I have been on Minds for over a month. My Plus subscription expired, which was a prompt to resubscribe. It is now on auto-renew. Before the Great Google Plus Migration of 2018, there were people on that network letting their audience know about Minds, which is how I learned about this network. Out of curiosity, I ventured over here and started poking around. So, here we are more than a month later. My subscription to Plus was not immediate, I had to earn enough tokens first.
What Has Happened During This Month
My first month began by exploring the features of Minds, such as the main feed, blogs, photos, video, Tokens, Groups, and messages. I do have to complain that documentation is not as good as I would have liked. Getting help consists of asking questions in a Group, which is not ideal. A question can be asked a bunch of times and answered just as many when a FAQ would do the trick. I don’t see it as scalable. Some members have written guides on their blogs, which is admirable. However, they may not be aware of updates or may not have the most accurate information. I won’t complain too much. At least the Minds team DOES answer questions and help users. But, with millions of users in the future, I don’t see how they hope to provide the same level of support. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
My channel has 574 subscribers after one month, of which I suspect a good number are bots. I haven’t figured out how to enumerate the number of channels to which I subscribe. Ultimately, the people to whom I subscribe to I have followed because of their good content. I have made the mistake of subscribing to a few people who turned out to be objectionable. A simple unsubscription and a block takes care of those matters.
My time here has also seen a great debate between one member who keeps pushing to add a reputation system to Minds, and a bunch of other members who are completely opposed. Fortunately, the pro-reputation member wound up crapping on everybody and on the Minds crew, which ensures that sort of thing won’t take root here. So, this shows me that there is no censorship, per se. However, there is a community and a way things are done here.
Minds as a community has been a mixed bag. There are some early members who rightfully are resentful of censorship and intolerance on other networks. However, their resentment is a constant drumbeat day in and day out. I don’t know where they get the energy to be angry for so long. I used to listen to a lot of talk radio. But, after several years, each episode started to sound like the last one. It’s important to repeat things because there are newbies who haven’t heard an opposing point of view. However, a little variety now and then couldn’t hurt. The same goes for Minds.
There are, however, plenty of other users who are not as vocal. They joined Minds just to have a place to hang out and post stuff with a minimum of fuss. Because they post less frequently, it is more difficult to stumble upon their profiles. That is, of course, unless you dive into the Groups where they hang out. And Google Plus is adding some of that variety.
The great migration of Google Plus users has been a blessing. It has attracted a less angry type of user. I see more writers, poets, photographers, and other creative types who just need a network, not necessarily protection against censorship, . . . yet. I completely agree with and support the focus Minds has for fighting censorship. However, that can’t be the sole focus. We need some variety to make the network interesting for a wider base of people who will grow to appreciate freedom of speech. So Google dumping their community has been great for bringing in some diversity of thought to Minds. There will most likely be disagreement,
debate civil discourse, hurt feelings, and perhaps someday acceptance that people have different views. That only happens by attracting mainstream users to moderate the activists.
I Have Been Cheating
I have to confess that Minds is not the only network I have frequented. I have experimented with Steemit and am waiting on Narrative to get off Alpha. MeWe, I just can’t get into despite its full features. Pluspora, I got an account that now sits abandoned. All this has happened in the past month. I have been busy. In terms of attention, it is primarily divided between Minds and Steemit.
The Tokens of Minds and the Steem of Steemit have tickled my rewards fancy. Minds is increasingly more compelling. I find Steemit saturated with members who openly game the platform. I jumped on just as they launched HF20, which was aimed at minimizing future hard forks and mitigating the effects of spammers and people gaming the system. Even with this, rewards are largely skewed towards heavily invested users. It is understandable. The bigger the stake you have in Steemit, the more you should be rewarded, right? Well, it’s going to be a year, I estimate, before I see anything meaningful come out of Steemit.
I do not know that I want to put too much money into my presence there to eke out greater rewards. My understanding is that there is a sort of “dividend” nature in having a larger stake. We’ll see. That’s going to be a long-term project.
What About Minds?
Meanwhile, here on Minds, the main feed is separate from blog posts. This takes the pressure off of writing everything as a blog post. I can use Minds more like I use my other networks, which is to post thoughts and ideas alongside daily minutiae. Another advantage of Minds is a devised workaround, which is to create Groups related to my own interests. Groups are a way of reaching my intended audience without the expense of Boosting. Posting to a relevant group tends to have more thumbs up than posting to the main feed.
My experience with Groups has been largely influenced by the Google+ Refugees Group I joined. We all have something in common within that group, the demise of G+. There is, consequently, a lot of interaction between members as we get to know each other and commiserate. We have experienced a good deal of discussion, which means Tokens. This led to the realization that Groups are the best way to reach an interested audience. I am now also a member of several Groups that are not my own.
Regarding Tokens, my biggest concern with Minds at the outset was that I might not earn enough tokens to sustain a Plus membership. This concern was unfounded. My interaction on Minds is sufficient to generate tokens to maintain Plus status indefinitely, so long as I stay active. In my first month of membership, I earned more than three month’s worth of tokens. Actually, more than that as I have Boosted several items along the way. In other words, Minds membership seems to be feeding on itself, which makes paying into the system sustainable.
In the long-term, I do not know if Minds membership will generate enough Tokens for me to consider cashing out. It would be cool, I suppose. But, as we have seen with Google+, circumstances change. I can’t pin my hopes on a platform I do not own like many YouTube creators are learning. For the sake of Minds, I think we are better served by “reinvesting” our Tokens back into the network until it grows much larger. This brings up a concern.
Hosting for millions of users is costly. Video is especially costly. Like Network Marketing, we need to bring more people into Minds to help grow the pie and fund things for those of us who are finding a rewarding experience. It is in our nature to want to get more back than we give. However, this does not do Minds any good. They also need to get more back than they give, particularly because they pay the bills. Somehow, somewhere, people have to be bringing cash into the Minds Token economy to make it work. Minds has to have some way of turning Tokens into cash to pay for what they do for us.
Long-Term, the way I see Minds Tokens working out for everybody is if commercial ventures use Minds to interact with customers and to market their goods and services. Business advertising is a way to generate revenue to grow the rewards pool. But, businesses need to see a return on their investment.
Minds is best suited to Internet businesses like online shops and services. Buying Tokens can be a business expense that increases the rewards pool for regular users to divvy up. For businesses to invest in Tokens for advertising, we users need to spend money with those businesses. So, it is mutually beneficial to frequent businesses that set up shop on Minds, if ever they do.
The danger is that the businesses advertisers would get on a high horse about standards and start asking for some kind of censorship. So long as the Minds team treats businesses like any other user, it works out. Once businesses get any degree of special treatment, they will begin to ask for more and more special treatment.
Where are you going with this?
Sorry for getting carried away. I think about these things because I am tired of changing networks. Over the years, many “free” networks in which I am invested have shut down. Some had no revenue plan. Some were bought out for intellectual property. But, ultimately, they folded.
With Minds, I’m glad that there is a path for the network to make money without resorting to the same revenue models other networks have used, such as selling our data and rate limiting access to our own audiences to extort a fee. I feel more comfortable investing my time here given that there is a plan in place to keep the network going without ads and without selling my data.
Overall, Minds has been a positive experience. I find myself checking my feed several times a day. I used to be more reserved with giving thumbs up or favoriting on other networks. Now that my approval helps out others via Tokens, I am more generous. That has been a positive change. I also find myself more willing to share my posts outside of Minds because it presents better than Steemit. Much of my audience is outside of Minds, so it is important that this network appear reputable and to have it together, which it is and does. I see myself staying here.