Flutterby™! : Consumers of the future

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Consumers of the future

2012-03-26 17:08:49.428234+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

[ related topics: Children and growing up Weblogs Work, productivity and environment Art & Culture Copyright/Trademark ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-29 01:55:31.99543+00 by: spc476

other_todd, go back some 50 years when a publisher did all the things you want and you could remain an "art hermit". How would you expect a publisher to find your work in the first place if you didn't send it in? Isn't that, however small, "promotion"?

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-27 18:29:38.926711+00 by: Dan Lyke

But, I think, you're still involved in that relationship: You're still awarding expert-witness status to someone. Where I, for instance, read the first Harry Potter book because everyone around me was reading it, and couldn't figure out why the world was so enamoured of it.

Another idea that I'll throw against the wall and see how it sticks: I do think books allow us a solitary pleasure that's shared in a sense that we'd like to think there are other people out there who'd like this. There are a couple of authors whose works I enjoy but who I kind of view as guilty pleasures; I'm overjoyed when I can have a discussion about them, but for the most part I despair of the humanity around me ever being enlightened enough to let me have that more than fleetingly.

Let's keep this going, I think there's things to be learned here...

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-27 17:47:19.473956+00 by: other_todd [edit history]

Alas, as I noted over there, I think you're right. For someone for who hates all promotion and feels that even the tiniest amount of self-praise is unbearable hubris, that's a hard pill to take.

It's not true for ME - which is another part of the problem - I shy away from water-cooler conversations, I deliberately avoid all fannish communities. I read the Harry Potter books for the same reason I read or watch or listen to anything else - because a single opinion I awarded expert-witness status said, "Hey, I think you will like this."

Essentially I want to be a consumer in a vacuum, alone and unsharing of myself, just as much as I want to be a producer in a vacuum.* I realize I'm not going to get either; what puzzles me is why more people don't understand why I think it's a good dream to have.

*Strange thing is that, as with some of the other differences we discussed, this applies to books and not music. I share music; nothing delights me more than when I link a clip and someone else says, "Hey, this is good, I need to own this." But enjoyment of books is an intrinsically private experience to me, which is why I don't ever write book "reviews" the same way I sometimes take apart films or music. I don't want to share that with anyone, and as an author, I don't want to share any of myself in my books. I'm not sure why this is, why I feel that a community experience of music improves it, but a community experience of books diminishes them. Hmm. Must think on that.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-27 17:33:26.450206+00 by: Dan Lyke

Per our twitter back-and-forths, I think we're generally in agreement on copyright as law, but we differ on what the best strategy is for an artist building a brand.

However, on the art hermit thing...

There are a ton of artists out there. The work of many of them is, frankly, interchangeable. There are only so many stories, very few concepts break the molds enough to be unique on their own. Thus the value of an artist lies in two things:

The latter is a stronger pull; It's hard to make the argument that Dan Brown novels, or the Harry Potter series, dolf on their own strengths, rather they reached critical mass to be a topic of shared conversation with nearly anyone. If you have edgy content, the former is your only mechanism (ie: we'll talk about spy thrillers with our coworkers, but NC TG BDSM is probably not a topic for the lunchroom break).

If you want to make money selling edgy content, you're going to have to build a community in which that content means something. And that either means developing the relationship with your fans yourself, or facilitating communication between your fans.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-27 16:39:52.99716+00 by: other_todd

Addendum: I don't usually read MeFi threads because I value my sanity, but something telling in this one caught my eye:

"I think that the age of the artist's work standing alone is coming to an end. No more art-hermits ... your audience wants behind the scene blogs, your twitter responses and the occasional live appearance."

That one hit me where I live, because I am an "art hermit" by that definition. To my mind the work stands alone and I shouldn't have to discuss it once it's made, much less tour. I want to drop the stories someplace, have people read them, and get paid for them. The end. This is apparently an old-fashioned and unrealistic dream now, especially now that the institutions which would take care of the necessary promotion and legwork for me have been branded Evil and Obsolete.

As I said recently in a parallel discussion about web comics: I'm not saying the syndicates were saints. I'm just saying that they DID serve a purpose.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-27 16:34:16.290025+00 by: other_todd

I like Paley, and I'm always impressed, in these half-assed days, when someone actually takes the time to sit down and talk with kids and find out how they think and what they want. So that's good. And I basically find her findings encouraging, and that's good too.

But the comment from "Jeannette" in the comments thread - which Paley says she left in only so it could be its own indictment - speaks to me as well. The kid in method #7 sounds to me EXACTLY like "I steal stuff, but I tell other people how good it is, so it's okay for me to steal it." And I don't think Paley gives enough emphasis to "how would you feel if you put in a lot of time and effort on something and then someone stole it?"

Most importantly, to my mind, none of the seven methods listed offers much in the way of guarantees that the people who make content get paid for it. If I plan to make stories for a living, I want a way of knowing that I will get adequately recompensated FOR THE STORY. I don't want to, in essence, put the story out for free and have to pin my hopes on selling enough t-shirts or getting enough donations to stay alive. That's putting my effort where my effort doesn't belong. A person whose talents lie in art or writing should not have to also be a skilled merchandiser, promoter, or beggar in order to make a living.

Paley is apparently managing to make some sort of living in a creative pursuit while simultaneously decrying copyright. Good for her. But she needs to acknowledge that her personal situation may not be representative, and not all people with creative abilities will be comfortable flying without a net the way she does.