Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Sammy and Sam. Sam is my second hand-made Christmas ornament from Lanin at N'Toonz based on one of my favorite Internet comic strips, Melonpool. Lanin can turn 2D pictures into wonderful 3D polymer clay sculptures. This year, try to buy some hand-crafted items rather than mass-produced dreck for Christmas. You'll make two people happy - yourself and the artist.

One thing the Internet allows us to do is see exactly what people around the world are capable of. Talented folks place their photography, art, and writing on the Internet where it can be freely accessed and enjoyed. Most of the time, I find myself impressed by just how good so many people are. The sheer volume of talented people out there boggles the mind.

Unfortunately, most of those talented individuals are competing for attention with a great many others and it's difficult to attract people to your web site. There's so much content to consume that you are lucky if people contribute a few seconds or minutes of their day to your site, let alone offer any of their cash as a contribution to you, make an effort to visit your advertisers, or buy products related to your site's content.

I read a good many sites which offer up the fruits of various folks creative labor and, occasionally, they post about how disheartened they are because they toil long and hard but seem neither to get more readers nor make any appreciable money from their endeavors. In part, this is a reflection of too many entertainers competing for an audience with too little time to attend to them all. It's also a sad fact that the avenue by which thousands of creative people can make their work known is one that is popular in large part because content is "free" and people rarely go out of their way to financially support the sites that they enjoy. They do this either because they can't afford to or they feel entitled to have content without paying for it.

For my part, I try very hard to empathize with these folks and put myself in their shoes. I like to be paid for my work so I do what I can to pay for theirs. I send donations and buy items (usually books) related to their content. My husband also does his part to support content of value by paying for premium subscriptions to various sites. I want to live in a world where creativity and talent are rewarded so I have to be act in a way that contributes to that kind of world.

There are some creative people who would be very happy if you contributed the amount of one cup of coffee or tall latte to them once a year as a way of thanking them for the entertainment they offer you on a daily basis. Even if you love a dozen sites, you can afford to give them each a little money just one month of the year as a way of thanking them and voicing your conviction that creative content deserves to be rewarded and confirming that you value the work they do. Doing so also allows you to offer an affirmation that you want to live in a world where people whose labor makes your life a little brighter should and can (hopefully) make a living doing so.

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