So a couple months ago I made a blog called "A guide to Bitlanders Success." Well today I feel like I could give Bitlanders a guide to improve itself based on my experiences with 7 other content sharing sites.
Now I love Bitlanders. I've been here since the film annex days. I've become more successful here in a little over a year than I have in my 7 years elsewhere. However, as a platform to distribute regular content and enjoy user generated content that interests you, it leaves MUCH to be desired. Here are some ideas for how I think Bitlanders can be improved and be taken a little more seriously.
First and foremost, add content categories. EVERY video sharing website has categories to organize content. These are things like "automotive, gaming, DIY/How to, news/current events, movies, TV shows, short film/artistic, vlogs, etc." When I upload a video on youtube or dailymotion, I chose the most appropriate category and it gets categorized under that category to make it easier for people to discover since they can go to that category and browse from there. You have tags, and those are broken as is (I search tags I use exactly as entered and the results say "nothing to see here"), but categories would make it SO much easier for people to engage with things they find interesting.
On a related note, where's all the gaming? You guys promote this site as a place for social network and gaming. I search all sorts of videogame tags, and I turn up nothing. I search tags I use for all my gaming stuff, and they turn up nothing. All I ever really find is old videogame trailers from E3 2011. I'm like the only person I find that's doing gaming stuff regularly. If bitlanders is talking about the Pokematic and Friends lets plays when saying "we're a place for gaming," I'm honored, but even on Youtube more than just PewDiePie does lets plays.
Second, organize the home page. When I open up the home page of Bitlanders, here is what I see; first is a promoted blog or video where if I click the "claim my reward: 10 satoshi" I get 10 satoshi, then it's a long feed of random blogs and videos that were submitted for review and have 1 to 5 star ratings and users that are rather highly rated. How do I find my subscriptions? How do I know if someone I follow posted something? How do I know that my subscribers are seeing it? Every video sharing site I've been on has a way to see just my subscriptions. The homepage has a place for promoted videos, but they aren't mixed in with the subscriptions. If you're going for facebook and twitter promoted posts, well they do like 1 promoted post for every 10-15 subscribed posts, not 1 subscribed post for every 10-15 promoted posts. Here's what I suggest, make different tabs or sections on the home page for each type of thing; one for promoted content, one for suggested content, one for subscriptions, one for suggested users, and one for "popular in this category at the moment." This would eliminate a lot of clutter and improve community involvement and engagement.
Third, make it easier to distinguish between blogs and microblogs at a glance. With the videos there is a "play button" over the thumbnail and the galleries have multiple thumbnails of all the images in the gallery. With the blogs and microblogs, the only thing really telling them apart is the tags above the blog post whereas the microblogs have the tags inside the post. I've taken to putting "BLOG:" before the title of all my blogs so people can easily see that this is a blog and not a microblog. I don't know if this means changing the font, automatically adding the word BLOG somewhere on the post thumbnail, or whatever, but you need to make it easier to tell them apart otherwise people will miss that it's a blog since many non-"here's an update" blogs have titles that can easily be mistaken for a microblogs, a user can easily glance over the blog and miss it.
Fourth, add an HTML option for writing blogs. I know some HTML, on my blogger blog I put tables and all sorts of embeded stuff in there. When it doesn't look exactly like I want it, I go into the HTML and manually change the HTML. I don't really like to use the blog platform here on bitlanders because it's rather unfriendly for a more experienced coder and designer. Sure, it's good for the people who don't know how to use HTML, but I want to do some cool HTML tricks.
Fifth and related for #4, don't make right click in a blog ONLY do "insert link" when writing blogs. I have a spell check add-on and it recognizes when I spell something wrong and gives it a red underline, but when I right click to see the options it's just "insert link" and I have to either guess until I get it right or put it in google and see what google says is the right spelling. There's also the matter of copy and paste. Every other option of right click has "cut, copy, paste, open link, etc." This is basic, even someone without HTML knowledge knows how to use these features.
Sixth, add a hit counter to videos and blogs. The number of buzzes are not a proper indication of how many hits the content is getting since a buzz is basically a like. I'm rather stingy with my likes and buzzes since I don't want to just say "hey I got moderate enjoyment from this so I will buzz it," I say "I really enjoyed this and therefore I will buzz it." I want to know how many views I get. Every other video and blogging site I've used has a view counter so I can see how many views I'm getting on the stuff I'm really working to put out. Only having the buzz count on microblogs and galleries is fine since those typically are just off the cuff, but videos and blogs take a lot more work, and I want to know how many people just see my stuff, not how many people like it (and since I think the buzz score is tied to the buzzes on a post, that makes it all the more important to see how many views I get).
Now here's something that the community can do to help make this place better, engage in content with relevant comments. I'm not talking about just the spam "buzz and sub me" comments, I'm also talking about the stickers. I get it, stickers are emojis and convey what you're thinking without using up the 160 character limit. However, if you just post stickers, the producers don't really know what you mean. I did a blog where I asked for Q&A questions, and all I got were stickers. What am I supposed to do with that? You're a cat that wants to give me a dead fish, thank-you now what's your question? Maybe if bitlanders gave us the option to post both a sticker and text or allowed longer comments, it would be a little better, but say stuff that's relevant to the post at hand. I want to engage with my subscribers. I want to engage with my subscriptions. I want to engage with other users. But I can't do any of that if no one engages. This might be a problem with some of the organization things mentioned earlier, but I get loads of sticker and spam comments so my stuff is getting out there. I check out top promoted blogs, and the comments are all stickers and spam with maybe 1% of the comments being relevant to the post.
Again, I love bitlanders, and I make this blog because I want to see bitlanders be successful.I love how easy it is to make money here. I love how you have rankings for users. I love how you give us the option to either make videos, blogs, microblogs, or image galleries. I love how users can make money from just sharing stuff. I love how you use bitcoin instead of all sorts of fiat currencies. I love how I can replace videos. However, there's a lot of things that could make it better. I could nit-pick a lot of other small things, but if you follow these big tips, all the small things will follow. Well this has been Pokematic, signing off, and bu-bye.
UPDATE: OK, just found this out thanks to community involvement. Apparently to send a message to someone who is not subscribed to you, you need to use a gem. I found this out because Ric4iqbal2 left a comment saying "very informative blog. I love to read more of you." To help build the community, I wanted to personally thank him. Well I typed "Ric4qbal2" and it said "that user is not subscribed to you, to send a message you need to use a gem." This brings up 2 issues; 1) no reply button to comments and 2) it will cost premium currency to have a conversation with someone not subscribed to you. Bitlanders if you REALLY want to be a social network, you MUST add a reply button and make it more streamlined. EVERY social network has a reply button in the comments section because that's how you grow community. Even some video sharing sites have a reply button for comments and those are the ones that are successful because it makes a great community. That's SUPER basic.
The next thing is the cost to send a message. This isn't an arbitrary oversight. This was done to cut down on spam. In the older days I got probably 3 microblogs a day sent to me saying "sub me I subbed you" or something similar, and then that contributed to the buzzscore because they were making content. Here's the problem though, it hasn't reduced the spam because I still get about 3 comments a day saying "sub me I subbed you" or something similar. I also checked the comments of a popular blog and there were still spammers asking direct users to subscribe just without the "at sign." While this saved me from sending a message to the wrong user, what if a user isn't subscribed to me and I want to reply to them? I don't expect everyone who comments to be subscribed to me. What if I want to reply to a comment that isn't on my stuff and they're not subscribed to me? I don't expect every user to be subscribed to me. I'm Here's what I suggest; keep your premium currency rule only for microblogs and remove it for the comment section. The spammers are going to spam, with or without the rule. At least with the rule it keeps them from getting an artificial buzz score.
Speaking of spammers, you need a way to report users for spam. I went to a spam comment, all I could do was delete it. That doesn't teach the spammer anything. I went to a spammer's profile, no way to report them. If users want a good community, they will report troublesome users. Literally every website with some form of community has a "report comment/report user" option, except you. This is not the thing to be different on. I hate the spammers, active users hate the spammers, you hate the spammers. It's really easy to see who is spamming since I know you have all the metadata. It's not censorship, it's community cleaning. Having someone say "buzz me I buzzed you" or "sub me pls" adds absolutely nothing to the community, it actually takes away. Please let us report users for spam and check their metadata for large amounts of key words like "buzz me" and "sub me." If like 90% of their text comments are asking for buzz or subs, ban them, please. This should cover it all. This has been Pokematic, signing off, and bu-bye.
Note: Asking for buzz and subs in movie descriptions or blogs should not count towards the spam. I know many youtubers say "like my video and subscribe" at the end of their videos to help promote themselves. Saying "if you liked this subscribe for more" at the end of actual content is not spam. While I don't do that because I feel it's redundant, I've seen many people do it and it doesn't harm anyone. Only microblogs or comments should count against the spam counter.
Similarly, if someone says "go check out this user" and links their page at the end of the blog or in the description of a video, 999 times of of 1000 that will be because it was a collaborative effort and one who is posting is giving credit to the guy who was helping. On my lets plays I have my friends help out. With the zeldamaster93 lets plays I always include a link to his youtube channel because I want to give him help for helping me with this project. Similarly, I'm going to start linking my friend sudden's profile in my PSS lets play series of videos because he is one of the S's in "PSS." When people do that, it's community building. Don't ban people for spam if they say "check out this other user" in one of their blogs or in the video description.
Another thing that bitlanders can do is utilize the internet rabbit hole. A blog about (and an example of) the internet rabbit hole can be found at "what is the internet rabbit hole and how bitlanders can use it." The short of it is "add a side bar for related content."