The Origins of @Alibi and What’s Next for Alibi

5 months ago

Now my new keyboard arrived, I guess I better make a priority of regular content again before I must suffer the wrath of the @lordoftruth. Any computer full-timer knows the importance of an enjoyable and responsive keyboard and while I enjoyed the Logitech K480 keyboard for a long time as my main driver in an iPad only workflow, its rather primitive — although enjoyable clickety click — configuration had lost its appeal and I needed a more responsive keyboard again, one with less key travel and more expensive “plastic”.

That’s right, I’m a keyboard snob and before I switched to Mac devices, I used the excellent Logitech diNovo keyboard and never looked back. Only Apple keyboards ever came close, not merely close but were vastly better. But since around a year I have, often painfully, managed to work from an iPad Pro only and a thing I like is naked. Naked devices, I mean.

As such, my tablet doesn’t have a case and no foldable stand either. Thus I have always been limited in keyboard selection as I like keyboards with a tablet slab, allowing me to dynamically switch my position due to an independence of stand. But enough preamble to say I fell for the Xiaomi ecosystem MIIIW keyboard and it arrived today.

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Keyboard porn with a dirty iPad Pro screen

Cannabis News Writing

It was end December 2018 and I had fully embraced the Smoke blockchain as a regular part of my near future. The platform was slowly growing. I and my two partners in crime had decided to witness.

A constant consideration was how to propagate the Smoke blockchain, and smoke.io, more in order to attract more users. First readers, then hopefully new members, and eventually members turned content creators.

Weaponed with more than a decade of online publishing background, it was obvious that one of the most lacking niches on Smoke was the news section. The momentum around cannabis was huge, Canada had just legalized, and no day passed or there was news about more legalization efforts. Just like almost every day an interesting study was published.

Yet, on Smoke this wasn’t very visible — and when, it were only few low effort, almost facebook alike shares. Nothing to write home about, or share elsewhere, especially because most were only quick shares themselves.

I reached out to some witnesses and shared the idea of contributing regular news posts, at least for an initial trial period of three months. The aim of these efforts was to inspire (news) authors to step up their efforts and benefit support from willing and supportive curators.

News Articles are Shareworthy Low Hanging Fruits

Writing news content isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if platforms like Smoke, and Steem, have learned us anything it’s that people “follow the upvotes”.

Much like CMS platforms (Content Management Platforms) have democratized online publishing — first via bulletin boards and their subsequent portal evolutions, then with blogging software — these blockchain platforms, and their dapps, have created a new generation of “publishers”.

Whether that be “designers”, smarter “designers” who discovered the excellent Canva app, vloggers or hunters... when there’s upvotes of significance the content usually follows as well. Additionally, news articles would also give members who live in prohibition locations — like myself — an easy content topic and vertical.

Thus I was rather hopeful that over time Smoke.io could become everyone’s first destination for cannabis related news, all while also offering the other content and nugporn we all love to read and see.

More so, as a content strategy news articles are used by the largest platforms as generally it is a great, and very shareable, traffic generator. Sites like Hightimes and Weedly get thousands of visits every day because of the news content they publish and push to Twitter and other social platforms. This traffic is both a signup funnel and an ads revenue generator for them.

People historically like reading the latest news.

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Spot the “Hack the media” news item?

So I set out to write regular news content, pretty much 6 days/week from a not disclosed — but not hidden — alt, @alibi. I had set myself the initial deadline of April 1st, 2019 when I would evaluate the efforts, results and whether to continue at least another 3 months in order to further grow the news content body on the Smoke blockchain.

Rewards Repurposed

When I started writing the very first @alibi articles, I was lucky to benefit the support of several witnesses, dolphins, and orcas. From the very first post the account received a generous amount of rewards.

Yet, rewards weren’t the real goal of the efforts and thus it was time to put my foot where my mouth was and apply what I believe in: improved distribution.

While it would have been easy to bank all myself, alibi’s rewards have followed a consistent pattern:

  • 50% of all rewards have been constantly downpowered and used to sponsor @CannaWeedness’ TrippyContests, as well as other contests happening on the Smoke blockchain
  • 15-25% of all rewards — initially more — have been powered up to the @CannaWeedness witness account, a shared account with @raz and @eonwarped, in order to improve its curation impact
  • 5-10% of the rewards have usually been powered up to whether @eonwarped or @trees, thanking them for their [tech] support
  • 15-25% of the rewards have been powered up to my own account[1].

The rewards sharing has been done using the chain’s beneficiary feature, thanks to a repurposed Steem post submission form[2].

What’s Next for Alibi

When I previously managed an indie blog network, one of the main traffic generators was “aggregation”. The RSS era was alive and kicking and many sites did implement aggregated feeds. Feed readers were common tools for most people and feeds were also a viable automation strategy to share content on social platforms.

Sadly enough, the Smoke blockchain doesn’t have RSS/ATOM feeds. Just like Steem doesn’t and the Steem app which offered feeds, Streemian, has been sunset and was never open sourced.

At the same time, I also want to highlight selected content more and that possibly via a newsletter, much like the excellent WeedWeek newsletter by Alex Halperin.

Curated email newsletters are alive and kicking like it’s 1999 all over.

Lastly, in order to improve the DA (Domain Authority) of the Smoke.io website, I wish to increase guestblogging efforts as they are still a viable SEO strategy. In recent months it has proven difficult to land guestblogging opportunities, based solely on an “anonymous” account on a shared platform.

Thus, I will start to post alibi’s articles on an own site too. While this comes with solid SEO disadvantages for the new site, the benefits can possibly be sufficient to justify the effort as it will allow all alibi content to be submitted to feed reader platforms like Feedly, Bloglovin’, the Old Reader, and many more aggregators.

Each post will have a footer with the link of the article on Smoke.io. Additionally, attentive readers may have noticed that every alibi article generally contains at least one link to previous Smoke.io content. A strategy which over the years has always proven effective both in feed readers, and also with content scrapers[3].

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Possibly not the aggregation you were looking for - via Wikimedia

The internet was built on links. While more and more platforms, also UGC [User
Generated Content] platforms like Medium are moving towards walled gardens, links will never die and continue to drive much of the internet’s traffic.

Lastly, because a large part of the content strategy going forward will be geared towards the possible creation of a regular Smoke curated content newsletter, my laziness opted for platform of choice is WordPress due to the ease of newsletter creation.

But there’s more to that choice. It isn’t just “ease”, WordPress is horror, even for the most skilled user. Of course, I’ve long hit up the SteemPress team. While currently they aren’t yet available to port their WordPress solution to Smoke — because of business reasons — they will consider doing so as soon as possible. Which, given the huge amount of WordPress based cannabis sites, could be become a vital asset for the further evolution of cannabis related content posted to the Smoke blockchain.

If they bring SteemPress to the Smoke blockchain it would also be rather easy to make the new website a multi-authored cannabis news vertical, in which every author keeps their own rewards. All while benefitting the aggregation options I lack so much.

Lessons Learned

Three months was too short. Especially because the platform was still small and many new members were still trying out, but hadn’t yet become “vested” in the platform.

While I purposely kept the “example” easy in standard — the current news quality standard offered by the larger cannabis sites is top notch — when the competition are easy upsmokes with 5 minutes designs, a 400-500 words standard article, day after day, may not be the best inspiration. :D

News content would never be the biggest earner, but it can be a very gratifying topic vertical because it can generate both traffic and interaction. Where “blogging” is different from being a “journalist” is in the tone, the persona. Bloggers are opinionated, at least the best ones are, and provoke reaction. For better or worse. “Inspiring” was failed to doom without having written this post when I started the whole operation.

But I am confident that we can make the smoke blockchain one of the leading news destinations for cannabis.

And we should. 🤘

One More Thing

English is my fourth language. I never bothered learning its grammar. All I know about playing with words, I know from reading and writing.

Anyone who wants to enter the news niche can and should. The internet is multi-cultural and even top news outlets have regular linguistic slip ups. There is no “my English is not as good as yours” excuse, mine isn’t as good as Jay Rayner’s either and yet I do. And have published in English since 2005. Before that in German and boy was my German poor.

But it did not take away from the ability to write a solid guide or propagate an opinion. Not more than I myself thought it.

Just fkn do it.

#besmoke


[1] Chain sleuths may find the odd post with 30%, or maybe even 35%, rewards for myself. Some posts have required more effort and everything has been very much a ‘touch and go’ approach. But if, those should be exceptions rather than averages
[2] Thanks to @trees for converting this form to work with the Smoke blockchain
[3] Surprisingly many lazy scrapers forget to clean out the HTML and thus keep links in original content



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Happy to know that your keyboard arrived, as I will have what I read !

It is easy for everyone to come up with puf-puf post in few minutes, to show us his joint, to make a promo post or to show us how his plant grow daily, etc..

But it is not easy what @unnamed write and this is why we love @unnamed & @Alibi.

You try to give the platform a value, while some posting and re-posting just for upsmoke's fishing!

Thanks Mate for hard work.

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The smoke blockchain is host to some excellent content creators. The @lordoftruth we’ve seen in recent months is definitely one of them. Keep up the great work. 👌

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It is easy for everyone to come up with puf-puf post in few minutes, to show us his joint, to make a promo post or to show us how his plant grow daily, etc..

Why don't you try to grow a fucking plant for four months in limited conditions and show us puf-puf post every few minutes. Without growers, there's no smokers...

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Relax, it wasn’t personal.

I’m pretty sure lord also enjoys growlogs. I think his subject was more the [few] who post almost daily about the progress. There’s people who put efforts in and others just fish for rewards.

Besides there is room for every type of [related] content. Short, long... graphic, visual... fast or slow. To each their own preference, we express our opinion with our upsmokes. Keep those logs coming. 🤘

I can’t wait to live in less hostile conditions so I can grow again too. And you bet I will update about it.

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If you check your last post, you will see that was upsmoked by me and usually I did not upsmoke the bad content.

Indeed without growers, there's no weed. / You did well, keep the good work.
What I said in past, today and I will repeat : Canna - culture is more than puf- puf posts ! That is all.

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What came first, the grower or the weed?

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The weed. While the grower may have found a solitary seed and planted it out curiosity, marijuana has been known to grown in the wild for thousands of years.

So it is much more likely that the “grower” first discovered some of the properties of the plant and then later decided to grow closer to home. :)

Sadly enough, the Smoke blockchain doesn’t have RSS/ATOM feeds.

My smoke-indica website has an rss/atom feed: https://smoke-indica.com/atom.xml

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That's great. I thought about checking that as it opens a whole new raft of opportunities.

I guess Streemian was sunset as it became too expensive to operate per user/account based feeds without any biz model. I should ask reggaemuffin, they may know more about it.

Definitely going to submit smoke-indica to some aggregators already tomorrow (my timezone). Feeds are still a viable traffic strategy. 👌

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Thanks :)

lol, no idea you and Alibi was the same person.
I like your articles because you are a person that know how to explain technical things in a way that non tech people understands, and that´s a rare skill ;-)

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I think you must be mixing me up with someone else. Non-native speakers tend to say they need a dictionary to understand me. 😂

Great to have you back. I enjoy your news articles a lot and learn a lot from them. I agree that it's important for a site's popularity to have a developed news section. As @lordoftruth said anyone can create posts about smoking a joint. But it takes skill to create a read worthy news article. I noticed it's lacking myself but I'm not skilled enough to write such posts. There are many going on in the cannabis community lately and I belive 2019-2022 will be some of the most important years in the last few decades for the cannacommunity. If there has been any time to shine as a cannanews writer it's now. I'll support it as much as I can.

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Thanks for the kind words. To be honest, greatest support possible would be when I see more authors jump in the niche. Even today I see quick link dumps, some even posting multiple times all for very little rewards while there is an example account having earned thousands of support. “People” want rewards but just don’t want to put in a bit of effort. Granted, I have years of practice and despite being rusty since not having played the news game since 2011 anymore, I don’t think any post took me longer than 40 minutes. That includes selecting the post from all sources.

Then look at good old @lordoftruth himself. He’s the prime example of “quality evolution” and look at how that has resulted in increased., consistently increased rewards.

Rewards are welcome and appreciated, I may even tweak the distribution a little in the future — more regular 30 and 35% for myself as it is a daily task, but the 50% will be maintained — but I think there’s other support which can benefit the network more, so expect a follow on post soon. :)

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I can't wait for them. The world is a wild an crazy place. Full of life.

Nice, never seen those red bugs before! Wow they look like little pill bugs!