Social media fans are blindly, blithely, or willingly allowing the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to use their data to make billions of dollars. They get nothing in return but whatever satisfaction comes from exposing the tedium of their lives. In some cases, laying open one’s life for an instant of fame causes headaches. It certainly doesn’t enrich the average user financially. However, all that may be about to change.
A startup social media platform, Steemit, is attempting to throw the old model on its head. If successful, it may revolutionize the future of social media. Unlike the aforementioned social media giants, which mine our information without sharing the profit, Steemit is doing just the opposite. It is rewarding its users with cold, hard cash in the form of a cryptocurrency.
In doing so, the innovative social media site is improving on the ubiquitous reward programs offered by hotels, airlines, and credit card companies. These rebate a fraction of your purchase to you in cash or in points. However, you have to spend money to get some of your own money back. Imagine a setup where you get paid not for spending cold, hard cash, but merely for doing something you were already doing for free! You won’t accumulate dollars or euros, but a cryptocurrency called Steem instead.
How Does Steemit Work?
On Steemit, every time you post, comment, or “like,” you'll be paid a fraction of a Steem. When you’ve accumulated a bunch of Steems, you can cash them in for normal currency. If you're optimistic about Steem's appreciation potential, hoping it will be along the lines of Bitcoin or Ethereum, you can opt to hold your Steems instead. Many folks may choose to go this way because of how easy it is to earn Steems.
The creators of Steemit proudly boast,
“Steem is the first cryptocurrency that attempts to accurately and transparently reward…[the] individuals who make subjective contributions to its community.”
It had its immediate admirers, albeit in small numbers. However, it was when Steemit released its first pay-outs in July 2016, a scant three months after launch, that it got serious attention. Players piled in. Steemit gained interest even though you were paid out in Steems, which as a nascent cryptocurrency has no guaranteed value.
Investors’ faith in Steem has been rewarded. The value of the rollout skyrocketed from the initial $1.2 million to $350 million. Even after settling back, it has leveled off at close to $300 million, meaning it consistently resides among the top 20 traded digital currencies. Not shabby at all. What’s more, since its launch more than $30 million worth of Steem has been distributed to over 50,000 users, according to company reports. This puts it on a trajectory to topple the model built by social media giants over decades of use.
The new cryptocurrency and business paradigm aside, Steemit emulates other social networks to a large degree. The most popular tags include things like photography, life, travel, art, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Steemit itself. However, it has at least one interesting difference - trolling - because of the cash incentive. Steemit's co-founder explains,
“For the first time, there’s an opportunity cost to trolling. Every second that someone spends trolling, they’re potentially damaging their reputation and preventing themselves from earning any Steem.”
Users vote on your posts, which helps determine your pay-out.
A Cryptocurrency for the Masses?
Steemit's co-founders are ebullient in proclaiming that it is easy to enter this market. Steem has been designed as cryptocurrency for the masses, as the barriers to entry are almost non-existent.
Steemit seems to me like an idea whose time has come. For years, social media moguls like Mark Zuckerberg have gotten rich over monetizing your volunteered information. What have you gotten in return for the content that you generated? Nada! In fact, some users of the traditional social media platforms have gotten more than they’ve bargained for in the form of criticism, shaming, and similar repercussions. Now at least there may be some bucks to assuage you and be a balm for your burns.
Steem is a cryptocurrency that's enjoying the cryptocurrency bubble. That means that even if you’re fortunate enough to amass a chunk of Steems and grow rich, your wealth could just as easily vanish. However, you were posting before on other platforms with no prospect for reward. Those platforms were making billions for others. Why not check Steemit out - what have you got to lose?