My First Year on Decentralized Social Media (DeSo)
IMPORTANT: In addition to being a creator on DeSo, I am also a holder of the DeSo cryptocurrency. Note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice.
Has it been a year already? Wow! Time flies when you spend every spare second of it writing, drawing, recording, researching, posting, engaging, and diamonding (huh?) on the most technologically advanced decentralized social media platform in the world.
DeSo is its name. And, building a Web3 business that could someday replace a full-time income is my game.
You see, I have a problem. About one year ago, I received an email from the CEO of my company saying that we would be
dragged called back to the office despite successfully working remotely for two years during the pandemic. And it meant losing valuable time with my school-age kids who’d grown accustomed to having Daddy around.
Why? So I could sit in traffic for an hour, battle road-ragers and schlep to a largely empty office. Yes, empty. All in the name of justifying an expensive 3-story multi-million dollar renovation that we barely occupied.
I get it — it’s just business. But, my family, and the memories we’ll create while my kids are still young, are worth more to me than a few million dollars.
Fast forward to today. It’s been 365 days since I joined DeSo’s incredible community of like-minded people. And in that time, I’ve built a humble-yet-sincere following, launched several passion projects, and even earned a few bucks (DeSo). All laying the foundation for potential financial independence. But it was not without its challenges. Lots of lessons were learned along the way.
Let’s dive in.
Sure, I could’ve started my journey with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any of the other well-established centralized social media platforms. I would’ve had access to a mature and stable user experience, feature-rich apps and an audience made up of millions.
I’d also have the unmitigated risk of losing it all if I did or said something that the platform (and its users) didn’t like. With such precious little time to develop something of value between work and parenting, those are very high stakes. Too high, in fact.
Just the thought of working my butt off to build a better life for me and my family — acquiring thousands of followers in the process — only to get banned at the whim of a corporate desk jockey (or worse: a faceless algorithm) was just too much to bear.
Decentralized Social was the only way for me to go to ensure that my efforts would never be in vain.
Thanks to DeSo’s layer-1 blockchain technology, I could rest easy on the promise that my hard-earned followers, social posts, and passion projects would live on for as long as the blockchain existed. And, if an individual node (aka decentralized app or “dApp”) were to block me for any reason, I could simply login to a different node — or even build my own. Everything I’d worked tirelessly to create would be right there where I left it.
It’s a powerful idea; one that is sure to lure anyone who values their time more than money. But there are definitely challenges associated with being an early adopter.
When you dabble in new technology that’s not fully matured, you’re bound to encounter a few bugs along the way. With DeSo, the implementation of a very big idea by a very small team, those “squashables” included missing transactions. Nodes weren’t always in sync. And one of the mobile apps sometimes froze, crashed, and became unusable.
Luckily, none of it was debilitating to the point where I was forced to find refuge on another platform. In fact, it only reinforced how attentive a tight-knit community can be when each issue occurred. My fellow DeSonians had each other’s backs, quickly calling out when something went awry, diagnosing the problems (whenever possible) and brainstorming ways around them.
It was not uncommon for the core team to catch wind of these issues thanks to the community. That’s the power of open-source data!
Being early also means that there aren’t always enough daily active users to find and engage with your posts. That meant posting just for the sake of creating content that adds value to the platform and my profile. If people commented, great. If not, well… at least, I could be proud of what I posted and how it fit into my overall message as a Stubborn Dad working toward a brighter future.
It’s not pleasurable to post into a void — especially for those whose only goal is to be social.
What’s great is that my posts often did get comments. Not only that… they got diamonds, also known as tips, which can be cashed out for real money. As I described in my “First 30 Days” article about DeSo, it started pretty early on, too. Thanks to a generous and caring community I was able to get my first 100 followers in less than a month.
They rallied around me, engaged with, and shared my posts, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It gave me the springboard I needed to mint my first NFT, publish an eBook about DeSo content creation, and continue cultivating a group of over 690 followers at the time of this writing. Many of them are people whom I would genuinely call my friends despite never having met them.
It also gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my passions in some experimental projects:
I love storytelling. I love being silly and making people laugh. And I love finding creative ways to engage that don’t feel like work. But how to bring it all together?
At the intersection of my interests, my followers’ interests and products that actually earn money, I’ve been searching for the key to success. Not just any success, mind you. Something sustainable that combines all of the things I love in a way that utilizes my talents/skills, provides great flexibility of time, and doesn’t feel like a daily chore. It’s a lot to ask, I know. So…
Can a Stubborn Dad earn a full-time income being silly and making people smile?
That’s what I aimed to find out. This year was all about getting to know people on DeSo and experimenting with comments, posts and projects that support and engage the community. My goal was to remain authentic as I established my voice, my silly sense of humor and got the word out about my hopes and dreams.
I’m a dad. I’m stubbornly refusing to settle for the status quo, as dictated by the company I work for, so that I can spend more time with my family. And I’m using all the tools and talents at my disposal to create something of value for people, even if that value is derived from a simple smile.
With that in mind, my first test project set out to answer the following question:
How can I use my writing ability to showcase some of the active community members I’ve connected with, while illustrating the potential of DeSo to change everyday life?
The idea for DeSo Dreams was born out of a desire to help the community stay positive through some of the challenges. It’s not easy being so early to new technology for all the previously mentioned reasons, and some people were starting to have doubts about its future. Especially, as the price of DeSo dropped with most other alt coins in the cryptocurrency space. I wanted to do my part and show others what keeps me hopeful.
So, I started dreaming up different situations in which DeSo could be at the center of everyday life across various niches. I created a fictional character who earns money using a futuristic app called “DeSo Travel,” and made a list of real-life DeSo accounts that I’ve engaged with meaningfully.
I then challenged myself to create a story that would highlight what’s unique about each account, and the wonderful people behind them. It featured an imaginative look at some of DeSo’s current features within the context of travel, including functionality that doesn’t yet exist.
The result was a fun little narrative that resonated with a lot of people.
It demonstrated my writing skills, a newfound ability to create voiceovers, and a memorable way to bring people together despite their different backgrounds. It even got coverage on DeSo’s preeminent podcast on YouTube. And, while I haven’t made substantial money from the effort to reach my financial goals, it was a fantastic exercise in community support and development.
Plus, the potential to earn is there if people want to purchase the @DeSoTravel username and DeSoTravel.com domain name. All things considered, I’d say my first test project was a success! And I wasn’t about to stop there.
My second test project aimed to take the idea of showcasing DeSo accounts to a new level by answering the following question:
How can I use my silly sense of humor to help people feel “seen” when engagement on DeSo is low due to being so early?
It’s no secret that many people have lost faith in the Mainstream Media on both sides of the political aisle. That creates the perfect opportunity to poke fun at the news with satire — only I wanted to put a community twist on it. Instead of simply creating another fake news account, I decided to create a “nOOz” account where I could report on the details of ordinary posts by everyday people.
The formula was simple. Find a post that represents something unique about a person and their interests; something that wouldn’t necessarily go viral. It could be a photo of an animal, a story about a current event or a video clip of the user. Whatever it is, my goal was to find a humorous yet 100% factual way to sensationalize it. You know, not unlike what the Mainstream Media does (sans humor).
I took a cute, captioned animal photo and turned it into a surprising story about a user reading animals’ minds. An entertaining video clip of a lip sync performance became an alarming report about a distracted driver and the surrounding carnage that may have ensued. And an attentive dad who clowns around in the woods to the delight of his kids became the subject of “weird behavior” that raised questions about his state of mind.
It was all in good fun! And, luckily, the subjects of these satirical reports agreed.
Not only did it grow in followers faster than my Stubborn Dad and DeSo Dreams accounts did, it also garnered financial support from people who purchased the NFT reports as keepsakes. Clearly, I’d developed something special; something worth expanding upon in the future.
The days of hiding behind a fake, inauthentic persona are numbered, if not over. With so much negativity and fraud online, people are developing a healthy skepticism about those whom they interact with, especially on social media. It’s one of the reasons I mostly steered clear of social media. I’m not someone who likes to be fake, and this played perfectly into my approach on DeSo.
Luckily, the DeSo community prioritizes authenticity and transparency over anything faux. They’re smart, incredibly savvy and they recognized my efforts to help and entertain immediately. My story resonated with them, and they went out of their way to back me up.
I felt seen. I felt heard. And I felt like I was surrounded by a new kind of family.
There’s no way I would’ve survived the leap into this foreign world of crypto entrepreneurship if it weren’t for the confidence that this special group of people gave me. And no matter what happens next with these projects, and the ones yet to come, I will always and forever be grateful for that.
Just look at what I was able to accomplish in less than 365 days, with very little spare time:
I am immensely proud of this list. And, while some of those stats may not be enough to impress the social media mavens among us, they’re more than plenty to keep a Stubborn Dad like me going.
Onward and upward! If my first year on DeSo was all about experimenting and engaging with newfound friends, my second year will be all about implementing what I’ve learned and iterating on what works.
Consistency is so important when it comes to creating content. I’m going to develop systems that maximize my spare time, including a realistic schedule that I can stick to no matter what challenges between work and parenting may come my way. After I set a specific number of “goal posts” for each project, there will be no turning back. Either I get there — or bust!
Of course, I’ll also take time to evaluate my progress and pivot as needed. There’d be no point in moving forward with something that is only holding me back. Evolve or die, right?
Most importantly, I will continue to use “Stubborn Dad” as an example of what hard work and determination can accomplish. Both for my kids and for anyone who dreams of having the financial flexibility to spend more time with their family. After all, they are the whole reason I’m here.