Sunday, October 27, 2013

On working for free

Many of you will nod in agreement with Tim Kreider's opinion piece, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!" Kreider decries the practice of asking writers and artists to contribute their work for free. Allow me to add a few additional points:

1. What bugs creative folk is being asked to work for someone else for free. Working for oneself -- without giving a single thought to an editor, a patron, or even an audience -- is addictive. Hence the continued existence of this humble blog.

2. With so many people addictively expressing themselves online, there is no shortage of good, unrecompensed writing on the internet. This unprecedented competition makes life impossible for those who want to write for pay. "No man but a fool ever wrote, save for money," said Samuel Johnson. Alas, a world of fools can crowd out the non-fool.

3. Everybody's a wannabe artist now. Our art schools teem. Even though digital art software is capable of wonders, this is a great time to be a manufacturer of art supplies (I cannot believe how many quality brands of oil paint are out there!) and a terrible time to be an artist.

Kreider's piece has one passage which deserves quotation:
In fairness, most of the people who ask me to write things for free, with the exception of Arianna Huffington, aren’t the Man; they’re editors of struggling magazines or sites...


Zolodoco said...

These days I seldom contribute anything online. Even on Reddit I frequently delete accounts in order to clear content. I don't want to give my words away for free when sooner or later the site owner's going to cash in on the user base and its contributions. What do the users get out of that? Nada.

Anonymous said...

same thing is happening in the music realm now for some time. it is getting worse..

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