I have read multiple discussions online comparing Medium and Steem. Most of the articles generally make it seem like it’s Medium v. Steem. While that might be true in some contexts I personally feel that there are multiple areas where they play a complimentary role to each other. It is for this reason that I felt happy while reading the first official blog by steemit on medium by Andrew Levine where he says that the Steemit team have huge respect towards Medium and team for the work they have done.
The common things
Both the entities (for the lack of better word that addresses both) are trying to do the following.
- Reimagine a sustainable publishing model.
- Grow communities.
Yes, they might be taking different approaches but these two things are critical to both the efforts.
Medium : The Good parts
- Has both free and gated content.
- There are no ads.
- Great editor for writer.
- Great reading experience for readers.
- Pays authors based on the engagement their articles create.
- Gives more preference to read time, read ratio and fans. In short engagement decides the pay out which is good.
- Users can bookmark the stories they like.
- Is good at curating. Uses both in person editors and algorithms.
- Has publications features where authors can submit their articles to publications. Both publications and authors stand to gain.
- The suggestion engine is good. Whenever I visit my feeds page I read at-least one article.
- If the articles are curated by Medium team then there is a good amplification which helps you reach your articles to a wide audience.
Medium : The Bad parts
- Annoying popups that keeps asking users to register.
- Medium is trying to push too many articles behind the gated walls these days.
- Non members can read a max of three gated articles.
- Supports the authors only from those countries which Stripe supports. This leaves majority of people out of the reach of Medium Partner Program.
- Payments are done on a weekly basis and sometimes there are delays.
- The exact algorithm used for payments is opaque.
- Medium is not compensating the publications well.
- Since Medium runs its own publications there is a conflict of interest. Recently Hackernoon and freeCodeCamp migrated out of Medium.
Steem : An Introduction
Since you are reading this on Medium I assumed that you knew enough about Medium, so I skipped the intro. As many of you are not aware of Steem here is the short intro.
Steem : The Good parts
- It is a blogging system built on a blockchain.
- All content is free and open.
- All content is censorship resistant.
- Steem is the actual blockchain (the real backend). Steemit.com is just one front end for Steem. Steem is more like a “Content-based Operating System.” Steemit.com is just one application built on this OS. There are multiple front ends like busy.org and steempeak. For example you can read the post “Steemit Now Posting on Medium.com” on steemit, busy or steempeak websites. You can think of all these websites as different frontend interfaces for the same backend called Steem. Even if one website is down the content can be read from other sites.
- Rewards are paid in cryptocurrencies. You can choose to get paid in STEEM (The native currency of the Steem blockchain) or Steem Blockchain Dollars or SBD (A stable currency on the Steem blockchain).
- If you believe in the future of the project, you can vest your stake which gives you additional influence. Once you vest your tokens you get Steem Power which gives you more influence over who gets rewarded. For example your upvotes on any article will give more rewards to the author compared to somebody with less Steem Power. In short you can influence how the weekly rewards pool is distributed.
- If you don’t have free time you can delegate your Steem Power to people or projects that you feel are worthy.
- Since the Steem blockchain is one of the most advanced in the world, these cryptocurrencies transferred in real time with zero fees.
- It is decentralized. Though Steemit is driving the development you can always air your views and built Steems that have alternate vision. If you are really keen you can become a witness which will give you more say in deciding the direction of the blockchain.
- There are multiple apps that are being built on Steem blockchain. All of these apps make use of the Steem blockchain for content curation and rewards mechanism. You can check a list of all the popular apps here https://steemapps.com/
- Smart Media Tokens are due in couple of months. This lets individual publishers and communities to create their own tokens to make their communities more engaging.
Steem : The Bad parts
- Content discovery is a major problem.
- The UI is not very intuitive.
- The notification system is missing.
- The content recommendation algorithms are not present.
- steemit.com has started showing ads which are starting to to feel irritating.
- There is no concept of publications on medium. So it is difficult for new and budding authors to gain visibility. If you want to see publications on Steem take this survey, I am planning to work on this as a personal project.
- There are bidding bots and vote buy bots which are being misused.
- Circle Jerking : People form groups and automate voting each other.
- Sometime it feels like Wild West.
Best of both?
If you went through the last four sections I am sure that you would have realised that there are some areas which medium is doing very well and in some other areas steem is doing well. So it would be great if they start playing a complimentary role to each other.
Steem on Medium
It will be great if Medium can consider steem reward system for their payouts.
Medium on Steem
Steem can easily copy the editor, minimalistic design, bookmarks and more importantly the publications feature from medium.
What are your thoughts?