network, or any other reasonable purpose. I just write when I can't hold it in anymore, and have to spit the flow or drink enough to kill it. As a result my blog is all over the place, and only folks that share my interests tend to stick around. It's a piss poor way to run a business, but I'm not running a business. I'm just speaking my mind when I feel like it.

Since I am addicted to reasonable views of the world, and am now aware of @remlaps-lite, Imma hafta give it a looksee.

Thanks!

You almost made me feel hesitant to upvote this post. My upvoting is often to encourage the writer and not specifically geared towards encouraging content that makes Steem more attractive. Your rss-feed is often too much to read all (for me), but it certainly can be interesting to anyone and not specifically the Steem-minded ones. So I guess I can vote safely by your standards... :-)

My upvoting is often to encourage the writer and not specifically geared towards encouraging content that makes Steem more attractive.

I do a lot of this, too, especially with my bot voting. I view it as a form of patronage, or sponsorship, so I do think that type of voting can also help to grow Steem.

Your rss-feed is often too much to read all (for me)

That's why I put the little "head lines" in. I figure that readers can look at the opening description, and decide what they read. If there's nothing there, they're in and out in 10 seconds. If they want to learn more about one of the topics, they can scroll down, and read the headlines and micro-summaries that interest them, and if they still want more, they can click through. It's all designed to give the reader fast access to new information from the Internet, with an easy path to learn more.

Maybe it's just my perception but most of the content that I see here is subpar at best. Unfortunately sometimes I find msyelf voting on pieces that aren't as good but since there is not much to choose from I just go with it to at least get some curation rewards (usually the "good stuff" is already upvoted way above my pay grade so that's another thing to consider).

Agreed. In my own mind, I often compare it to the flywheel concept in a book I read a few years ago about Amazon's business principles. They talk about how starting a business program is like pushing a flywheel. It takes immense energy to overcome inertia for very small returns at the beginning, but the more you push, the easier it gets and the faster it goes, until eventually momentum takes over and it's almost spinning freely. At that point, it takes relatively little effort to keep it going.

I think that building an audience for a blogger is also like pushing a flywheel, but maybe there's something demotivational about the rewards dynamic here that tends to discourage people from exerting the effort it takes to get the thing spinning freely. Somehow, seeing those numbers at the bottom of the post seems to shift the mind to thinking about rewards instead of readers. Which is ironic, because in the long run, it's having readers that bring the rewards.

Is that book called From Good to Great?

No. That was a good book, too, but I remember the flywheel concept from The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World's Most Disruptive Company. I posted a book review of it on Steem in 3 parts back in 2016: