It's not surprising that education is your biggest hurdle at present. Education, community building, and marketing are all key pieces when it comes to launching a normal tech product, that many people initially undervalue. With web monetization and cryptocurrency, thats a whole world that many people don't understand yet. I might have thought it was too good to be true too, had my Master's advisor not nudged me in the direction of Grant for the Web. And if I had't already been interacting with you and Mateo, xumm would have likely made me very nervous.
I am glad I joined gfam and am enjoying exploring the space.
A few things I've noticed in my first few days there, which are growing hurdles:
I will share gFam in a few of travel media groups and see if I can entice a few to try it out, as there are some good photographers there and people who are use to sharing a story.
Also when I get to the stage of building an open educational course on web monetization - which won't be for a few months, I will be sure to share gfam in there.
Thanks Erica! This is absolutely incredible feedback! Thank you so much for taking the time and putting in the effort (both here and on the site itself).
I'm really glad you've joined too and we've obviously got to get a lot better at that education piece.
We've actually got notifications coming... we're hoping to unleash them on the world next week.... but I completely agree about the lack of engagement. We're also launching the ability to tip comments and I'll be holding weekly prizes for 'most support comments' etc to help build that side up.
The selfie situation is something I've been working on. I've been actively seeking out story tellers to try and entice them to supplement their current social media strategies with gFam. My hope is that once people see that people providing valuable content getting more attention (views, follows, comments, tips) then that will encourage people to create and share the art bubbling inside of them rather than just doing the bare minimum. I've been tipping everyone who puts in some effort on the site, but eventually this will wind down as more story tellers join.
Amazing feedback about the thumbnails, I honestly hadn't given it any thought before. We are also launching User Profiles which will also have bigger thumbnails for previous posts so it'll be interesting to see how users relate, and if that means we'll need to change up the feed. Totally open to the idea I just hadn't considered it at all.
Thank you again for everything you've been helping with... hopefully together we'll build a fairer, more creative world!
My pleasure, Adam. Telling stories interactively is my world, and I love contributing to ideas in shaping newer platforms, when I know the team behind is open to those ideas.
Coming from a media perspective, the thumbnail size is important, as it is people's first impression on the platform, and as the platform is about photo storytelling, it is important for the photos to standout. That piece is part of what will entice photographers in.
And thank you. I've been learning a lot from you about the whole crypto verse.
Absolutely. Now that you've mentioned the thumbnail size, it really does make sense. I don't necessarily want gFam to be all about the image, but you're totally right that it needs to entice people into clicking on the post.
You've very welcome! The crypto verse is super exciting and potentially world-changing, but as you've said, education is key.
Agreed. For me, the best communities are those where it has a true community feel to it, where people are interacting and taking an interest in each other, and where they can share their creativity and stories through both imagery and written word.
Getting interest already in the travel media groups I've shared the posts in this morning. One question I received from a nature photographer was, "is gFam only for selfies"? This shines a light on my second point from above, as for many storytellers (myself included), there is little appeal in a selfie sharing photo community, but there is appeal in a photo sharing community. At any rate, I have told the nature photographer that the community is not limited to selfie sharing and that nature photos would be a refreshing addition.
I think this actually might be partly my fault... and I'm not super sure where to go from here.
The early documentation I put out was all about sharing selfies as a means of story-telling... the problem I was trying to solve was people just sharing any image they found on the internet and receiving tips on them from unsuspecting consumers.
What I was envisioning was a platform where people would share their stories, their artistic processes, their struggles and their highlights, and complete that with a selfie to ensure that their post is theirs - and not just stolen from elsewhere on the internet.
What we've been building in, though, is a verification system that will include manual checks to ensure that an account owner is who they say they are... and once an account owner is verified the assumption is that their work is their own... which honestly is hard to verify.
The amazing thing and the hard thing about cryptocurrency is that once a payment is settled, it's immutable. So if someone tricks others into tipping them, there's honestly nothing we can do to get those funds back.
Once this functionality is released I'll need to redo the documentation to move away from selfies and onto images that either contain the account holder or were taken by the account holder.... with the provision that verification can be removed if people are found to be using images they don't own.
Ah yes, the challenge of photo piracy. Despite lessons on copyright and creative commons in the digital media courses I teach, I still deal with that issue with my media students (who should know better). Ultimately when I'm teaching, if they decide to ignore copyright, they get a rude awakening in their assignment grades. But when one is just looking at a small number of students, piracy can easily be checked. With a whole platform, that is not as easy.
I like your vision of 'people sharing their stories, their artistic processes, their struggles and their highlights, and complete that with a selfie to ensure that their post is theirs - and not just stolen from elsewhere on the internet.' The problem however is that for the most part you are not getting that. Rather self obsessive selfies, which I think many people are now tired of. Also as teacher of digital media and journalism, it is all about turning the camera outwards and capturing the stories around you.
It is okay if the early documentation suggested selfies, and then there is a shift to broader pictures as a whole, as it is expected that new platforms will change and evolve as find their niche and their rhythm.
The beauty is that the transition has already begun. Lilian for example, never shares selfies. I'll make a point of sharing non-selfies regularly to help create that shift.
From the platform end, you'd just want to make sure none of the main information when joining states the need for the photos to be selfies, and make sure that you state that photos shared must be member's own.
Sounds like you have a solid plan there for evolving.