Perhaps you just joined this pretty cool platform and you're wondering how you can begin to get your head around this place? I know, I was in the same situation in March 2018 when I joined! Maybe you've been around for a long time and still don't know how to get going? I know, I'm forever learning in this vast ocean of STEEM!
This is where the Bluffer's Guide comes in as it is written in plain English (that's pure UK "Queen's" English by the way where I use "u" where other variants of the language don't and "s" instead of "z" because it's the decent thing to do 😛) and tries to keep things entertaining as well as educational so it won't bore you to tears... hopefully! 😆
So what I want to go through today are some things I've found that have helped me to grow my STEEM account that fit in to the current community guidelines of the platform known as HF22 (Hard Fork 22). Please bear in mind that to get the most out of this place, be patient, be friendly and most of all HAVE FUN!
Speaking of fun, it's time for the fun legal disclaimer thingy...
Before I begin, I want to emphasise that this is a highly simplified version of what I have learnt from my own research and I'm sharing my learning with you. If you do know this topic inside out, be nice to those who are still learning about this (myself included) and we can grow together.
Furthermore, this is not financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. I am a crypto/STEEM enthusiast and wanted to create a guide to help total beginners understand what this is all about. Please seek financial advice from a qualified professional if you have any doubt about how to spend your money.
So with that said, brace yourselves, you might learn something! Shall we begin?
Getting Started 💡
When you first join the STEEM network and start posting you're likely to stumble across an error message referring to something known as "Resource Credits". Particularly if you made a post and started writing a couple of comments in a short space of time like a couple of hours. So what are these mysterious Resource Credits and why are they significant?
Resource Credits (RC)
These were introduced to STEEM at the beginning of 2019 as a way to prevent new accounts spamming millions of posts/comments a day, clogging up the network. I think we can all agree, that's not a good look on any platform and this is STEEM's way of combating it.
Every account on STEEM has a certain amount of RC depending on how much STEEM Power your account has. To remind yourself of what STEEM Power is, please check the previous Bluffer's Guide post which goes in to more detail about it. Basically, the more STEEM Power you have, the more RC you have, which means you're able to do more things on the STEEM blockchain (post, comments, resteem etc).
When you make a post, comment or interact on the STEEM network, it uses up a percentage your available RC, depending on how often and how in depth your posts/comments are. If you use up all your RC, you won't be able to use STEEM, which is where that error message comes in to play and is also VERY sad - especially when you have a brand new account, you don't have that much RC to play with 🙁 The good news is, your RC regenerates like a rechargeable battery at a rate of 20% per day 😃
So if you created your account via Steemit, you'll probably have around 15SP to begin with which is enough for a post and about 5 comments. Not so good if you want to comment, distribute rewards or post more than that but realistically, you only need to have 50SP for casual use and 100SP will be more than enough if you just want to use the platform without any risk of these RC error messages.
Why Do We Need "Resource Credits"?
As I mentioned already, they are a good way to prevent unnecessary amounts of spam coming in from new accounts - this used to be a big issue before RC came in. Another reason is that they help to "indirectly" pay for each account to use the platform. If you want to and are able to write 300 comments a day then you're going to have to increase your SP (and that's quite some activity)! In a way, they are a bit like "bandwidth" (think of broadband internet) where you only have a certain allowance to "do stuff".
Remember that STEEM isn't like the conventional social networks (FB, Twitter, YouTube etc) where there's no direct financial consequence by tapping the "like" or "dislike" buttons. Therefore you will need a slightly different mindset as your votes distribute rewards around on created content. So really, STEEM is a "Content Rewards" platform but some call it a "Blockchain Based Social Media". Bear this in mind as you start your journey, network and grow your account, speaking of which...
Growing Your Account
A quintessential part to your journey on STEEM is to do an "introduce yourself" post. It's kind of self-explanatory and you can only do this once per account but a great way to tell the STEEM universe what your profile is all about - make sure you use the #introduceyourself as the first tag and any other relevant tags to what you're posting so any one who's searching for similar topics can find you!
If you're hoping to grow your account just by posting and not interacting with any other profiles then it's likely you're going to be put off very quickly as no-one will find you. That's really no different than having a LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, ANY other social media account. You need to go out there and meet people with similar interests if you want to make new friends and have some interaction on your posts.
Don't be disheartened because there's a plethora of communities here to get involved with and with changes coming in 2020, there'll be even easier ways to find them but that's a topic for a different time. Currently, the best way of finding similar interest communities are to either use the search feature on steemit, steempeak or whichever website you're using or browsing tags.
A lot of, if not all, communities currently hang out on a chat forum known as "Discord" with invitation links on the main community STEEM profile but here are a few that I'm aware of or have been part of in the past that may point you in the right direction:
Music & Musicians
@atomcollector - Dedicated group of independent musicians and crypto enthusiasts who are very knowledgeable, helpful and supportive. Join their Discord here.
@dsound - STEEM's version of Soundcloud where musicians can upload their music to the DSound website and listeners can tune in and comment although activity seems to have dropped over the last couple of months on STEEM so not sure if they're still developing. Either way, join their Discord here
@creativecoin - A community not just for musicians but also any of the creative arts - poetry, photography, painting are just some of the things they cover but more info on their intro post. Join their Discord here!
@sonicgroove - Made by the same folks who set-up Creative Coin, this is more like the "Musician Wing" of it. There's open mic contests for singers and live performers to get involved with. Their Discord, I think, is the same as Creative Coin above but I'm not 100% sure as I don't have a link but if you join Creative Coin, you'll end up in the right place!
@travelfeed - Travel Feed is the only real choice I have to offer here as these guys are supportive, innovating and looking to make finding AND creating travel posts as easy as possible on their website. Join their Discord here.
@steem.leo - Again, I don't really know any other community on STEEM that has a dedicated investing/cryptocurrency interest other than STEEM Leo but there's plenty of interesting topics to read through on their website and you can join their Discord here.
@steemitbloggers - One community I was involved with in the past was this one. If you like general blogging about all kinds of topics then Steemit Bloggers (now Power House Creatives) could be an option. There are some talented creatives in there who can help get you started, all lead by @jaynie. The guidelines for their membership are detailed in their intro post here but you can join their Discord here.
@c-squared / @c-cubed - One of the communities aimed at supporting "good quality" or "high effort" posts on a variety of topics with a team of curators who seek out content. If you have made content that has gone above and beyond then you might get tapped up by c-cubed, which is another layer of discovery. Join the c-squared Discord here and c-cubed Discord here.
@curie - The gold standard of quality content is this community here. If you pick up a curie upvote, it means that your post is exceptional and you'll basically feel like you've hit the jackpot! They share posts they find on their website and you can join their Discord here.
Bluffer's Notes on Networking, Discord & Communities
Don't do what I did which was join every Discord community in sight! It will burn you out, particularly if you aren't on STEEM all the time, have other projects going on or even just have 3D world responsibilities (yes, there's a life off the internet)! Hopefully this list gives you a good start point but as I said, there are MANY more out there that would create a never ending blog so you will have to do a bit of searching yourself!
Well, now that you have (hopefully) found the community you've been looking for, it's time to write some content that that community will find relevant or interesting. So... write away! The best way of getting better at something is practice and get feedback so you can develop, improve and come back again. Once you've made a post, there's a 7 day window for the community to distribute rewards to it (via upvoting or downvoting) before the rewards for that post is paid out.
Be aware that there are no guarantees on post payout. You could spend hours writing and creating your content but that doesn't always mean it will earn a lot of rewards. Having said that, since around August 2019 when changes were made to the way STEEM works, a lot more emphasis has been put on manual curating so you do have a better chance than if you joined at the beginning of the year.
This is why I put networking first so that you can find like minded people rather than post to an empty audience when you first start out.
Maybe you aren't a prolific poster and love reading content instead or hunting for those well made posts that no-one else has found yet, giving them an upvote and comment. This is called curation but I'll go in to more detail in another blog about this. C-squared and Curie do look and (as far as I know) pay for people who curate content that gets featured in their showcases but don't quote me on that exactly. Worth asking if it's something you're interested in.
After 7 days, half of the post payout is split and goes back to curators (voters) as "curation rewards" which means that you get back a little bit for your efforts. Of course, with a small account and 15-100SP, your curation rewards aren't going to be great but as you build your account over time, that will be a bit more significant. You certainly don't get curation rewards on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc.!
This was something I came across over the last couple of months and it's a little more advanced so if you're just getting started, you may want to skip this section. However, it's worth mentioning leasing as, if you know what you're doing, it can be a good way to grow your account.
Leasing is where you can either ask for people to loan you some SP for a period of time, for a certain amount of STEEM, or you can loan your SP out to someone for a period of time, for a certain amount of STEEM. @dlease has set up a platform where it's possible to do this on a pretty easy to use interface over on their website.
Requesting a Lease
Let's say you wanted to borrow 100SP for 4 weeks and you're willing to give someone an Return Of Investment of 15% (ROI is calculated/based on a 12 month period).
This means you'd pay someone 0.377 STEEM per week for 4 weeks (totalling 1.508 STEEM) in exchange for them lending you 100SP. You can then use your temporarily bigger account to get curation rewards over the 4 week period, which could give you more back than you paid (for example 2 STEEM), so, growing your account.
Bear in mind, I've just used "easy" numbers for illustrative purposes here - you'll have to do a bit of studying yourself if this is something that is of interest and making it profitable. I'd definitely recommend reaching out to dlease in their Discord server here. I've not requested a lease before but I have delegated using the website which I've found to be pretty fruitful.
Delegating to a Lease
This is where you are the one getting paid for loaning your SP out to others on the dlease marketplace. In our example, if you leased out 100SP, you'd be the one getting the 1.508 STEEM back on top of your 100SP delegation at the end of the 4 week period but in daily payments. Here's a screenshot of the current market (7th December 2019).
And that's how leasing works - it's up to you to decide what to do with your SP here.
Delegating to Curation Guilds
You can also grow your account AND support content creators by delegating your SP to "curation guilds". One such guild I've delegated to in the past is @ocd who give out a percentage of their curation rewards back to those who have delegated to them. Their website has more information on what they are about but you'll get daily payments (like with dlease) which is automatically calculated. I'm not sure if there are other curation guilds that do this but again, at least you know what it means (I hope)!
Of course, the quickest way to grow your STEEM account is to actually just buy it from exchanges if you have spare money (fiat or other crypto) that you don't mind spending. I'm not going to go in to the ins and outs of exchanges as I've covered that in chapter 3 of the Bluffer's Guide here but if there's enough demand, I could do a walk through video of how STEEM can be bought via exchanges. As per disclaimer - this is not financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. Please seek financial advice from a qualified professional if you have any doubt about how to spend your money.
Your Top 3 Contest
Ah yes, the final piece I want to talk about today is contests! They provide a great incentive for interaction and some prizes are pretty decent out there but I'm going to have to talk about a contest/community I run with @cheese4ead, @plantstoplanks and @foxyspirit called @yourtop3...sorry... shameless self-promo haha!
We've given out over $130 in STEEM prizes since we began in April 2019 (thanks to sponsorship from curie and @appreciator) just by posting and chatting with the community in our Discord server about what our top 3 things are for a specific topic each month.
There's a real fun feel about it too because everyone who enters comments on other people's posts so you have the networking effect we talked about earlier, which, we hope will be a great way to welcome new people to the STEEM platform and grow their account.
Now THAT is worth celebrating. Cheers 🍻
Ok, we've covered a LOT of ways to grow your account with STEEM but I think there are a couple of themes that need to be remembered as you embark on your journey. The first is to not consider it like any other social media site. It's different, there's a lot happening and you're going to have to have a slightly different mindset on STEEM, which is why I make these Bluffer's Guides.
But most importantly, what I said at the beginning of this post (around 10 years ago now), the key word is fun.
If it isn't fun then why do it? It's very important to make sure you're having fun with STEEM - find your place of belonging with the communities, get to know people, network, post and growing your account becomes a natural process.
Life's too short otherwise hey?
As an aside, I don't work for Steem, I'm just a guy who makes Drum & Bass music, writes travel blogs and these Bluffer's Guides from time to time, trying to make STEEM as prosperous as it can be for every one so we can all win.
Now, back to the music studio 😉
For those what wanted to see the body of work behind the Bluffer's Guide, these are most of the posts I did (some of the platforms I reviewed in Chapter 7 have since collapsed, under delivered or lost their way). Enjoy 😃
The history and technology of Bitcoin
2.1 How and why did Bitcoin come in to existence?
2.2 How does Bitcoin & blockchain actually work (Part 1)?
2.3 How does Bitcoin & Blockchain actually work (Part 2)?
Concluding Thoughts (never getting here)