Seeds of Community: Transitioning from Steem to IRL, and from IRL to Steem

Marike van Breugel @artemislives23 days ago · 5 min read

"Hi, I'm Arty. @artemislives" Or should I smile and say, "Hi, I'm Marike."? What would my real name mean to anyone, anyway? Oh the dilemma!! It was that awkward moment when I was about to meet people face to face whom I only knew by their steem IDs. And I felt strangely vulnerable just before I entered that room - a bit like undressing before strangers.

It was the Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, meetup. On the back end of #Steemfest for some. I wanted to go out of sheer curiosity, and to support and observe this brave & creative new way of onboarding new steem bloggers. New, enthusiastic people with something to say.

I had to consult the Urban Dictionary when Jurgen, one of the hosts of the travelfeed crew, said it was nice to meet IRL. Yup - I'm dating myself. For the other confused readers who are quite happy to admit they were travelling and living & travel writing long before social media or the Urban Dictionary were ever a 'thing', IRL means 'In Real Life'.

So there we were. At Namtoms House Bar: Craft Beers on Tap. 6 seasoned Steemians and 5 enthusiastic newbies who were delighted to find a new and easy way to earn whilst blogging & travelling; curious, happily downloading apps and signing up. They had no real idea they were also joining the Steem community.

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The people who would upvote and support their blogs were referred to simply as investors, (and indeed we are). The presentation didn't talk about Steem per se, and the newbies weren't that interested anyway. As it was so succinctly pointed out during the meeting: "You don't need to know about the back end of a computer or how it works to actually use one."

After the presentation, the newbies did tech things & got signed up:

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and we braved the Thai Craft Beer experience. Not a big beer drinker when it's under 35C, I asked at the bar for red wine. LOL. "No Have. Solly" And he pointed to the menu:



I went with the Black Current Agony. Why? Aged in Oak sounded vaguely comforting to this red wine drinker. How was it? Well, it was aptly named, let's leave it at that.


A bit like sour Ribeena with fizz. LOL. The Aussies of my vintage will get that.

But the whole evening got me thinking about connection, how communities come to be and the transition from online chit-chat to real life, face to face. About the unfurling of community. Not everyone WANTS to be face to face, as was evidenced in the group photo. :) Facial recognition software is real, and not everyone wants to be in that Great Big Databank. But I could FEEL that the common steem values counted for a lot when we physically sat side by side, and made connection so much easier. I enjoyed to sit with @gooddream and was pleased to get home and be able send him my WITNESS VOTE. Haven't done that yet? I recommend @gooddream as a man who puts himself forward for the development of steem, who's into manual curation, proof of brain and NOT into stupid random downvoting, nor downvote trails. He showed up. An encourager.

But more than all of that, I saw how it works in reverse. How IRL, a smile and an encouraging word from others who are out there blogging, earning and doing, makes it so much easier for people to download the app, have people to ask questions of, and to get started.

I also saw and learned how each of us needs to redefine "travel blogger". No, you don't need to be a broke-arsed nomadic person under 30 living in dorms and doing it hard. Do you LIVE in an interesting place people might enjoy to visit? Share your experience (along with 250 words minimum and some great original photos or a video) and voila you, too, are a travel blogger!!! Don't forget to use #travelfeed as your first tag.

I saw clearly that the ones who founded, fought and bled to START Steem are actually not likely to be the ones to take it to mass adoption. That's a normal transition in any entrepreneurial start up, and Steem is no different.

I came away from the meet-up clutching my give away elephant keychain (thank you!) and a bunch of postcards to leave in nomad-travel-spots about town.


Mostly though, I came away ENCOURAGED by Steem and its potential. Encouraged by a Witness who is passionate and real. Encouraged by other Steemians who came simply to encourage. Encouraged by the enthusiasm of the newbies. Encouraged by the foresight and creative work of

If anyone has any pro-tips on the Craft Beer front to make my next visit to Namtons more enjoyable on the beer front, I'm all ears. :)

Grateful for the growing global Steem community. IRL.

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I sure wish I was there for this part of the trip! Thanks for letting me see it anyway :)


Organic, shade grown, great Northern Thai coffee is on me when you manage to find your way to Chiang Mai. :)


Marike ... loved meeting you in person! Thank you for sharing your ideas and some Chiang Mai knowledge with us! Hope to run into you soon again!


No doubt it will happen! :) Appreciated the energy, vision and enthusiasm. :)


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A huge hug from @amico! 🤗

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Thank you, my dear. x


It was fun to talk to you the other night. Sorry i was dodging the cameras but really, it wasn't because of facial recognition... haha


I could edit it to say "some people are just delicate and naturally camera shy"... LOL


Wait.. What?! Facial Recognition is real? I thought it was only something that helped me orgasnize pictures on my apple phone. Great :-/ .. so I guess Big Brother IS watching



It was nice to meet you, Marike! See you around Chiang Mai 😊


You too, Raine! Get thee to a Nomad Girls Wednesday lunch. Bleep me in discord or messenger for a coffee next week. :)


Cool! What's your discord? Couldn't find you by your Steem username. Mine is wanderein#2103
Looking forward to see you again and the Nomad Girls 😊


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M. Orlev @orlev23 days ago

Loved reading your post! It is a very interesting issue of our time, the difference between VR and IRL... Have you heard of yes theory? They're a ytc, or started out as one... They made the transition between setting up an online community, and making meet ups and events IRL..
For me personally of course, the ecoVillage is a prime example of meeting people online (mainly fb groups..) and going on to collaborate IRL.. I'm hoping to meet more steemians in future of course, there are a few I'm in touch with now... Can't wait to meet here in Portugal... It's a very strange and exciting privilege that the information age has afforded us.


ytc? lol... my Urban Dictionary gets a lot of use!! The transition to community is fascinating and if you consider that VR and the internet is often now our first point of connection, it SHOULD change the way we do that.


Ribena with fizz? Ha, I get that one. I had a boyfriend that had one daily. And they DID sell fizzy Ribena at one stage! Its so cool to meet 'virtual' people IRL, F2F. Xxx Looks like you have a lovely time!


It was a very 80s thing, Ribena LOL. I'm trying to imagine what an 80s boyfriend with a daily Ribena habit might actually look like.... haha.... Please save the first Aussie meet up till end April - I have 95% confirmed a visit to VIC - just waiting on inflow of funds over the festive-busy season to be able to buy the tickets. Or will you already have gallivanted off somewhere?


I was hoping to see you at SF4!!! Where are you right now?


I had no idea what IRL meant so thank you for that. I look forward to the day I get to meet some more Steemians in person. Loving the enthusiasm you shared I really have a lot of faith in this community. That beer really did sound pretty dodgy xxx


Feeling better to not be the only one LOL. :)

sayee @sayee23 days ago

wow, it must have been great to meet all those people and see the real behind the @names. Thanks for sharing your experience.


It WAS great. And fun. And encouraging and a great beginning to the ext phase of steem.


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