(108): Been Reading About the Change of Life Coming Up For Medium

Not THAT change of life, silly! Image by David Jackmanson via Flickr. License.

I know I’m small fry (like one of those bioluminescent little critters who live at the dark bottom of the ocean), but I have toyed with the idea of setting up a tip jar of sorts, just a link to Paypal. I figure it might make me a spare tenner to go toward the amazingly mounting car expenses in the household. I don’t really expect to get much this way (maybe not even a tenner), but I do find that making a post every single day does eat a chunk of time into the day. I’m slow (as I’ve told people here before), so I have to think about what I’m going to write about, and on many days, I am busy with other stuff (upkeep) and end up making an off-the-cuff post.

I’ve been reading about the future of Medium lately, how it seems to be on the skids and needs a new business model. In fact, it seems the subscription model is coming our way. I detect shades of the past (ahem! Yahoo! Contributor Network!) in one of the suggested models here. See number 6: the syndication of content model. (Disclaimer: those models have nothing to do with actual planned business models for Medium; but they prompted the thought that underlies this post).

Now I had some good times when I wrote for YCN, but I wasn’t very consistent. They had a dog-eat-dog early morning writing assignment desk going on that I usually got into a little too late in the day. Finally, I decided to just write some articles that paid a little drib/drab for every 1000 views. I didn’t make much, maybe $200 for the whole year. But I was surprised at the stuff that popped, like an article on how I fixed my own kitchen sink. I think that article alone made about $100 over a couple of years. Go figure.

The articles I liked or worked really hard on would sit unheralded and unread, even after I tweeted them (ok, I’m a social media failure, so that doesn’t mean much). But there was this kind of rushed feeling/desperation mentality going on where I had to find something worthy of writing about within the constraints of the assignment, then submit it (the best paying assignments up front also always required you to give up your rights to the content forever after — I suppose that’s standard). And then Yahoo could sell the content to another service and pay you maybe $2.00 for the privilege. Then it could make the rounds on the big syndicated outfits forever and you never see another penny from it beyond the few views garnered on Yahoo! Contributor Network, aka Yahoo! Voices, then Yahoo nothing…oddly the payments for story assignments got much better towards the end, but that didn’t last long at all.

OK, that’s enough about the past…

I think I prefer writing under my own constraints (this silly pledge of “a post a day” — well, here’s today’s!) Read it at your own risk! Maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a “journalist” but more of an outsider commentator, inchoate ranter, and fanciful creator of stories and ideas. I like that better than “content creator.” Yes, I agree with you, augustkhalilibrahim!

When a creator’s typewritten (I’m old), photographed or videographed art is pigeonholed into “content,” there is a certain pain of constriction and rushed reshaping that distorts the story and discards the spark that made it special in the first place. It becomes a factory product, and in many ways, the writers are the assembly line. The difference in the character of the work is palpable and distinctive.

I remember that feeling, and I hope that I will still be able to simply post up my daily creations here without worrying about compensation or having to justify an expense by earning a break-even revenue. I already do that when I sell on Ebay and Etsy, only I signed up for it there, knowing full well what’s involved. OK, this post is all over the place, and maybe I’m content with the content (see what I did there?) or maybe I’m not.

On a final philosophical note, think of a human being. Is that being a sum of his or her content (organs, thoughts, actions, etc.), or is there a quality that transcends these parts to yield an artistic quality that isn’t evident in the contents of the human? Perhaps a poem of great beauty could be penned by the author of “10 Ways to Make Your Dog Perform a Mazurka,” but of course, how would you know? Come to think of it, that particular listicle might make for a pretty cracking good poem in itself. Maybe that’ll be tomorrow’s post; we’ll see!

‘Night y’all!