I like stuff.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Forget it.

Yeah, so this is my angry purist post.

This evening, I read this article: Ze, Buckley and Homestar Runner Tell All

All I will say on it is this:
I spent a year beating myself up over why I couldn't get the PostORG running. I tried adding features. I tried encouraging people to participate. I tried re-capturing that spirit that got us going in the first place.

It didn't work out. I still don't know how one could inspire, but mine couldn't. I keep telling myself that what momentum could have died when the ORG shut down, I helped keep some of it going. For a bit. Some of it because Ye-Olde-Personality Ze decided to have another project (colorwars).

You know, I've been beating myself up over failing for far too long. It's just bad feelings that I drag along with me.

So, in the spirit of me properly moving on...
1) The jargon of that period is now officially an anachronism. I'm done with it.
2) Any commenter that quotes "those jokes" is subject to unfair censorship.

It's not that I didn't make friends in that time. It's something about that time being gone, and realizing that there wasn't anything personal about it. It wasn't a greater good. It was paying attention to a charasmatic guy and his business model for it.

I also know that every dollar I spent paying for the year (plus a few months) running PostORG was something I chose. I never ran ads. I never had a business model. I refused attempts to offset my costs.

It was something I cared about.

I'm bemused that it was inspired by a guy that was looking into making a living.

It's a disconnect I should've seen more clearly.

I knew better, it just suited me to be a true-believer for a time.


boo said...

I think a greater good was served and even intentionally done. I mean a charismatic person could have sought out any kind of audience. For sure there were easier audiences to exploit if money making was the sole purpose. But IMO he appealed to and encouraged an audience of thinkers and creatives and doers who shared, for the most part, a belief in kindness, learning and tolerance and a whole lotta whimsy.

I have never held the belief that making money from it was a negative thing and was actually happy to be able to buy something to support his efforts. For me that was a personal thing.

But like anything, you get what you take from it and with The Show I got super lucky and found you and others. Wonderful people. That community concept is new and more active in online media than in any other kind but like any community can grow and change there are bound to be pains associated.

You'll prolly have to shoot me before I'd ever call what you provided a failure. There was a place to go for those who wanted to go there. A kind place.

I have seen the vibe nearly recreated in other places, like with the Vlog Brothers and their community, but I don't know if they set out to recreate that specific vibe or if it just happened. (The similarities are too numerous to count down to the personas of followers.) And when that community has its inevitable diaspora I hope they have someone like you to provide a soft pillow and that the people keep the good relationships they find.

transiit said...

What got under my skin wasn't that he wasn't that he was making money off it, hell, I bought a t-shirt and some candy myself.

I was so ready to believe that he was doing it for fun and enlightenment, for himself, the community, etc. That he would offset the cost of not working some other job, no shame there.

The article just made it all flip around in my head. Monetization was always the goal.

Thus my crustiness. I really wanted to believe.

consumatron said...

I've thought about this quite a bit ever since I found The Show... though I never really got angry about it. Perhaps this is because early on, I saw a youtube video of an interview with Ze about the Show where he used the word "exploit" when he was describing his goals for the show.

The way I look at it is that when my life gets busy, my work and my life overlap and merge. I think everyone has thought to themselves, 'gosh, i wish the things in my life that brought me joy could also be my livelihood.'

I've never found any problem with that. The Show brought us together, regardless of the initial goal. I'm willing to put money on it that even though Ze succeeded with his money making goal, it also brought him a lot more than just money.

This blur doesn't bother me. I grew tired of the "sell-out" argument when referring to culture long ago.

Maybe I'm naive, but I bet he was doing it "for fun and enlightenment, for himself, the community, etc..." It just happens that he was also doing it for money.

We did it for the community. And we accomplished a lot with the community. Quackercon was in the top three things that i did in 2008... it may even have been #1. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I had so much fun hanging out with my long-time friends...let alone internet friends.

My work's taking over the things I like to do right now, but you can bet your ass if the things I liked to do (my website, videos, etc...) suddenly brought me a living somehow, I'd put a lot more effort into them. Two reasons... Because I could and because maybe I could exploit the things I like to do and quit my dayjob...even for a little while. Though I doubt I'd feel any different about the people who admire, support and sustain my will to do those things. Some of them I consider friends, others I think of as admirers or commenters... who I appreciate, but don't really know.

Again... maybe I'm naive. Maybe the influx of riches would make me don a monocle and eat monkey brains out of live human baby skulls... but I don't think it would.

One thing I know for sure is that building any kind of community is hard, and it's even harder when you try to do it explicitly. But if my banner ads cut me a fat check every month, I know I'd have more time to participate in and/or create all of the community things I'd like to.

transiit said...

I'm not saying he sold out. It just strikes me that the creativity goal and the financial goal had different priorities than what I had believed.

boo said...

ryc: I didn't get that from the article snippet. It wasn't until several months in that he thought about going for sponsorship.

You bring about some interesting ideas though.