Apparently, going from the Premium Plan back to the Free Plan can cause a few glitches, hiccups, bumps in the road, and other similarly quaint concerns. (I expected nothing less…)
For one thing, the “Home” page button on my site, as well as just typing in the address manually, now directs folks (or me, at least—perhaps the issue is my computer’s online memory cache in my browser) to a page saying that the site can no longer be found. And, while it’s true that “primitiveentertainment.com” is dead, The Primitive Entertainment Workshop is, perhaps, just metamorphosing!
I’ve discovered that the individual pages can still be accessed, which is nice, but I would need necromantic skills that may be beyond my desire to invoke to get this carcass up and moving again (it’s such a heavy beast, I’m not sure it would be possible to pick it up and get some forward momentum again.)
But do not despair! The creative urges are still intact (even if the mind behind them is less sharp than he was when this experiment began!) Even as this limping beast tries desperately to cling to life, the mad scientist who animated it is still doing daily posts of nonsense and bad art and fictional occurrences here:
If you don’t yet know about Steemit, it’s a social platform based on the Steem Blockchain, and it works something like a cross between Reddit (which I hate because of the cliquish community) and, maybe, Tumblr. There are some similarities to Facebook, too, but it’s not exactly like any of those things. It’s a blog site, sort of, where folks post art and writing and rants and links to whatever they find interesting, and you can follow folks whose ideas you like and whose interests you share. Nothing too revolutionary there, but Steemit does have a novel element to it: When you up-vote a post on Steemit, the creator of the post is rewarded with the cryptocurrency, STEEM. (It’s not just a bunch of thumb or heart images, it’s an actual currency with economic value.) Having a popular post here, on WordPress, is gratifying, but a post with 1 like and a post with 50 likes (which I’ve rarely had because of my niche creative style,) have exactly the same outcome: not much. Steemit.com doesn’t count “views” for a specific post, only up-votes, and there, if 1 person likes your post, you get a fraction of a cryptocurrency, but if 500 people up-vote you post (which has happened a few times for me already, even though I’ve only been on the site for 55 days,) you are rewarded with cryptocurrency. I have had posts worth (so far) as much as $10.00 or $20.00 each! I realize that this doesn’t seem like a huge amount of money, but compared to the fact that I’ve had hundreds of “likes” on WordPress, and all that’s happened has been that I’ve LOST a hundred dollars (paying for a Premium plan that provided zero return on my investment,) I think I prefer the reward, even if it’s not very much.
I’m not suggesting that Steemit is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, as the state of cryptocurrencies is in constant flux. One “STEEM” has been worth as much as $6 or $7 U.S. Dollars—and it hit a low of about 21 cents recently, thanks to the crypto crash of 2018 that has affected all of the major cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin)—and it’s almost frightening that I’m actually watching market prices now, but I actually have a bit of a stake in both STEEM and ETHEREUM at this point, (the ETH, thanks to a couple of cryptoart sales!)
To be even marginally successful at Steemit.com, you need to put in a lot of time and energy, you have to be willing to start at the bottom, and you have to be patient as you build an audience and make connections. I have been rather lucky there, as I’ve managed to go from almost no attention to A BIT of attention in less than two months. (But I’m not afraid to WORK…and persistence is my middle name: Richard Persistence Yates. [This is a lie.]) Even getting STARTED on Steemit can be tough. You have to apply for an account, and it takes a week or two for the “on-boarders” to okay your application. Then, once you’re accepted and can start to use the site, you are given just a few “resource credits,” which are what you use to up-vote and do other things that affect the blockchain. You can READ all you like on the site, but to “follow” someone or make a comment, you use your resource credits. They replenish over time, but you don’t start with many, which can be confusing, if you try to up-vote someone and the transaction won’t go through because you’re out of resource credits—and I admit, those first few weeks were rather frustrating, until I built up some Steem by posting every day or two, making some connections, and having folks (luckily) find and up-vote some of my content. After a couple of well received book reviews, and patience and persistence, I am now over 100 “Steem Power,” and I have plenty of resource credits to do what I like.
But, in the beginning, it was tough. Of my first 13 posts, only ONE of them (the very first, “Introduce Yourself,” post) had enough up-votes to be rewarded with STEEM. (I was told that there is a 2 cent payout threshold.) I have, since those first few weeks, been lucky enough to have most of my posts get at least a few up-votes each, and a few cents worth of cryptocurrency awarded to me for posting them. And I, in return, have so far taken all of the rewards I’ve received and RE-INVESTED them back into the platform. (When you use your rewards to “Power Up” your account, you build resource credits, allowing you to do more and making your VOTES for other people’s content worth more cryptocurrency. It’s complicated, but there are a LOT of folks on the platform who are willing to help new users, and once you get the hang of it, it all goes pretty smoothly. Think of it as a “learning to crawl” period.)
There are also a great many apps that can interface with the Steem blockchain, which make it a fun place to do business: 1. Steem Monsters is a card game, similar to Magic the Gathering, that uses rare digital collectible cards. I haven’t played it yet, but it’s apparently quite popular, and the folks who do play it seem to enjoy it. 2. Partiko, which is a user interface that I use every day, allows you to post to Steemit and read other people’s content, and sends you notifications when someone gives you an up-vote or follows you or leaves a comment. And 3. DTube, which is similar to YouTube, in that you can upload your videos to the Steem blockchain, and instead of waiting for advertisers to find you and decide if you’re content is acceptable to them, the viewers themselves up-vote your video and reward you with cryptocurrency. There are a lot more, but I’m still relatively new to the platform (not quite two months on yet,) so I don’t really know them very well. However, I’ve found myself really enjoying the experience of being involved with Steemit, and the COMMUNITY there is rambunctious and entertaining! There is definite passion on display every day.
So that’s where we are. Going from PAYING for the service on WordPress, back to using the Free plan has thrown my site (which I’ve spent six years toiling over) into chaos. My plan, at this point, is to continue posting to The Primitive Entertainment Workshop, on occasion, but to move most of my creative work to Steemit, AND I’m going to archive some of my favorite Primitive materials on my Steemit blog—keep the mind train moving, but hop to a new set of tracks… It seems strange to me that a company would (whether intentionally or not) punish a creator for going from a paid position back to a free plan, but that’s what it feels like. I have several blogs on WordPress, and the only one that I’m having trouble with is the one I actually paid MONEY to use. All of the free blogs are cruising along, just fine.
I should say that I don’t regret doing The Primitive Entertainment Workshop AT ALL! We’ve told some delightful stories here, and when I look back at all that I and my collaborators have done, I am very proud. Working with Richard O’Brien, Randy Long, Kandy Robertson, Josh Erdahl, Mark Counts, Michael King, and (of course) my girls, Mariah, Elise, and Frankie, has been a beautiful experience! And we have some fantastic archival materials (especially the BOOKS!) that you can look at for PROOF of how much fun we’ve had making this site, but all things must someday end… And since I’m having such a bear of time trying to get the site address thing figured out, and the site’s memory is mostly full, I’m thinking I might have to consider this phase of the journey, mostly, complete! I’ll keep updating the READ A DAMN BOOK list, and maybe drop a bad joke or two from time to time, but I’m thinking this about closes the door on the project…
Maybe. I’ve tried to quit this site before and failed miserably. We’ll see how it goes this time….
Got any comments on this stuff? This might be your last chance to leave one!
—Richard F. Yates (27 Dec. 2018)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!