People Like Looking At Old Things

Film (analogue) photographs do very well on Instagram. I think it’s partly because people enjoy the feeling of nostalgia the get from looking at them.

There’s always talk of the ‘soul’ of film – the colours, or something, that gives the photos something special.

Photos of vintage things also do well, whether taken with a digital or film camera. A photo of the vintage Canon AE-1 that I took on film is one of the most successful I’ve ever posted on Instagram. Successful in terms of likes and engagement.

I’m not sure “nostalgia” is the correct word for everyone. For people 30 years old and up, yes, maybe. They’re old enough to remember the film-only days. All their childhood photos were taken on film.

For people under that age though, especially the 15-25 demographic that are really into their film photography, I’m not quite sure what it is. Could it be the joy of discovering a more tangible form of photography in the digital age? Is it a retrospective fashion fad? Is it simply the Instagram effect? Who knows.

The phenomenon isn’t lost on retailers. There are stores now that specialise in vintage stuff. Not actual vintage-vintage, but faux vintage. They build cameras to resemble cameras of the past – but with none of the craftsmanship or longevity. They’ve created an entire industry from this stuff – faux vintage cameras, vinyl players, books, clothes and shoes.

You can even see its influence in the design aesthetics of the Fuji and Olympus mirrorless cameras. The Fujifilm X100 series became a runaway success due to the vintage film rangefinder era aesthetics.

Having said that, I find that a lot of the youth having dabbled in the faux stuff for a while become dissatisfied and seek out the real vintage stuff. There are countless stories of people that started off using one of those Fuji cameras, but went on to buy a vintage Canon, Olympus or Yashica film camera.

I get a number of them contacting me privately on Instagram with questions that I’m always very pleased to answer if I can.

Testing Scheduling

Today is Thursday the 20th. You are reading this “tomorrow” on Friday the 21st of June, a.k.a. “today”. So basically from your point of view, I “was” writing this “yesterday”. How’s that to kick off your Solstice?

You guessed it! This is yet another Steem Blockchain test. In this one, I am testing the scheduling function on WordPress. Every WordPress site has the function that allows posting at a future time/date. In essence, I could write a week’s worth of posts and schedule one to post each day of the week.

As you read this, if indeed you’re reading this on the 21st, I am most probably attending the London Steemians Meetup in Kensington, organised by the awesome @redrica. This would normally mean I’d not be able to post anything through the day, so what a perfect time to test this function!

I have also gotten a suggestion from the SteemPress team about how to fix my banner that fails to propagate to Steem. It has been suggested that I change the Markdown format to HTML and see what happens.

Scheduling already exists in some of the dapps on the blockchain, I must mention. eSteem definitely has it, so even if you don’t have a WordPress site like me, you could use eSteem to achieve the same thing.

I am fairly confident that this will work as intended. I am slightly less confident about the banner, however, but I guess we shall find out tomorrow. Or “today”.

The Future Of Monetisation Is Here

This is yet another Steem Blockchain related post. In this post I’m going to be testing to see if by using the “palnet” tag here on a WordPress site, the post is propagated all the way to the Palnet.io Steem Blockchain condenser.

Palnet.io is a new (at the point of writing this) Steem based dapp that employs its own token, PAL, to reward content. Palnet.io is, however, plugged into the Steem Blockchain much like other Steem dapps, and any content created using that condenser is available to other Steem condensers.

The reverse is not necessarily true though. In order for a post to appear on Palnet.io, the “palnet” tag must be included in the post. It needs not be the first one, it just needs to be one of the allowed five.

The test is thus quite a simple one – I will be using said “palnet” tag. We already know that posts propagate relatively well to the Steem Blockchain with the included tags. I am expecting this to happen seamlessly.

In which case, consider a time when multiple blockchains implement this technology. I imagine having several blockchains able to reward posts, and having your content propagated to their dapp simply by the use of a tag and a WordPress plugin. The same post made on a WordPress website has the possibility of being automatically published across multiple locations, each with its own monetary incentives.

In the old/present paradigm, most monetised websites are relying on advertising programs such as Adsense or affiliate marketing. Under this system, the most valuable thing is traffic. The higher traffic to your website, the better chance of earnings. In the tokenised future, the potential is limitless. In that world, community would supersede traffic as the desired thing.

That future has arrived, even if only at its infancy. We’ve had it on the Steem Blockchain for 3 years. Soon enough, the rest of the world will start paying attention.

Testing Amazon Affiliate Links

This is yet another Steem Blockchain test, this time related to affiliate links and how they propagate to Steem from a WordPress blog. In this post, I am using Amazon affiliate links specifically.

At this point I’m obliged to inform you that these are real Amazon affiliate links that I am using in this test. What that means is if you click a linked product, it will take you to Amazon. If you then purchase an item, and a bunch of other Amazon affiliate link requirements are met, then I may receive a tiny commission from Amazon for referring you to their website. This is all at no extra cost to you.

That’s pretty much how most affiliate links work. Each link contains an affiliate ID of sorts which identifies the affiliate (me). From the moment the link is clicked, a countdown timer is triggered. If the item is purchased within the required window of time, then the commission is applied to the affiliate’s account at some point.

There are strict rules and requirements that have to be adhered to otherwise the transaction is voided and no commission is paid. One of such rules, at least with Amazon, is that I inform my audience/readers that I am using such a link, and the results of clicking.

The aim is transparency. Amazon want’s to avoid shilling of products for shilling sake. I mean, you can still shill for shilling sake, but transparently. It’s thus up to the consumer to decide if or not to trust the content creator’s opinion of the product being shilled.

The product I’m shilling in this post is the Kodak ColorPlus 200 35mm film. For those that don’t know what this is, it’s a roll of photographic film with 36 exposures – which means it allows you to take 36 photos when loaded into a film camera. It’s one of, and the most common, format of photographic film. It’s also one of the few films that are still being manufactured today, so it is widely available and is relatively cheap to buy.

This film is the one I now use the most following the discontinuation of the AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200. Below is an example image I shot on this film.

In terms of the propagation of the affiliate linked photo, and text, to the Steem Blockchain, I can’t envisage any issues. After all, these are just standard URLs even if they contain custom IDs. The processing is done on Amazon’s servers, not locally on the user’s computer.

The type of Amazon affiliate linking I’ve used in this post is the most basic type. I have used my own image, grabbed a link to the product on Amazon.com and linked it manually. Since I used Amazon.com, I will only get commissions from customers in the United States of America. If I want commissions from other regions, I’d have to also provide links to the required specific Amazon stores such as Amazon.co.uk for the UK, Amazon.ca for Canada, e.t.c.

This is a royal pain in the butt, and is how a lot of affiliates had done it for many years. Some clever folk have written scripts or plugins to make the process easier, but it’s always a little cumbersome nonetheless. Amazon has since stepped in to help with the process by providing various tools including one that tries to automatically route your link to the correct store.

In future I will try out these more complex forms of linking to see how the blockchain interfaces like Steemit.com and Busy.org respond.

Embedding DTube Videos

This experimental post will be testing two things essentially; the ability to embed DTube videos on a WordPress blog, and how Steem applications respond to it.

The above is one of my recent DTube videos. By default, interfaces like Busy auto embed the video within the post. Steemit on the other had just displays the video thumbnail as a linked graphic to the video on DTube.

It is actually possible to embed a DTube video within a Steemit post but it has to be done after the fact as a edit. The edit also breaks Busy’s (and other dapps’) embed of the video unfortunately.

My expectation is that this post will display correctly on WordPress and Steemit – since the embed method is the same for the two platforms. On Busy and other platforms, however, I expect the video to not be displayed in an embedded form. Rather I expect there to be some kind of error code, or the iframe code displayed as text.

Another thing that I noticed is that the default width of the embedded video is 512 pixels. This doesn’t look nice to me on WordPress, as the text paragraph width is much wider than that. I edited the iframe code and changed the width to 1200 pixels. I’m not sure what the effect of that would be on Steemit or Busy.

Anyhow it doesn’t matter much right now. This video will not be playable at some point when it gets deleted from the IPFS server, so DTube isn’t really the best place to embed videos from right now. There are other IPFS solutions that will keep the video for much longer (as long as the correct payment is kept up I believe).

Nevertheless, I find the exercise interesting just to see what’s possible and how various platforms respond to inputs from WordPress.

Testing Video Posts

In terms of content creation, I’m about 50-50 between articles and videos. Most people are mostly one or the other.

This is why it is crucial in this early stage of building my website that the template I’ve selected works well with video posts.

There are two ways I could post a video. I could upload it natively to the website, or much better, embed it from a 3rd party video host such as YouTube or Vimeo. In future I will probably be looking at IPFS options and self-hosting, but that’s cost prohibitive at the moment.

Besides, I hardly create what could be termed ‘controversial’ content, so I haven’t ever experienced content censorship that I’m aware of. As such, I’m not as concerned about decentralised file hosting as others are, even though I do support it as the way forward.

Uploaded Video

This short video was uploaded directly to the website so every time it is watched, it takes from the bandwidth allowance. The onus is also on the web servers to serve the video. Since it’s a short sequence that probably won’t be watched that much, It’s perfectly fine for now. If it goes viral for whatever reason and it starts to weigh down my website, then I may take it down. 🙂

I’m more interested in seeing how the video is presented on the Steem Blockchain – so when viewing on Steemit, will it show as if embedded?

Embedded Video

The following video is embedded from YouTube. It’s a vlog I made back in 2016 during one of our Instagram meet ups in London.

Embedding videos from YouTube work very well on Steem – perhaps even better than on WordPress. I’m expecting the YouTube embedded videos to work as expected without issue.


These posts from WordPress in the early days of my new website, apart from serving as a way of testing that everything is working, also help me see what the issues are with posting to Steem directly from my website via SteemPress.

In my last post, I noticed the footer didn’t make it across to Steem. It did in the first post, so I don’t know if something has changed since then.

In coming posts I’ll be testing tables and some text formatting. I already know text colour will not make it through. I have, however, seen certain font formats on Steem that I’ve been unable to achieve using Markdown so I assume that’s an HTML thing.

Taking My Time

Things aren’t as they used to be on the Internet. When I started publishing on my previous website of the same url, I just installed WordPress, configured a theme and started blogging.

I paid little attention, because I didn’t have to, to legal and regulation issues related to having a website these days.

This time around there are numerous UK, EU and global regulations to adhere to, especially because I plan to be deriving some kind of income from this venture at some point.

I need to create up-to-standard Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and other such pages due to some new, very strict regulations.

This is why it is taking a while for my website to be ready for purpose. It’s also partly because this kind of paperwork puts me off. When I’m done, I will probably hire a professional to give the site a once-over to ensure I’m in compliance with all the required laws and regulations.

There’s also Article 13, which I’m not too bothered about since I mainly create my own content. I don’t do reaction videos, movie reviews or covers of other people’s songs. I should be fine on that ground.

When it comes to deriving income, a big difference now is that we have the Steem Blockchain, with with the help of SteemPress, I can plug my website into. I already have community on there, as well as a source of revenue for my posts.

As such, I will probably completely disable the built in comments section of WordPress – which is mainly spam and hacking attempts now anyway. I also don’t have to worry about generating so much traffic just yet – in order to benefit from Google Adsense.

I can however use my Affiliate Marketing links, including banners and photo blocks.

The initial dream is for this website to pay for itself so it is at least sustainable for now. My previous websites had not done that, so they were kind of a financial liability.

I could just blog directly using one of the dApps (decentralised Applications) on there, but the way things are going, everyone is moving towards having their own independent system, but plugged into a decentralised blockchain like Steem. This gives me a lot more control of things like – how long my content stays up for and how I present the information.

For now I’m just grateful for this technology and the opportunity it brings for small creators like myself to share and monetise our stuff.