Money does not make the world go round, because if all legal tender and all human life was wiped off the face of the earth, I would imagine that the Earth would continue to spin on it’s axis.
Have you seen this image posted on Facebook recently? “Humans are the only species that pay to live on Earth.” Sadly, the first thing I thought after reading that statement was how we humans have also seemingly made it difficult for almost all other species to live here.
I wish I could tell you who first said or wrote this, or first made this image (which is semi-ironic as you’ll discover by the end of this blog)… But a quick search didn’t yield any answers to that, it just lead me to more quotes floating around the Internet… But, that’s not what this posting is about. And this isn’t a post about the horrors of money, or evils of capitalism, or an answer to how to live in a world without some form of legal tender…
This past week The Facebook went public, or a portion of it’s stock went public… And while this post isn’t about stock prices, the stock market, or Facebook, someone at some time and place put the company at a value of 104 billion dollars. And what the heck is Facebook in all actuality?
Without getting into details, or facts… As I see it, Facebook is just a collection of personal data, access to the public at large, and a massive amount of content that we, the public share FREELY to other members of the public FREELY… And for all that FREE stuff… 104 billion dollars. And, even if it’s only worth 10 billion, 1 billion, 1 million, or $100,000… That isn’t what I’m choosing to write about either…
YouTube is much the same… FREE content created FREELY by the public, for display FREE to the public… That company apparently is worth billions as well.
Now grant it, there are some individuals who qualify for “partnership” and do receive some money back from YouTube… And I truly have never ever had an issue with people making money… I mean, why not right? So, yes, you can color me a little envious or jealous.
Admittedly, I am as big as a sucker as you are, probably even bigger… I have invested so much time, efforts and money (for photography and recording equipment) in creating web content for some of these sites… I have uploaded hundreds of minutes of videos (if not thousands), hundreds of thousands of words (if not millions), hundreds of images… All FREELY. Even this site, while it’s FREE to me to post, and FREE to you to read. Some where someone is paying something for servers and equipment, and someone else some where else is valuing this company at some amount.
The question of WHY comes to mind… Not as in, “Why is a particular company worth something?” But as in… WHY do we post and give away content FREELY… Why?
To look for shallow boosts to a fledgling ego? To gain approval for actions or appearances? To attempt to create PR with the public at large? To be seen or heard? To be discovered?
I’m sure there are loads of psychological studies on the subject of why social media sharing sites have sprung up and are so popular, and I am not really interested in that question… I’m much more interested in… “Monetization.” How can we, the content creators monetize our efforts, and should/could we…
We’re not all born from economically wealthy families, or married to spouses who make enough cash that we don’t have to work… The majority of us have rent or mortgage payments, gym memberships, cell phones bills… Well, most of us have basic “living in modern America” expenses to pay. And, while I’m not so sure about you or your friends, so far not one landlord or corporation has ever waved my rent or bill because of any of the FREE CONTENT I’ve put out into the world.
I love what I do… I love it so much I do it for FREE… I am honored by each and every positive comment on a video or blog, and each and every new subscriber/reader/watcher/follower.
And that FINALLY leads me to the question or point of this blog posting: With all of us, professionals, amateurs, hobbyist, moms, up-and-comers, teens, singers, writers, film-makers, photographers, posting all our stuff for FREE… Where almost all of us are just honored and happy to be seen or heard… How do any of us turn our passion for posting, for production, for creativity into cash to pay our bills or save enough to purchase homes or have families?
And it’s not that everyone isn’t getting paid… We all know that some are still getting paid extremely well… (Robert Downey Jr. was paid over 50 million for 37 minutes of screen time in The Avengers?) A lot of us professionals and amateurs that do post FREELY on line, or act in web series for free or next to nothing, do so with the hopes that we become one of those fortunate few in the future.
Here’s another question: Could all the FREE content that we are creating and posting FREELY, actually be creating an environment where getting paid for being creative is becoming that much more difficult? Creating a societal belief that all creative content should be FREE… Not realizing that even “FREE” things can have astronomical value to someone else? Or splitting our collective attention into millions of niches where monetization is that much more difficult?
I suppose this is really just a chip off an iceberg of a discussion, but as I have several projects in front of me, and I have to decide which one to give time & attention to… As a professional, “monetization,” whether in the near or distant future, is impossible for me to overlook as a factor in deciding which one to invest in.
– Quiche Out
What are your thoughts on any or all of this?