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Accessibility, audio, games, Linux and other things, from a visually impaired person's point of view.

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My First Week on Steemit, and My First Impressions

I've never had much patience, nor luck, with social networks.

  • I've tried to use twitter, but nothing came out of it. I didn't have the patience to read others' things and post constantly, and it was cumbersome to rephrase everything I wrote to fit the character limit. In the end, my Twitter was relegated to just informing people about blog and fanfic updates. I only have like 7 followers, and my tweets don't even show on searches, just because they contain links (to this blog or to my fan fictions). From what I understood, the fact that they contain links and have no retweets makes the Twitter search engine bots think my tweets are spam! So, no one outside of my 7 followers can even find my tweets... Edit (2020/10/20): just for the record, two years later, things have improved on Twitter for me quite a bit. I got more followers who are really interested on my status updates (total of 37 followers of my Twitter in English). They started liking and retweetting my tweets, and the system doesn't consider my tweets as spam anymore. I've also successfully used direct messages for important things, and am feeling better about Twitter overall.
  • I don't have Facebook because I don't like it.
  • Updates to my Youtube are few and far between because my visual impairment makes it hard for me to create visual content.
  • I'm not on Deviantart because of the same reason above.
  • Since I've found a few interesting blogs on Tumblr, I once tried to use it, but gave up because the interface is completely unusable with screen reader software, thus inaccessible to visually impaired users who depend on screen readers to use the computer.
  • Also, I'm more a reader than a poster (people who have seen this blog knows how infrequent my posts are). There's a community on Reddit, r/Persona5, which I've been following since 2016, before the Persona 5 game came out in Japan. But I don't even have a Reddit account, and just read what other people post. Surprisingly, I have enough patience for that, as said community tends to have insightful discussions about the plot, the characters, and the game in general. But so far, nothing gave me enough incentive to actually go out of my way to create a Reddit account and go write something there, and I've been content just by reading.

And Now, There's Steemit...

One day, one of my fanfic's readers, a talented artist that goes by the nickname Ayza, commented on my fanfic. I made a deal with her to request some artwork related to my fanfic, and she sent me links to the social networks where I could find her. Among these links was her profile page for a social network I had never heard before, called Steemit.

Around since 2016 and still in beta, Steemit is basically a social network that rewards people for posting content. Users that read and enjoy a post can upvote it (similar to the "likes" on Facebook or the "upvotes" on Reddit), comment on it (it's also possible to upvote comments), and repost it so that their followers see it, which gives more visibility to the post. One week after posting, the post's author earns some "points," which are actually cryptocurrencies (similar to the well-known Bitcoin) that can be used as power to make their votes be worth more "points" inside Steemit, or converted into normal money at a few cryptocurrency exchanges. This is an oversimplified explanation, and there's much more to Steemit, but this is the basic idea. The actual details are in the Steemit FAQ.

I found the concepts interesting. The posts I came across were of good quality, and had nice and insightful comments. Steemit seemed to be a welcoming place, and did something most social networks didn't. It made me want to sign up! :P

So, I signed up. The only things they ask are an username, an e-mail address, and a cellphone number (to get a text message with a code for account validation). As with most sites that are in beta, there's a wait list. While I waited for my account to be approved, I read a few posts to learn more about how things on Steemit work. Four days later, my account was approved. Although it's not mandatory, it's customary for new users to make a self-introduction post using the "introduceyourself" tag, and try to start engaging with the community. I made one, and surprisingly, some users took the time to welcome me and give me some tips on how to use the platform. Then, I learned that there's a growing community of Brazilian people, and which is quite friendly and helpful to newbies like me.

I've come across a lot of well-written and interesting posts. I also learned about the existence of a video streaming site similar to Youtube called DTube and an audio streaming site similar to Soundcloud called DSound that use the same rewards system as Steemit. Since I have problems to find images to use as background for my occasional game music covers to post on Youtube, and Soundcloud is another site that failed to convince me to sign up, DSound might be a good option for me (it has no sign up and uses the Steemit account for login). However, DSound still has some accessibility problems - basically, the buttons don't have any text saying what they do (their functionality is represented by icons only) and visually impaired users who depend on screen readers can't know what the buttons are for -, but it's a young project with a lot of potential, and I hope it'll improve in this regard in the future. You can read the post explaining how DTube works here, and the one explaining DSound here. The posts are a bit old and many things improved in both projects, but the basic idea about how they work remain the same.

Speaking of accessibility, Steemit itself is rather accessible, and my screen reader got along with it rather well. I've run into a few small problems, but nothing that really hinders my use of the service.

Of course not all is roses on Steemit. Not every post has good quality. There is crappy content, there's people that abuse the system with spam (this is inevitable everywhere, especially when rewards with monetary value are involved), and the platform still lacks some features that would provide a better user experience. Steemit is still in beta, far from perfect, and may be complicated to learn in the beginning. But one thing that made me identify with Steemit is that the community is very helpful and writes various posts to guide new users, or to recommend ways and tools to work around the platform's shortcomings. There are various recommendations of helpful posts by users on Steemit's welcome page. Inspired by this, I also tried to do my part by writing a post about filtering posts by authors and tags (hopefully it'll be of use to someone).

So far, I'm enjoying the stay. One week in, and I got 14 followers. From their posts, I think three of them or so might be bots, but the others are real people (most of them are the ones who welcomed me in my introductory post) and are quite active in the Brazilian community. Avid social network users may laugh at this, but 14, or even 11 followers is a huge achievement to me.

Will I make money on Steemit? Honestly, considering my lack of patience with social networks and my lack of ability to promote content, I doubt it. But I'm enjoying the content, and for now, I only wish I could get a bit more STEEM POWER so that my votes would be worth more and help give more visibility to the content I like.

Will I have enough patience to continue frequenting Steemit? This, only time will tell, but I hope so!

A link to my Steemit profile is already on the sidebar, and is also below:


As much as I'd like to repost some things from this blog on there, I can't post the whole text because that would cause search engines to penalize either this blog or my Steemit blog for duplicate content. So, I'll do some experiments, alternate between posting here and linking from there, and vice versa. Let's see what happens...

Edit (13:35): wow, looks like Steemit brought in a few Twitter followers as well! The number went from 7 to 11 (11 here too? XD ) I only noticed this when I went to Twitter to publish a link to this blog post. :D

Edit (2020/10/20): in the beginning of 2020, Steemit was bought, and the direction it was headed didn't please many important community members, and the community joined forces to create a new social network called Hive. Most of the bigger apps and projects that were using Steemit, including the DSound audio streaming platform that I mentioned, migrated to Hive and are no longer on Steemit. For all these reasons, if you were thinking about signing up after reading this post, you may consider signing up to Hive instead.