Hello there! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything review related. Here’s why:
In 2015, I had the idea for O2 Reviews which was basically my personal version of a dumbed-down Rotten Tomatoes where I categorized the film-making process and ranked each section with a breathable O2 meter. The downside was that it made the review process overly tedious for me and it was unintentionally super biased and would not remain consistent over time. I only got two versions of these completed and you can find them here on the site for an example. I haven’t removed them because I like the idea of them staying up for historical purposes haha.
The new version of O2 Reviews will be a lot simpler and, more importantly, fun for me write! I’ve decided that when I want to do a review, it’ll be on something that I already like. I figured writing a whole article on something I don’t like, or only have a marginal interest in, would be a giant waste of time. So basically I’m embracing my biases and being up front about it!
This leads me to the next segment of this post: My first review since 2015!
Bear with me on this one. I’m going to be rambling more than anything else since I don’t have a great structure set up for these newer reviews. This one is going to also be a little unique as it is a website/app rather than a piece of fiction or entertainment. However, let’s dive right in!
I started using Minds about 8 days ago (Jan 10) after I saw the CEO on a podcast that I like. They were discussing a decentralized internet, block-chaining and crypto currency… yeah, I know, if you’d like me to break those topics down, I probably can’t. Over my head. But it did sound interesting and got me researching the site itself. They advocate free speech above all else and the ability to monetize users’ posts (more on that later). This was just as Parler was being taken down off Apple and Google stores for harboring “violent rhetoric”, but that’s beside the point and not really a motivator in why I downloaded Minds.
I downloaded the app on my phone while simultaneously setting up an account online at the website. Therefore, this review is of both of them, not either one in particular. The look, feel, and usability of the site/app works as you’d expect a big tech company platform to function. It’s kind of similar to Facebook but mixed with Youtube and Twitter, if that’s possible. There are a few hiccups as the devs seem to be battling with Big Tech to remain available on the app stores, so, for example, they disabled the Comments function on the Apple phones leading up to the inauguration, which has really hampered my experience on the app. But the website itself still functions at full capacity. The CEO has stated that they try to maintain a presence on various servers in order to prevent one company from having full control over access to their platform.
There are many familiar and new features on Minds. It has Groups for people to follow a certain topic and engage with others. For posting, it has the ability for photos and video (the video requires your silent button on the phone to be turned off) and you can tag your posts with up to 5 tags for more specified audience reach. You can filter out ads and also filter to only see Minds+ posts for more original content. You can also create membership tiers for your subscribers much like Patreon and Buymeacoffee. And when you and another member subscribe to each other it links you as a “Match” and you have the ability to DM that user in the messenger tab. The retweet function is here as well, but it’s called Remind. You can remind your own past posts and it brings that post back to the top of your profile along with any posts you have Pinned. I think you can only Pin 3 posts at a time since I pinned a fourth post and the first post I pinned no longer stayed at the top.
Let’s back up really quick. I had completely sworn off social media for all of 2020. Let me say that again, I did not use social media (other than Discord for gaming) for an ENTIRE YEAR! And I felt great. Twitter user engagement was nonexistent before that, not sure how that site works still. And Instagram was a narcissistic black hole for me, as I’d only post the best pictures I’d taken in order to get a smattering of likes. I deleted FB for good in 2019, best decision ever as that place was just a fight waiting to happen on a daily basis. Sorry. I promise this has a point. The reason I got onto Minds.com was to have a portal from my website into a social media platform that I felt was designed for creators. I’ll explain more about that below.
CONTENT MONETIZATION + CRYPTO INTEGRATION
The biggest feature I like about Minds is the ability to monetize your posts. So when you go to post an image, video or text it has a money symbol ($) and when you click on that it brings up a Terms of Service prompt which details what content can be monetized. I scanned through it. It’s basically anything that you have created, nothing reposted from someone else or trademarked material. I’m not sure how they are going to enforce that but I bet it’ll be case by case for now. For the monetization itself, it works by how well your post performs and you get paid out of the pool of money that their premium members pay for.
Premium membership is called Minds+. This costs $7/month. Having Minds+ is required in order to monetize your content and get verified by the site and have badges next to your username. I think you can have Minds+, get verified, then disable Minds+ before the 7 day trial period ends. I’ve seen a couple users do that. The site has pretty good analytics and shows you how well your posts perform in a myriad of ways from views to engagement. So with Minds+ you get paid in the form of Tokens (each token is worth $1.25, I believe) and you can spend tokens to Boost your content. Each token is worth 1,000 views. From my limited experience, I’ve gotten almost a token a day after Boosting a post. But overall, the token payout doesn’t seem consistent to me. It does show you the fraction of tokens you will be paid by the end of the day which is nice.
I honestly haven’t gotten considerably more engagement (likes and comments) from a boosted post as compared to a non-boosted post, despite the boosted post saying it has reached 1,000 views. The profile views are addicting though, because a post can lead to a profile view and that leads to more subscribers. Having subscribers and profile views are the big kickers when presenting your reach as a content creator in my opinion. A larger reach gives you more sway when approaching publishers or producers who might consider working with you in the future.
As of writing this I’ve only accrued .9 cents in my USD Minds wallet though, and it states that you only get paid when it reaches $100 AND at the end of the month. Also, it says that to get paid the $100 you need to be a Minds Pro member, which is the third and final tier. I don’t have any experience with this one, but it costs $40/month to be a Pro member. But if you’re making $100+/month on Minds then I suppose it pays for itself.
Last note on the monetization is the crypto currency aspect. It really opened my eyes to crypto since I had done little-to-no research on this subject leading up to Minds. So learning how to set up a Coinbase account/wallet and buying my first crypto currency was pretty neat. Minds tokens are propped up by ETH, or Ethereum, currency and in order to purchase more tokens you have to link an on-chain wallet (ex. Coinbase) to their off-chain wallet (Minds). Kind of confusing at first, but a good first step into the world of dealing with crypto purchasing and trading. Personally, I think this is the future of currency as the US dollar is likely teetering on the brink with the forced stimulus being pumped into the economy to prop it up. But I’m no economist, so I can’t really speak to that.
OVERVIEW + FINAL THOUGHTS
So Minds can be all of things to a lot of people, just as any social media can be. I’ve seen a great group of indie authors and comic book artists/writers on there in the past few days and they have pretty good user engagement. The Groups function is really cool, but I haven’t used it much. I also haven’t used the site’s Blog or Website function yet either. It prompts each post in the top right with a Blog option, which takes you to a separate page dedicated to that specific post. Not sure how it works, but has the potential to upload more than one photo at a time, which is a lacking feature when it comes to normal Posts. I also forgot to mention that the Website is locked behind the $40 Pro member paywall, but with the current climate of sites being cancelled for speech violations, I recommend not having your entire presence limited to one site as it could be taken down at a moment’s notice.
I mostly recommend Minds to content creators due to the monetization features it has the potential to provide. It feels good to re-engage with a social media, however limited that engagement is. I still try to keep it to a minimum due to all the political content being spread these days. And don’t get me wrong, Minds has plenty of that going on. If you pick your tags appropriately, you should be able to mostly filter it out. I do think censorship is a big deal and free speech is vital to a free society, but I also don’t like constant doom and gloom. That’s why I post mostly fiction and photography on my account.
Anyway! Hope you enjoyed this rambling review. If you want to check out Minds, here is a link. This is a referral link, so I will get paid based on any new users who use that link. I’m not being paid by Minds to write this article although that would be nice haha. Subscribe to me on WordPress or Minds for more upcoming content and give this post a Like. It’ll sure make my day!
About the author: Winston Malone lives in SLC, Utah, works full-time and writes fiction as a hobby. He’s been writing for over a decade, honing his style and ideas, pursuing different avenues of interest. Winston has written screenplays, comics, novels, and short stories while dabbling in poetry and flash fiction from time to time. You can find more of his work on his website Stormfallennovel.com.
Coffee fuels my creativity: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Winstonmalone