There have been several posts and Ginabot notifications that lead to the conversation about "influencers" on Steem and I am enthused to see this back into the spotlight. There was one post by @acidyo here, another by @fullcoverbetting here and a @dpoll by @psos here. There are probably more, but I have been out of the house most of the day and haven't had a chance to browse the feed.
While I do think that like @fknmayhem mentioned in a comment to Acidyo, "The term is wrong. We should stop caring about influencers", I also think that the term itself has come about as a way to nurture the ego of people who quest for power in the attention economy, one that has been supercharged in the last decade and a half by Social Media and the reach and subscription it has power over.
Power is an important condition of influence and it is one that people seek. What I think is that when it comes to the influence of an "influencer", the power they have is not theirs, it is the platform's and while they may make a bit of coin, the platform takes a treasure chest full.
The other day I was writing about relevancy and giving some people power in a system where many want it gives them automatic relevancy, but as we have seen multiple times on the centralized platforms is, that power can be taken away instantaneously with a ban, shadow ban or demonetization- This means that the influence they hold is actually dependent on the platform granting influence, not necessarily that the influencer has earned it.
This might seem like a slight difference, but it could be fundamentally different at the operational level if you imagine it something like a self-made millionaire and a child who inherited the wealth. I think this is why @FknMayhem mentioned Movers & Shakers, as they are the ones who perform actions that lead to outcomes and in so doing, earn influence with some selection of people who value their input.
I don't think the terminology matters all that much at this point, but the concept of influence with people does. There is no one on earth who has influence over all, it is always a subset - and this is something that has to be taken into special consideration on Steem as a stake-based and decentralized environment. We have seen plenty of "arguments" over who and what has value, but the truth is that it is going to depend on the eye of the beholder, the consuming audience.
Why stake has to be careful in this is that while the stakeholder themselves might be interested in something like Steem-based investor-centric content, they have to also consider that many of the unstaked users could be into something quite different, and it is they who will be the largest consuming force in the future, and they will require a diverse range of content.
However at this time of the industry, I do see great value in Steem-centric content (especially when pushed outward and away from the ecosystem to reach more consumers) as we need to introduce, onboard and retrain the mainstream users that there are indeed better ways than they are utilizing now with the centralized platform. The whole concept of "owning the internet" is foreign to the majority as they believe it is already free - without considering just how restricted and dependent they actually are on a sliver of corporations who parse all data and lead most interactions.
When it comes to building influence or being considered influential on Steem, I think it has to be cross-referenced with what kind of content is offered. Content creators come in many forms, but in general we could look at them across niche topics or mediums and whether what they offer to their section of the audience satisfies the consumer hunger. Then we have to consider the timing of what is on offer and whether it is relevant to the audience at the time they are getting it.
Timing of content is a challenge at this point because no matter what kind of artist one is, there is likely an equivalent or better form available elsewhere on the internet for free. This is because of what I mentioned earlier, most people in the internet world do not know there are alternatives like Steem. Even if we only supported artists of varying kinds here, the platform wouldn't attract investors because the niche would be too narrow and that would also mean, very few holders - and value will fall.
The timing of content has to be relevant to the audience and I think that can mean, they don't even know what is relevant yet, as it is still emerging in a startup industry. @theycallmedan has used, Be where the ball is going to be, and this is the message we need to be getting out there into the wild in order to attract all kinds of early adopters, something that Steem has actually been quite successful at as Steem holds a very diverse posting public, just not very large.
I believe that this is why there has to be a wide variety of influential people across the ecosystem who can all leverage each other to provide a full range of "services" to the yet-to-be-informed general public. An influential artist on Steem may not need to know the technical ins and outs, but they should have a deep enough network and the background knowledge to be able to direct those who they have influence with toward for clarification. In the same way, a technical person need not be an artist, but should be able to direct someone who may be interested in that kind of thing to people of influence that could attract interest.
We do have a challenge though as just like why many people don't share Steem-sourced content outward often, many are unwilling to promote others. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that most interfaces do not allow for a clear separation of content, and due to the competition for reward, there are economic considerations also. Remember that everyone works on incentive, and if there is no incentive to promote Steem other than vague opportunity of future value and disruption to industry (one of my driving forces), most won't.
This is why operations like #PoSh run by @ocd are so important as it incentivizes action now with reward now - I hope @freedom considers giving the delegation back to them as it has a chance of not only getting the word out through varied content forms, it also will lead those it hooks back to content that has actually been rewarded on Steem as proof that it is possible for all kinds of content to earn.
While I don't mind people sharing all kinds of content on Steem, I wish more people who are looking long would spend a little more thought energy and consider if the content they are creating adds value to their audience, or at least attempts to. I feel that too many people expect some form of earning on whatever they like t offer, without thinking if what they offer is what an audience wants to consume. The size and demographics of the Steem audience also needs to be considered, which is why growing the base is imperative going forward as the more consumers, the more niches that can attract viewers.
Attractiveness is important for someone who holds influence with others, but this isn't necessarily about looks, but may also be depending on the audience target group. If what is offered isn't considered attractive consistently, and isn't consistently produced, it is unlikely that the person offering it is going to develop influence. If you imagine a singer like Adele producing her first album and getting massive support with ballads, and then her second album being an ode to Italian house music of 1989 and third an instrumental of her playing the piano, you could expect that her fans would be wary of spending their money and attention on her.
Consistency is key for developing influence as it is a core component of trust, even in a trustless network. This is why I think most "influencers" on social media today will not last long, as they are unable to keep producing enough content that also changes enough to remain interesting to their audence long-term, and once their numbers start to wane, the centralized algorithms will boot and replace them quick smart. It is smart for them to churn content creators as they have what they consider, an endless supply to waste.*
We need to change that.
Content creation that gathers attention and gains influence isn't endless and we need to poach users and audience and reward them for playing their role in making the world of information about humans again, not alogotithms that maximize for profit at any cost.
What I would consider an important step is, before looking to find influencers on Steem, first look at what your own needs and wants are and then ask yourself,
what influences me?
Once you know what you are after, then go out and find it, support it, promote it.
I would predict that the content I create that gets the most resteems is Steem-centric content as it is what is in demand in the ecosystem, no matter how many say that they want different. It also gets the most interaction and probably on average, the greatest amount of economic consideration too. The time of this kind of content is limited however, and the marketplace is largely saturated, even though people keep churning it out regardless of whether their audience needs it or, has already found a satisfactory alternative.
While you are browsing your various feeds and consuming content as you do, take note on what type of content you read and like, but most importantly, what kind of content moves you to act. The process of having influence means being able to elicit a behavior of some kind and if one cannot cause a change in the audience that they appreciate, it is hard to be considered an influential person that adds value.
[ a Steem original ]