The movement of influence on Steem

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 ]


Posted via Steemleo | A Decentralized Community for Investors

Comments 10

Ego, indeed.

The term influencer long precedes social media, the Internet even. Before it were celebrities, columnists, reviewers, authors.

Roger Ebert didn't need the Internet to be an influential movie reviewer. Same with so many more in their respective niche.

When UGC (User Generated Content), or Web2.0, picked up everyone was considered an "influencer" due to the innate authenticity that came with authentic content. Irrelevant of one had 2 or 200,000 readers. AFAIK influencer was still not a common term.

Not sure when the term exploded and why/who but it was after 2015. What I'm sure of, and also seems to have led to the topic - in itself a perfect example of true influencer ship - is that before its current popularity people earned their badges. They didn't need to call themselves influencer, they had just earned that "reach" over time.

On social media, everyone is a CEO, influencer and whatnot. Jist slap it in your profile and party time!
But at least the "influencer" part of that is true... as long as they have an audience of at least 1.

Next came the came the days of fake social stats, like boosting numbers for the Feedburner widget. 30k Feed sub gave a blog more credibility than only 120 subs.

26.12.2019 19:55

"Time Influencer of the Year" :D

Not sure when the term exploded and why/who but it was after 2015.

I think it was driven at the height of Instagram and celebrities with 100M followers / then there is the trickle down effect as other ego driven people wanted some glory via association. It is kind of like buying 30 dollar D&G underwear, it is almost the same as a 10K dress.

They didn't need to call themselves influencer, they had just earned that "reach" over time.

This is where real influence is derived, influence earned from action.

PS: I think the term slowly started gaining popularity post 2016 as the first "self-made" brands appeared (and some disappeared almost as quickly again)

The drop-shipping nonsense definitely had an effect that made people feel "influential" as they were sent crap in the mail to promote. My niece was getting sent crap through Instagram and thought she was famous ;D

26.12.2019 20:31

Hi @tarazkp, thanks for the mention.
I like to see participate in the poll ( it is separated in 2 polls).

27.12.2019 03:56

You are welcome and good to know, thanks :)

27.12.2019 07:07

You had me at 'illicit behaviour'. You're a bad-influencer.
Communities will let established authorities in all sorts of disciplines and hobbies be rewarded for that expertise by people who recognise them as such.
Ray Yabo is a professional football/soccer player who posts as @modernpastor.
Now that meant nothing to me, but my sport-nut friend @o07 recognised his name immediately.
If the German Sporting Club he plays for starts a Community here for its 12,000 members, he can expect to quickly become a local whale, and will be capable of upvoting authoritatively, spreading credibility tokens to others.

27.12.2019 07:01

Communities will let established authorities in all sorts of disciplines and hobbies be rewarded for that expertise by people who recognise them as such.

This also "cleans up" the rewards a little as well as people who care will spend their time there, while those who don't, won't.

I am hoping that thre will be easy to setup and customize community interfaces that are practical and attractive. The tools for the end user have to be relatively easy to build with. I am haven't heard much from TokenBB, but I think that it would be great to use as a base for communities.

27.12.2019 07:11

It's important to note that the term "influencer" only really has meaning within a specific context. That context cannot be as broad as "an entire platform," at least meaningfully, because the platform is the delivery mechanism. Once the scope expands to that level, you're not really talking about individuals that are influencing the community but instead people who are found by the community. The flow of power is actually inverted.

Once you look at context, you can talk meaningfully about people who influence that contextual community. If you were to, for example, ask about influencers on the Steem blockchain within the tabletop role-playing game community – I'm probably still one of those people along with maybe four others. If you talk about the contextual community of people who write about their travel experiences, there are probably another order of magnitude more people who can be considered influencers along with the entire community being an order of magnitude larger. The curve doesn't perfectly track, because the Dunbar number is real; people can only care about so many other people at any given time inside a given context.

For most of the interfaces which talk to the Steem blockchain as their backing database, it is unreasonable to ask the question "who are the influencers in this space?", not because there aren't individuals who, by nature of the people who comment and interact with them don't influence communities – but because the interfaces themselves don't support the construction and discovery of content for individuals to build communities. It is far more useful to talk about "interactives" on the Steem blockchain as it stands right now. Influence doesn't occur in an environment where discovery is difficult through the interface but there are people who act as local nexus of others who frequently interact and thus discover other creatives and sources of content.

Interestingly, discovering those people isn't so much an issue of talking to people as it is algorithmically demonstrable. In fact, doing so is one of the reasons that the other major social media platforms are as successful as they are. They concentrated on discovery and community self organization early on, which allowed people to coalesce around interactives and then self identified to external people who would be interested.

It is often said that the three most important things about real estate are "location, location, location" – and social media platforms are really just cognitive real estate. The location is how defined a given community can be, contextually, which separates it from its neighbors and other communities. Platforms which have strongly supported community separation and differentiation have done extremely well. There is more cognitive room, more territory, defined within the platform itself. Platforms which don't strongly support community separation find themselves in direct competition with other platforms which don't strongly support community separation and competing on strong network effect alone.

For social media platforms backed by the Steem blockchain, that cognitive spatial differentiation is something that they are going to have to work on to provide to the users in order to differentiate themselves. In the meantime, looking for influencers is applying the wrong mental construct if you're looking to understand growth patterns and potential within and across the platform. People need to be looking for others/accounts who act as interactives which facilitate other people meeting up.

27.12.2019 20:17

I could not agree more with this post. The main draw card for me to steem was always that you own the connections with your followers in the sense that they are peer to peer connections over the blockchain. As someone with 80k followers elsewhere I have seen fist hand how quickly reach can fluctuate on controlled platforms where sometimes you cant even communicate with a small % of them. When IG forced all users with over 50k onto business accounts my so called organic reach was cut and simply replaced with a "promote your post to reach x thousand more users" advertisement.

I am impressed with how its evolving here and still a strong believer. Its time will come.

28.12.2019 02:30

When IG forced all users with over 50k onto business accounts my so called organic reach was cut and simply replaced with a "promote your post to reach x thousand more users" advertisement.

Once the hooks are in and the reliance is built, there is very little one can do other than leave. So much time and effort invested to own nothing.

This is obviously different on Steem and I really hope many people like yourself find and build homes here for you and your audiences. This place could be amazing once enough people realize that the real value of experience requires ownership and community.

Takes time though, and plenty of work that most aren't accustomed to doing yet.

28.12.2019 10:51