I was reminded recently that I joined twitter because a package was delivered to my house by mistake and the only company information on it was a twitter handle. Sidenote, getting that package to its rightful owner I learned that tons of people will tell you everything about where someone lives and all sorts of other personal details even if say you don’t want to know and you just want to send a package back.
Thinking about that reminded me that I joined Facebook because I heard Paul F Thompkins had a deal where if you got 300 people in your area to join a FB group he would come to do stand-up in your town. Shortly afterwards I found out that he had stopped doing that because a guy in Texas repeatedly set up tons of fake accounts to get him to come to book shows that no one would buy tickets for. Why? Did that person have a personal beef with Paul F Thompkins? Also he doesn’t even do stand-up anymore.
One time I almost joined Instagram because I wanted a lady to draw a picture for me and that was her only contact. Thankfully I had someone else make that request for me.
Wattpad calls itself social media but seems different to me. I joined that because a guy on another blog talked about it.
Twitter sent me down a Kickstarter hole the other day and I saw all kinds of cool comic books that will never be made. That got me to thinking about all the great stuff on Wattpad I read that will never be made.
That got me to thinking about a guy I used to game with sometimes. He was in a band called the Hudson Falcons. I was curious if I would find anything about them with google and I did.
He got back from a tour of Europe and decided to hang it up and work in an office. I found this a surprising. I figured if a band was touring Europe that meant they were doing well.
He told me something that has stuck with me. I’ve probably blogged about it before. He had come to realize that “normal” jobs are expandable. The more people there are in the world the more accountants and firefighters and electricians and male strippers you need. For every X people you need Y accountants and firefighters and electricians and male strippers to meet the demand of those people.
On the other hand with art, be it music or acting or painting or writing or drawing or whatever, you don’t always need more people doing it. The same number of people can fulfill the demand for everyone no matter how many people there are. The Beetles aren’t even a thing anymore and they can fulfill a good chunk of music needs no matter how many people like music.
As he put it tons of people can be mediocre accountants and live a pretty sweet life whereas you can be a fantastic artist and never make a dime. In theory one super awesome singer could meet the music needs of everyone in the world, but those people would still need millions of accountants.
It’s kind of a bummer for all those comic book people on Kickstarter and Wattpad but as my yoga lady says, we don’t get angry about these things or frustrated about them, that’s just the way that it is.
I wonder sometimes what the difference is between acceptance and nihilism. I know that one is good and adult and the other is for immature sadboys who watch too much Fight Club.
I think Wattpad is closer to Medium or a blog than modern social media, in terms of the interactions they encourage and the way they make their money.
I don’t think I agree with your all-art-is-zero-sum premise. Tastes change on a broad scale over time. Mozart and Beethoven aren’t as popular as they used to be, and someday the Beetles will be classical music. Plus, tastes have become more and more fractal. There are only so many slots for pop superstars, but there are more artists with smaller chunks of the audience. Lots of indie bands make a living for decades, even if they never have a top 100 hit. And as long as the population is growing, so is the audience.
Nihilism is when nothing matters so you stop caring. Acceptance is when nothing matters, so you don’t have to worry about it.
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I do wonder as technology makes content easier to create and distribute if fame as we know it know will go away and in the future everyone will have a couple hundred followers for whatever thing they make.
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Thanks for this. For me, acceptance means I can be perfectly happy in one of the expandable jobs, and still create as a hobby. I have no expectations that my writing will result in monetary gain (and I’m not sure I want it to) but I do it because it makes me happy.
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