What I Have Learned From My First Month on Steemit | AJ Brockman

in steemit •  3 months ago

Photo courtesy of The Atlantic Current Magazine

As some of you may have noticed I have taken the last week off from my daily posting. I have used this time to reflect and more importantly answer some important questions within myself on what this community is, why I want to be here, and what the future holds.

Why I started on Steemit in the first place.
I have been creative for as long as I can remember. I have spent my entire life trying to make a living from my art and creative passions. I have been lucky enough to bridge the gap between being creative and business, something a lot of creative people have a hard time accomplishing. Over the last 15 years I have built many creative focused businesses including an art gallery co-op/craft beer bar, a national music venue, and the revitalization of an entire arts district through gentrification of a small South Florida town. I am also devoted to helping other artists pursue their passions. Especially other artists with disabilities. However, None of that even comes close to the opportunity that Steemit brings. I have been a crypto enthusiast for the last year and found this platform through @JerryBanfield (more on that later). I was blown away from day one by the way this platform can (and will) revolutionize how creative people and content creators can make a living through their work. The true holy grail for every working artist. Is it about the money, yes, let’s all be honest here. But it’s the idea behind this platform and the thousands of like-minded individuals that support this community as a whole that is life-changing.

Photo from my documentary "Painting With One Finger"

Art Is My Life.
Long story short… I wanted to be able to post my art, and in return share a piece of me with all of you. In my opinion, as an artist, I feel it is my duty to share what I create with the world In order to invoke a certain connection, feeling, or experience, that is specifically unique to each of us. Is it slightly self-serving? I suppose in some sense. Furthermore, I think art is more about a connection with the viewer then the actual subject matter, so sharing it with the largest audience possible (on a social media platform in this case) has a huge impact. I could write an entire article on “what qualifies as art” but that is a different conversation for now.

All that being said, My art was brought into question last week (Article Here). Initially, I was pissed, as many people tried to find a way to paint me as a scammer or that I had a hidden agenda. I put up a wall and immediately got defensive, Writing it off as Internet drama. However, the more I thought about it and through many conversations, I realized that what I perceived as “attacks” was simply an opportunity for me to learn.

@nonameslefttouse expressed feeling very misled by my posts and creative process. Looking back on it now… He was 100% correct. My intent was never to mislead anyone, but I made some major mistakes being new to this platform, it’s ethics, and many other factors with my eagerness to be a part of the community. I took for granted that a lot of you would be familiar with digital art and how these pieces are created. Do I use reference photos? Yes, most artists do. Was I copying someone else’s work fraudulently, or trying to plagiarize work that was not my own? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Some of my Photoshop work was mistaken for actual photography and for that I apologize. I do not use any filters, even though some of my work appears that way. My biggest offense and the real reason my post was flagged was for misusing the tags and inappropriately categorizing. @nonameslefttouse said it perfectly “We are surrounded by scammers and It’s up to us to look BETTER than them”. That being said, you have to go above and beyond in your transparency, documenting everything you are doing in the most straightforward way possible. I never thought about it quite like this, but now I will strive to do so. I also had a great conversation with the @steemcleaners team on what I was doing wrong and how to better my content while following the best practices.

Bots… To use or not to use, that is the question.
The other elephant in the room was bot usage. Yes, I was using bots… A LOT. If I had to do it over again, I’m not sure I would change things, but I do understand the negative impact this has in a whole new light now that I have been educated. Do I regret using them? Yes. Will I be using them moving forward? Most likely not, but I’m not going to say “absolutely not” and have somebody write me months from now and say “look what you said, you lying bastard”. I think bots have their place but only for extremely important posts that need to reach the community on a grander scale. Looking back on it (especially in a bear market) I could have used that money to just buy more steempower but I would not have been able to grow my followers/views to nearly what it is, and for that I am grateful to be able to connect with all of you that I would not have been able to otherwise.

All of the most recently mentioned infractions came together in a perfect shit storm, hen I also garnered the attention of an infamous Steemit “enforcer” & his crew (he who shall not be named). He is now under the assumption I am a scammer because of all of the above-mentioned activities as well as my association with @JerryBanfield. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change his mind at this point, but, if you are reading this… I am not the person you think I am. I actually think what you do for the community comes from the right place (the way you handle it is another story). I have done a bunch of research into your history and mission the majority of which I agree with, So I hope we can be civilized with each other, especially after making changes to what your issues were with me.

On that note, I do associate with @JerryBanfield and he has become one of my dearest friends over the last few months. I find it sad that I might be called into question, just based on who I call my friends, but that is the reality of the world we live in… online or offline. I have also met some incredible people because of Jerry (partner chat, you know you are) and for that I am grateful. Sure, Jerry is eccentric, but he has a heart of gold and has done way more good for this community then bad. Does he make some impulsive decisions, maybe, but at least he acts on his ideas bringing them to life. A lot of people can’t say that. He speaks his own truth and that is admirable. The exposure he provides alone, should have all of us thanking him. I will never apologize for, nor denounce my friendships. Plain and simple. We will be moving forward with our planned South Florida meetup (under a new name and direction) so keep an eye out for that along with an update. Again, being fully transparent.

Photo from my documentary "Painting With One Finger"

My future with all of you!
I don’t plan on going anywhere, nor do I want to. I hope I was able to clear the air a bit with this. More importantly I want everyone to know I am taking all the criticism as constructively as possible. I will be doing everything in my power to be as transparent as possible moving forward. I will be providing detailed descriptions of my process, providing reference photos when possible, updating my tutorials and I am happy to answer any specific questions in the comments moving forward. I will be suspending my bot usage immediately and I will make sure to explicitly discuss any usage in the future. That means it’s as important as ever to upvote the posts you feel are worthy. Again, this entire process has been a great learning experience and didn’t realize the impact my actions had with my followers. I want to do things the “right way” moving forward because I want to be a part of this platform and community for the long haul. Your support is what matters and I appreciate each and every one of you.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  trending

good stuff man

I was hoping you'd be able to bounce back and I'm happy to see this post. I wrote about the little incident myself here. I wanted to explain my side but at the same time make an attempt to right any wrongs. I'm sure I directed some traffic your way and hopefully helped you get a few followers while you were taking a break.

It is what it is, what's done is done. Can't change anything. I can't really apologize for feeling misled and reacting the way I did but I can say I'm sorry for causing some distress in your life. My intention wasn't to hurt any feelings or whatever but I do realize now, it probably stressed you out so I do apologize for that.


Absolutely, I just read your follow-up article and commented as well. Sorry it took me a while to see it. I completely respect your actions and as I have said, this has all been a very constructive learning experience. Yes, the stress level was real, especially after losing almost 1k in rewards, But that is the price I needed to pay. Your public apology/explanation shows your true intentions and I hope we can continue sharing and learning from each other. I hope others can adopt your practices because it will make this place so much better. Thank you my friend.

Hi @abrockman, glad to see you back! I was hoping that hiccup wouldn't end up completely turning you off the platform.

I'm curious what you learned about bots though in terms of their negative impact. I've been on Steemit for about a month now and I see some people use them when they want to promote something, some don't. I've experimented with them and found in the worst case scenario I pretty much broke even(if I don't mind being paid back in SP, which I don't) in terms of payout, and each time I gain a few new followers I'm assuming from the greater exposure.

Of course I know some people abuse them by taking rewards for shit content, but if you're creating high quality content and you want to promote it, what's the problem?

From what I can see Steemit's built in Promotional section doesn't work, and the bots seem like the best band-aid until the platform comes up with better solutions for new users to grow. I don't think it's going to go anywhere if in general peoples advice is something along the lines of, you have to put several months in the hole, or just create great content and don't think about the money, etc. That's fine if your content is something that you can't make money from anywhere besides Steemit I suppose, but as a professional artist who makes all of my income from creating art in one way or another working for free is not really an option. I don't mean that to say I'm too good for that blah, blah, I mean I literally cannot afford to spend time making art that's not going to make me any money.

I think a lot of the artists here are doing what I'm doing ie posting mostly older work and something new every now and then, but the dream would be to be able to make enough money on Steemit to have it replace some of the other work I need to do to pay bills etc.

So my question to you and anyone else who wants to chime in is what's so bad about bots?


Hello again, @midlet.

I'm a digital artist. Have a look at my blog someday. I haven't used promotion bots. I've been a member here since September 2016. In that time I've been able to build up a nice pile of SP(20000+), all earned. There could be a bit more, but I took some out and reinvested elsewhere.

Have a look at my followers. 2665 as of this writing. I don't do anything other than post and leave a few comments laying around on other blogs. These followers just show up, slowly. Have a look at the rewards beside my posts. I didn't pay for that. Roughly 25% of that goes to curators, the rest is mine. It's been a bit slow lately, but I'll get 100-200 views per post and more when things are going well. I don't buy those views. All of what you see, I worked for, and it took a long time.

Let's look at @abrockman's blog now. He has been going all out using bots for a month now. Anyone who's anyone saw his posts. He nearly has as many followers as me. 2286 as of this writing. All of that money spent purchasing "exposure" helped him get a lot of followers. He didn't use bots for this post, so far. Majority of his previous posts, he did use bots. Lot's of money beside those posts. Look at this post. As of this writing, $3.58. As of this writing, 58 views, 37 votes. If I removed my vote with 20000 SP behind it, his payout would drop to about 70 cents. I put majority of that money there, as of this writing, with one vote.

That's what happens to nearly everyone who buys the votes. You can buy your friends but they're not necessarily going to have your back. A high number of followers doesn't pay people here. Votes that we don't pay for, pay us.

When new members see hundreds of dollars beside a post on the trending page, they think the post is there because it is popular. They don't know there's a chance the slot was purchased by someone using bots. They think the blogger is successful, they want to know them, they want to follow with the hopes of getting a follow back, but their votes are worth pennies, if that. I just picked ten random followers from brockman's list. Every single one of them was broke, no money in those wallets, no SP. They can't support an artist who wants to make money. You'd need over 100 of their votes to make a dollar.

Another problem we have is how the reward pool works. Everyone shares that. Our votes push and pull it around. If I were to purchase $300 worth of that reward pool, that's how much I'm taking away from everyone else without their consent. That's the part I personally have a huge issue with. Have you ever noticed your payouts drop in value? That's one of two things. The value of the tokens dropping, or the reward pool being pulled away from you. If I vote for someone, I move about $3 dollars of that reward pool to the post I feel deserves it. When others vote for me, they too move the reward pool my way. I don't decide how much I earn, the people do. I'm comfortable with that, I believe it's fair. I personally feel it would be incredibly selfish of me to decide MY post is better than all the others and deserves a huge chunk of the reward pool beside it. That's just my opinion.

Steemit is a new game. The old ways don't necessarily work here. My advice to you, after looking at your blog is this: People don't want to follow ART. There are literally millions of images to look at on this platform. They want to follow the ARTIST. I add a lot of my personality into my posts, I entertain people, plus they look at my art.

You said:

I think a lot of the artists here are doing what I'm doing ie posting mostly older work and something new every now and then

Incorrect. I work hard and show something new in nearly every post. I recently put all of my work from the previous two months of posting into one post. Just to focus only on the art. If I would have been thinking, maybe, that post should have been the post I actually promoted up to the trending page. I can agree, there is a time and a place for promotions. One epic post every couple of months or even once a month if you have a lot to show wouldn't be a bad idea at all. At least that way I'm being fair and I'm not cutting in line, putting all of the artists under me while slowly putting them out of business... which is what people are doing when they buy the votes.

P.S. Your recent post has $25 dollars beside it. You paid for some of that. Does the $25 dollars make the post stand out above the other posts with $25 next to them? .... you guys are just shooting yourself in the foot. Pardon my honesty.


Hi @nonameslefttouse,

First off, thanks for the detailed reply, I was actually hoping you'd chime in since you seemed the most vocal on this. I know it takes time to write all that and I appreciate you giving me your honest feedback.

So a bit of context, after the whole episode here, I did look at your blog, your wallet, the whole nine. Saw your followers, payout history, etc. I also read the previous exchange you'd had with @abrockman(although not until after my post).

So I'm just going to use you vs abrockman because we're both familiar with this for example's sake. What I can observe is:

  • You've been here a long time, he's fairly new
  • You don't buy any votes, and he does
  • Despite the time difference you guys have around the same amount of followers
  • You're being upvoted by people with a lot of SP and his are from Minnows/Plankton
  • In terms of profit you're typically making more than he is per post once you subtract what he spent promoting as of now, but he's gaining followers at a faster rate.

So then there are things that you're saying that I can't really observe like:

  • The idea that you not paying for promotion is correlated to the fact that people upvoting your posts have more SP.
  • The idea that all or most followers that you'd get from being on the Trending page will be worth very little.

The top section is observable and there's no need to comment on that, but the others I feel like you could be drawing false conclusions. Basically there are a lot more variables at play that could be influencing these things and there's not really any way to tie this to paying for promotion, at least not that I can see.
I think using the performance of this one post with 3 tags and no art might be premature to gauge whether the followers that abrockman received while promoting his posts will be composed of only people with low SP, but I sort of feel like that's not that important anyway.

Basically the way I see it, Steemit is in it's infancy and the VAST majority of people using it have low SP. So it makes sense that most of anyone's followers are going to have low SP, it also makes sense that for people that have been on here longer would have more exposure for people with more SP because they too have been here longer. But if this platform is going to grow that means people who are minnows now will eventually level up with the platform, so I don't see followers that have low value now as worthless. If I gain a loyal follower who is genuinely interested in my work, that's not a waste.
Also if the only way to make descent money here is to garner the favor of whales and dolphins I think the platform won't survive. I think the future of Steemit is the power being more distributed, and I think that might be one disconnect point for us. I'm not trying to get rich quick here. I think it has a lot of potential in the long run, but I think it still has a lot of growing up to do. I think the devs are on it so I'm still pretty optimistic though.
So I know I maybe just rambled a lot, but the main bullet point I'd want to communicate to you with that is for me, and I may be wrong, but I think with @abrockman my initial purpose here wouldn't be to make as much money as possible, I'd rather grow my audience as much as possible. I could be wrong in that thinking, but we won't know for a few years until things develop more. So with that I think promoting posts so that people can actually see them is not a waste.

I also want to comment on the idea that you personally think that using bid bots is morally not so great.

I of course respect your right to feel that way, but I don't.
I would need to see some real numbers and data to see just how malleable the reward pool is, but my hunch is that you can say when someone uses bid bots they're "moving the reward pool", but I think it's like saying when you drop a penny in a swimming pool you're "moving the water". While it's technically correct, at the micro level it's insignificant to the big picture. I know there are a ton of sites and apps for gathering analytics from Steemit, and if you have some actual numbers to validate that position, I'd love to check them out and learn more.

I couldn't find the stat I came across at one point but it basically showed that some ridiculous number like over 80% of the reward pools rewards were dished out by bid bots. If that's accurate and we as a community and the Steemit devs together don't want things to be that way, it has to be handled at the systemic level. ie Them designing a promotion system that works better than the current one.

Every platform that allows users to share content has a promotional system where you can get more exposure by paying. If I'm selfish for using that system, then so is a huge percentage of Steemit.

I think your advice to me about my posts are totally right. I'm not that great at it right now, but I'll be trying to get better. Looking at your blog I can see instantly that you're engaging people and that's obviously really valuable and more interesting than just posting a picture and a sentence or two. I hear you for sure.

So as I mentioned before, I'm still mostly experimenting with the bots, so for me what does that look like? I'm wondering what's the least amount I can spend and land on trending and how long will I be there for x amount of SBD, I'm wondering are there any cases where I will have a drastically low ROI, considering how many new followers I received and how many of them are real vs people trying to sell me resteem services etc. So to answer your question, no, what I've learned is that to make the promotion worth it, you have to spend more. As I mentioned, with a small promotion like that you don't really take a loss, but I've learned you don't really gain anything either since it's not enough to land you on trending. It did land on Hot though. It's all just experimentation at this point. I've been here less than a month so still feeling things out.

So with all that rambling you'd think I was a huge advocate for bid bots, but I'm actually not, but I'm also not super against them either, and I was just wondering why some people were.

Sorry this is so long, and thanks a lot if you've read all this!

So in closing, I've had 2 posts reach the trending page. One organically and one I bought, of course it's great to reach it organically but the only reason it did was because of one big upvote from a whale, and while of course I appreciate that support, I don't think that's sustainable for Steemit. If the platform grows to have tens of millions of users there won't be enough whales, the power will have to be more distributed and having more followers WILL matter. Or I could be totally wrong and fail utterly haha, but I have to follow my own thinking just like you're following yours. I think it's really awesome that you've done as well as you have on here and it's definitely an inspiration. If I fail to see results doing something a certain way I'll definitely change. We'll see how things go.


But if this platform is going to grow that means people who are minnows now will eventually level up with the platform, so I don't see followers that have low value now as worthless. If I gain a loyal follower who is genuinely interested in my work, that's not a waste.

No, the people aren't worthless. Their votes simply don't amount to much. Not everyone grows either. It's not a waste, I never said a waste. You can have a look around someday. You might notice quite a few people with thousands of followers, no votes on their work, no views. You saw my blog, you noticed I don't treat my followers like a statistic. Majority of them leave with more money than they had when they arrived. I value those people. Using tricks and shortcuts doesn't work.

Also if the only way to make descent money here is to garner the favor of whales and dolphins I think the platform won't survive. I think the future of Steemit is the power being more distributed, and I think that might be one disconnect point for us. I'm not trying to get rich quick here. I think it has a lot of potential in the long run, but I think it still has a lot of growing up to do. I think the devs are on it so I'm still pretty optimistic though.

If a whale or dolphin enjoys your work, you'll get paid. I didn't kiss anyone's ass. Many of those who vote for me started with nothing as well. We built each other up. Even those votes on comments go a long way. It's teamwork. Find your people, hang out, we're allowed to have rich friends just as much as we can poor friends. We're all people. Bots aren't people. You're an artist. You need views. Bots can't see.

Distribution: If we have 10 bots and majority of the people pay 10 accounts and they're only breaking even that means you're not growing, but those 10 accounts are growing. They earn thousands of dollars per day. Just have a look at their wallets. You're placing that much potential SP into 10 accounts. How is that spreading out the wealth? That's paving the road for centralization.

I couldn't find the stat I came across at one point but it basically showed that some ridiculous number like over 80% of the reward pools rewards were dished out by bid bots. If that's accurate and we as a community and the Steemit devs together don't want things to be that way, it has to be handled at the systemic level. ie Them designing a promotion system that works better than the current one.

Here's an easier way to promote something.
I didn't pay a dime. I'm on the internet using a combination of a publishing tool, words, and fun. Look at the numbers on that post. I took on the role of advertiser, I got paid like an advertiser. I suppose it's just easier to buy a vote or two, sit back, wait? Take action. It works better. Don't leave it up to someone else.

Also, get involved with the community. Look for artists. Some hold interesting competitions and contests or they collaborate. You have the ability to put your names wherever the hell you want. That's free advertising. Make friends. They'll vote for you. Do you use Facebook? Don't answer these questions. How many friends you got on there? How many out of that group actually support your status updates? How many do you actually talk to? If you do something crazy, notice how more people come out to play? Man, I got 265 views on that post where I mentioned Brockman. I watched his following grow while he was gone. All I did was mention his name. You can use your bots all you want but if you want solid results you get out there flyer the parking lot. Pretend you're a street artist in a park or a busker. They don't pay people to come and watch them. People walk by and drop money. It's a new game. ... now I'm rambling.

Dude, I had to put the coffee on to be able to respond to this. I'm tired. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I realize I sent a wall of text, and got one back. Oops. These are tough to respond to. Enjoy the vote. Time is money around here. Remember, this is just my opinion.


Thanks man! I appreciate it :) Also I feel like we can talk about this for quite a while, but I don't want to take up too much of your time or hijack @abrockmans post any more than I have. Also I can't figure out how to add the quotes like you're doing, so this reply won't look as cool as yours haha.

So let me just define what using a bot means to me: You pay to have your work shown in the trending and Hot Sections, and depending on how much you pay, for how long. Period, that's all.

It doesn't dictate how you treat your followers, you could have an amazing community or be an absentee poster, but that has nothing to do really with bots. These things aren't mutually exclusive.

Some of my best friends are rich ;p Hey man, I'm not a wealth bigot either, if a whale likes my stuff that's awesome too. The only thing using bots does is increases my chances of reaching them in the first place.

This is why I said bots are a good band-aid, I don't think it's a long term solution either, but the only way people aren't going to use them are if

  • They're not allowed
  • They're ineffective

And they are effective at doing what I defined above.

Lastly on your last point, again you could do this and promote it and all the promotion would do is allow more people to see it.

Its not like anyone who uses bots cares about the bot upvote. Using @abrockman as an example, typically he'd have over 300 upvotes, like 6 of those are bots, the other several hundred are fans. Fans that would have never seen his post had he not promoted it. Just like this post, I'm following abrockman, but this post didn't show up in my feed. I just searched his name because I was wondering what he'd been up to. I think that's the perfect example of why promoting can be valuable.

Now none of this means you should NOT do all the things you're mentioning above, I think you can and in some cases should do both. Just as you mentioned in your fist post that sometimes you might do an extra special post that you really want people to see, those are the ones worth promoting. At least that's my opinion so far. As I mentioned, a small amount of SBD won't make a difference and a post that you haven't put much time into won't get that much attention anyway, but if you put the work in and make something you think is awesome, I can only see promoting that post as bettering your chances of people seeing it.

This ended up being long again, sorry, anyway, thanks for the upvote, it was good chatting about this with you. It seems like such a taboo subject like a kid brother locked in the attic that everyone knows is there, but people don't like to talk about, haha.


@midlet & @nonameslefttouse, This may be the most content-rich comment dialogue I have ever seen. I appreciate you guys having this conversation here for all to see.

First off, @midlet, it's good to hear from you. I remember you "coming to my rescue" if you will, When this original post was under fire. As a fellow digital artist and just from the way you communicate I see so much of myself in you.

In the book that you wrote above ;) those are all the exact feelings and thought processes I had. I was trying to leverage my SBD into more exposure and essentially make money in more SP. However, it really isn't that simple. I went a little crazy and had almost 3k invested into bots promoting my posts over the last month. A lot of that was rolled over into the most current seven days. By then there was so much money "on the line" that the risk did not even come close to the reward. Because it takes seven days for our reward payout, that money could have easily been down voted or flaged (Totally plausible mind you), resulting in a complete loss of all those funds. For the most part, once that happens you are shit out of luck fighting to get that back. If you paid for those votes (which I did), rather than just getting them from generous whales (nothing out-of-pocket), it would quickly make you consider suck starting a pistol.

In the beginning, I did not fully realize the risk to reward ratio. Also, @nonameslefttouse mentioned it briefly, but there is a reward "slippage". By the time the reward pool is distributed, you take out the 25% curating reward, and the market price per coin falling you are in the hole big time. Also, take a look at your pending payout a few minutes before it is paid, it drops another 20% usually, furthering my point. Trust me, I thought I had a perfect system, but putting that money into actual SP may have been a better move. The only "saving grace" is the amount of followers gained. That is indisputable and very hard to assess a value to. Maybe that alone makes it worth it in using bots? The system definitely needs some fixing and until that happens I am treading very lightly.

It took me a long time to really think about all of this, analyze, calculate and realize the true wisdom @nonameslefttouse was giving me. I would listen to everything he mentioned above and really focus on what he said in a previous post – "Rather than making people pay for attention, let's go back to paying attention to them."

@midlet, is 100% correct that for artists time is money… So it's difficult to continue to post great content with little rewards for months on end. But I guess that also determines who deserves to be here? @nonameslefttouse made the most epic analogy : We are like street performers hoping to garner enough attention to have someone drop a vote in our proverbial hat. It is up to us to have enough hustle to fill that hat up.

If all of us here stick together and help educate others (especially minnows) about what's really going on behind the scenes I think we will all be paid/rewarded enough to be able to focus our time sharing on this platform.


Hi @abrockman,

It's good to hear from you as well. I'm also glad we were able to talk about this here.

So I think what you mentioned above is the ACTUAL best argument against using bots, and that's that someone can just come and downvote you and you can lose everything you have invested. That's pretty scary, and I feel a bit of a problem platform wise.

In this case, there was a presumed justification for the downvote and flagging of your post even though it was more of just a misunderstanding. But that doesn't guarantee that someone couldn't just downvote you because they don't like you or for some other arbitrary reason.

That's why I think this is a bit of an issue with the platform and your situation really put a spotlight on it to me. In this case you lost money, but as you mentioned time is money also, if I spent a couple of week working hard on something and it was doing well, theoretically someone can just come along and remove all or most of the reward I receive arbitrarily. A lot of people have turned to Dtube because they don't like the fact that Google can just remove your content or demonetize it and there's nothing you can do about it, but your situation made it clear to me that on Steemit, other USERS could potentially do that. Obviously that's not what happened here, but it just opened my eyes to the possibility, since what I observed here was that you were accused, judged and punished within a matter of hours, before you even had a chance to defend yourself. Plus as you so eloquently put it, once that happens, you're shit out of luck.

Anyway, both you guys have schooled me on a lot of stuff and I appreciate it. Keep doing your thing man! One day this upvote will be worth more than a penny haha :)


Just to follow up a tiny bit on the progress with this post.

The value and views have increased. No bots/paid for votes were used. Over 200 views now. Nearly $30 value. The post was resteemed by @jerrybanfield. He has over 32000 followers on this platform. That's why this post is doing better now, plus Jerry voted on it and he's got some power behind that vote. That's community. These guys know each other, they're helping each other out. It's out in the open and there's nothing wrong with that. We see results and it didn't cost anyone a dime.

Jerry's account is a good example for you to have a look at some time. 32000+ followers. I believe his most recent post as of this writing has about 132 views as of this writing. About $71 value with 727 votes as of this writing. Most of that value came from Dsound. That account has a high powered vote and offers it as an incentive so people use the platform. It's a free vote. Dtubers get one too. Steemit members... we don't get anything like that.

Remember, you said this:

but the dream would be to be able to make enough money on Steemit to have it replace some of the other work I need to do to pay bills etc.

You want to make money and I don't blame you one bit. That's what artists do, it's normal.

Catching minnows just to pad stats and gain a large following might seem like a wise decision on the surface. People spend money to get that. It's an investment for the future, they think. They're not getting results. I'm showing what I consider evidence to back me up as well. These minnows see the trending page, they see all that money, the look at what they're earning, they quit. Most don't even realize the money was purchased. Most don't even know people like me(there are lot of us) exist.

You see a school of minnows swimming in the pond, you dip that net in, most of them get away, you catch a few, some die unfortunately(leave the platform/lose interest). Minnows only grow to a small size in real life. They can't feed you for an extended period of time. Catch a few recently hatched fish, let them grow, let them reproduce, it takes time, maintain it, take care of them, and that will keep your stomach full for a long time. It's not easy though. My approach was one of the most challenging things I've ever done in my life. People don't seem to want that challenge. They want to skip it. Someone comes along and says they'll make it easier for you. What's the catch? There's always a catch. They want you to pay for it, but their solution doesn't seem to be working.

For me, watching so many take that so-called easy road while forfeiting their future... it's hard for me to watch. It's hard for me to watch hard working members here who EARNED their keep get bumped down the trending page by someone who feels like cutting in line. I'm watching people I've known for months fall off the map. The one's putting them out of business aren't even earning money, they're just trying to hog the spotlight.

I've become so frustrated that I am now losing interest. Everything I worked for seems to getting flushed down the toilet. Even this reputation number beside my name used to mean something. I earned it. Now people just come along and buy it. All that work means nothing.

I don't even know why I'm telling you all this shit. I'm supposed be on break. I've been trying to take a break for over a month. I'm stressed out. Much of what I said is contributing to that. I can't perform and I'm just turning into an asshole. Morale is low all over the place. ... I'm done talking.


Hey @nonameslefttouse,
I hope you know I hear you and I do see the problem. I was just over at your blog actually reading maybe it was your most recent? The asshole one, haha.

So after listening to you as well as @abrockman, I think I've been pushed a bit more in your direction. With my personal beef being how much good shit is getting pushed down because someone is "Hogging" the Trending top spots. I still don't have that much of an issue if you promote a post just to get it on there. Sometimes you can pour your heart and soul into something and get less than 10 VIEWS, especially when you're new.

But when one user with content that is of questionable quality, I say that because different people find value in different stuff, one mans garbage...you know the rest, has like 4 spots on trending for days at a time, that just makes trending useless, and of course, that's a problem.

I saw one of your proposed solutions; detecting when people are using bots and moving them over to promoted, but I think the hole in that is that any user can promote any post, so someone else could get you sent to promoted section. I think differentiating between those two is probably technically very difficult in terms of development.

So yea, I dunno dude, take some solace in that you moved me from "Bots are A okay!" to "Bots are okay for a special post but even then, don't overdo it"

*Edit: I forgot I wanted to ask you, the great equalizer here is supposed to be the downvote right? If you see someone on Trending and you REALLY don't think they should be, why not bring out the downvotes?


Downvotes. Some of those downvotes on trending right now are from me. Someone abused those bots to write a post to tell people they were about to write a post. That's on trending. I had thought I'd seen it all... That's the "asshole" and he's putting on quite the show. New minnows think he's a VIP. The rest of us are just shaking our heads.




"Sometimes you can pour your heart and soul into something and get less than 10 VIEWS" and boohoo all round I am sure. The question life is asking you when you are not a winner is: what are you really doing this for.
the answer to that is probably the most important part of your relationship to your own creativity and maybe your reason for being.
the journey imo is bigger than just to win, it is to live and die and disappear ultimately as if you never existed at all. looking at it from that perspective is , again imo, the best way.
when it is meaningless, pointless, and no one will see it or give a shit, but you do it anyway, that is when art becomes spirituality and the value makes sense. all the shiz you guys are talking about is the bollocks associated to the industry and selling and the fickle assessment of worth based on the numbers of opinions that say it has worth. but again just...imo. but I enjoyed reading this conversation after the posts of emptiness that abound around steemit.


and at the end of the day if someone is promoting their product, then they are promoting their product.
its an issue a lot of artists fail to acknowledge about their own behaviour believing their way is the integral one and shooting down others, and I often feel that is caught up in self-reflection issues more than the reality. All artists want for acknowledgement.

but often it also involves taking swipes at other artists success, while maintaining an aloof drama or playing it cool and holding up their own integrity as the correct one in comparison, while actually they are pushing their product just the same really. creatives are all in the sales business, or they are not but there is no in-between. if your stuff is out there its there for a reason and if it is out there, then by default its in ''the game''. and the old cliche is tired but true enough, if you dont play the game it will play you.

it is often tough to see beahviour in ourselves and this tug of war on opinions often goes with the territory, and to be clear I am not saying that is what is happening in this case, but just that it made me think of it while reading this post.

Thanks for sharing your story

AJ thank you very much for sharing your experience with us here to help us all learn!

@nonameslefttouse I am happy to see your conversation about this and am resteeming to help more of us see it!


Thank you Jerry, I think there is a lot to learn from this… Especially in the comments, some of the best dialogue I have seen yet on the bot situation. Always appreciate your efforts my friend.


Hey Jerry. I said a few more things. I can't keep talking about it. I don't know why but this stuff stresses me out. Well, I do know why, I just don't want to talk about it.

I'd just like to apologize. In the past I approached you about a few things in your comment section. I realize my personality when I'm being serious can be a bit much for some people. I don't think you enjoyed how I handled that. If I got under your skin, I apologize. I gotta go...

You pushed me to paint different subjects. As I normally paint landscapes. Her is your handy work.
Thank you for inspiring me. We all have to learn from our mistakes. I wish you well.

Always try your best!

Hey Brock, I think people misunderstood your intentions, itakes some time to find your bearings on this platform. I'm almost two month in and still trying to find a productive balance. Keep posting, telling your story and finding allies. I'm sure you can be succesful here. Good luck and best wishes 🤙🏽


Thank you sir! Yes, it was never my intention to mislead… My process does appear similar to Photoshop filters (Even though it isn't) and I should have been a lot more forthcoming with my process, even though it is hard work. In situations like this you truly find your supporters and for that I am grateful. Appreciate your feedback.

Great to be running on Steem with you brother @abrockman! Awesome article, and you've got my 100% upvote, lol. You're inspiring, my friend!


Thanks Doc! I feel the same about you brother, I am inspired by your musical talents. Its experiences like this that help us all grow together.

Hey man, I had no idea this happened, but hey we live and learn! Honestly, after watching that video on your process I was blown away...I can tell how much time and effort goes into the creation of your digital paintings. You're crushing it, and inspiring people at the same time, so keep it up. Just my two cents, but you're a hell of an artist in my book.


Thanks brother! Yes, I thought my video would help people understand the process a little bit better but I need to include that with everything I post. Appreciate your kind words and continued support. Will be posting more soon. Thanks again!

really you write this friend, can change human life to be creative, thanks for sharing @abrockman, you are a kind person.

I think steem it could be a good why for people with disabilities to earn iincome . I first started as a just a blogger but i thought about creating digital art to go along my blogs .


Agreed 100%, that is going to be a future initiative of mine I can guarantee you that! It could be life-changing for so many.

lovely to read this post.. thanks a lot!

All of the most recently mentioned infractions came together in a perfect shit storm, hen I also garnered the attention of an infamous Steemit “enforcer” & his crew (he who shall not be named). He is now under the assumption I am a scammer because of all of the above-mentioned activities as well as my association with @JerryBanfield. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change his mind at this point, but, if you are reading this… I am not the person you think I am. I actually think what you do for the community comes from the right place (the way you handle it is another story). I have done a bunch of research into your history and mission the majority of which I agree with, So I hope we can be civilized with each other, especially after making changes to what your issues were with me.
dont worry about crazy people or what anyone says! never waste time trying to change them.. WE know who you are! Just be yourself.. You know the truth and who cares what others think. There will ALWAYS be a critic in the room!

Yes, I agree… Like I said, this is something we have to deal was both online and off-line. A part of human nature. Thank you for your support as always my friend :)

Nice to see you back.


LOL… Amen

Nice to see you working through things in order to always persue your art and push yourself forwards! Using negative inlets as an outlet to make your creativity grow is amazing and something sought for!
What's is your bar/ restraunts name in Florida? My family and I are from Illinois and travel to Florida to see family member at times! We would love to visit your bar if we are traveling through the area!
Have a a great day and keep Steeming On!


Sounds like a plan! If you're ever up towards Bloomington, Illinois and like Mexican as much as we do, stop by Taqueria El Porton! Best Mexican around, and it helps that the in-laws own the business! We love seeing people come up with creative fun places to eat and drink at! One day our Food Truck will be open and we'll be crusin' for some amazing taste-buds! Love seeing you succeed through life, and look forward to hitting more goals to come! Have a great one, dude! Stay awesome!


Thank you for your support! I agree, I feel I have grown tremendously from this. I have built my life on turning negatives into positives and it's funny how that translates here as well. The name of my bar is "The Brewhouse Gallery" you can check it out here. Let me know If you plan on coming by and maybe we can catch up.

Loved this little gem:

“We are surrounded by scammers and It’s up to us to look BETTER than them”.

Fantastic content

The most shocking thing in this post, for me, is that someone could think that being friendly with @jerrybanfield is a bad thing. Boggles my mind after following him for the last couple of months. Perhaps a recent posting about the real Jerry Banfield affronted their sensibilities. 😎


LOL… Well, that post certainly would cause an interesting first impression. However, I think the majority of it comes from Jerry's popularity here. Once you get to a certain level, The haters will surface no matter what you are doing. It is up to us to form our own opinions on each other and associate with the ones that try to further our values… Above all adding to the value of this platform and what we all would like to see it accomplish. Jerry is the epitome of all of that.


Jerry is the epitome of all of that

100% in agreement.

A good read.

I am very new to Steemit, just beginning to start visiting regularly. I got a bit phased by a post on ethics which seemed to be a little too, well, strict. This is very new territory however, a reward system that is true genius (IMHO). There are going to be some very novel problems I expect in how the system is used, I have been thinking a lot about what could come up. Still, after a while I began to think we won't really properly understand these problems until we dive in and get involved, so I resolved to do just that. You openly admit to making some mistakes, and we can all learn from those mistakes, so thanks for sharing your experiences.


Thank you for your awesome feedback. This was the goal in sharing. The best way to learn is by making your own mistakes and failures, but I hope this has givin' you some insight. As you said, the more involved you are, the more there is to learn. I have given you a follow and look forward to seeing you around.


Thanks for the follow, followed you back!

All I can say is wow. You have achieved some serious traction in a month.

I read this with the intention of learning from your experience as well. I'm glad that I did. I am sorry for what happened to you but know that this post has helped a minnow like me to place things in perspective. Thank you, @abrockman!


Really happy to hear you were able to learn something from this experience, that makes it worthwhile! I have given you a follow and if you ever need advice I would be happy to help. Thank you for your comment and support.


Oh my, thank you! Followed you too. I'm looking forward to learning more from you 😁

Thanks for sharing this, i find it very inspirationnal as i'm also in a hard place from my health and physical condition. I hope you the best, and your art is amazing ^^


I am happy to connect with you… I look forward to many more posts on your project/game as well :)

You embody "INSPIRATION".
I completed my first month here on February 24th and you have touched my heart with your talents and even more than that by being who you are.
I opened your Post called "Going Home" and what I discovered was just beyond words. The post was amazing but when I discovered the artist behind the painting I was just awestruck to say the least.
Hope to be a silent witness to your journey here on Steemit.

Resonating 100% with your words @abrockman. Glad to have you back on the platform with new ideas and a new vision 🙏🏼

this probably helps me a lot

Your story is very inspiring.!

es bueno tener la determinacion de hacer lo que uno le gusta y si la mantienes se te presentan estas oportunidades como steemit

I'm so sad that you got dragged into drama here.

interesting post here. the dillemma of the modern digital age is not a new one but it is intense. this is the same issue musicians faced selling to A&R men and dealing with the industry.
I love the honesty shared here by @Abrockman as well as @nonameslefttouse . What is apparent and, true enough from personal experience, with the question of integrity in any creative industry it isn't what you do, but how you do it.
Both of you clearly maintain integrity to your art forms but are clearly also willing to use different roads to present them. I no longer see the argument. nothing really is that sacred, we just believe so at the time. the world will do what the world will do regardless. If one person feels qualified by not using bots, while another feels qualified to use them, at the end of the day all that really matters is the quality of the art. The rest is pretty much subjective, but then an argument could be made for the quality of the art being subjective too.
Anyway great post, probably the first one with real feeling I have seen on here in days of posting and trawling steemit trying to understand what the fk it actually is about, and if anything real lies beyond the steem