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.
pixabay license: source
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.
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?