I- So hi JB! What did you invite us here for today?
M-Hey there! I wanted to discuss the digital age and it’s impact upon creative people.
I-You did! And what makes you think you know so much about it?
M-Well, I have been sharing my creations on the internet since 2002.
I-Okay, that does seem like a long time to be sharing creations but how long have you been actually creating?
M-Hmm, well let’s see . . . I began writing seriously when I was 12. I have always been good at that. I got straight A’s in English/Creative Writing classes as long as I can remember. Not bragging, just trying to demonstrate that I have always had enough talent in that arena and every teacher noticed it. As for music, I discovered rock and roll in 7th grade. By the time I was 15, I had learned to play some songs on bass and was in my 1st band. After having problems finding a decent singer, we had a discussion about it and I confessed to being able to sing. Truth was, I was one of the lead vocalists in choir throughout elementary school but did not want to be that in a band. The singer in a band received more attention than I wanted. To make a long story short, once they found out I could sing, they found another bassist and I was stuck with it.
Lastly came graphics, which I began learning in 2001. They were some of the first things I shared on the internet. Well, graphics & writings because both were much easier uploaded back in the days of dial-up internet. I am currently 49 yrs. old, so I am guessing you can do the math.
I- Yep! That is 37 yrs. writing, 34 yrs. playing music, 13 yrs. making graphics, and 12 yrs. of sharing them on the internet. Sounds like you do have plenty of experience at both creating and sharing. So then, when you speak about this subject, I guess you might actually know what you are talking about.
M-Damn straight! Hell, I ran a community on MSN Groups. I created multiple websites. At one point, I was even in discussions with a TV star regarding building them a website. I have been sharing graphics, writings, & even my own music since 2002. I had to create an entire website just to share the music, but I did it because people wanted it.
I-Okay. So I sense that you have an insider’s view to the internet from a creative person’s point of view. So then, I presume you have something to say about it?
M-Well, of course I do! Do you think I would have invited you here for nothing?
I-Hmm, I am the one who’s supposed to be asking the questions.
M-Is that a hard rule for this interview?
I-For now, yeah kinda.
M-Okay, well fine. Anyway, I have noticed a lot of change in regards to sharing and the internet in general. Especially for people who create original material. In the earlier days of the internet, people used to appreciate the fact that someone took the time to create something original & share it. They used to comment & share it with their friends. Now, well, it is different. The digital age combined with social media to create an internet society of faux-people.
M-Yes, faux-people. They are just a bunch of photographs of people who pretend to be your friends, fans, or followers. But they never really communicate with you. They do this, in the retarded hope that they will gain more friends, fans, or followers. What none of them seem to get, is that all they are gaining is faux-friends, faux-fans, and faux-followers. None of them are real. It is just another photo, a number, and ultimately an illusion, if there is no communication. The result is the truly creative people are getting lost in the mix.
To top this off, the digital age is now upon us. Everything is now just a download away and so much of it is free. They want their books free, their music free, their TV shows free, and soon all their games and movies free, too.
Because all this is going on, creative people are expected to spend money on their craft, whether it be that college education to write, or the cost of equipment to create music, or painting supplies, or software. Whatever…they are now expected to create and then share everything for free. In return, they get a few likes. Most of the time, people are not even listening, or watching, or reading, because they don’t have to. They just got a free link to their website or profile, by clicking a button.
I-That seems like a very cynical point of view.
M-Yes, unfortunately it does but the evidence of 2 different experiments indicates it is true.
I-Experiments? What experiments?
M-The first one was with my first book. With the cost of the two printed books I bought for previewing, I’d barely made any money. So I decided to briefly give away copies in hopes of getting more reviews and that people would share it with others. I gave out 219 copies of it. I received one review. Granted , that one review was from a book reviewer who gave the book 5 stars and even purchased a printed copy, but still you would expect more than one review, when giving out a couple of hundred books. I should have learned then, that people don’t appreciate anything that is free.
To this day, more than 3 yrs. later, numerous people have told me they liked the book verbally, or through email, yet only one review has ever been posted.
The second experiment I did, was give away all my music that I have shared online. All I asked is if you downloaded anything, to please like my Facebook band page, or become a fan, or at least, share the post with others.
Over the course of the week I received a total of 14 downloads. That’s it!
Of course, one could argue that the music must be bad. All of it is complete trash! But if you have been told by thousands of people over a time period of 12 years that it is not bad, then that leads to a different conclusion. Nobody is reading the posts and nobody shared that post. The second part of that conclusion can be and was verified. I personally checked myself. Nobody shared that post in any of the 5 places I posted it.
I-Well, I would have to agree that the evidence of both of those experiments is pretty conclusive. So what does this mean for you? I assume that was your point of this interview.
M- Indeed it was! It was this final revelation that creating and uploading music that nobody is going to listen to or share, is absolutely a complete waste of time and resources. Quite simply Gibson guitars, software DAWs, Casio Keyboards, Korg midi controllers, amps, mics, iPads, apps, etc.etc.etc. are not free. They do not grow on musical trees! Music does not create itself either. It takes lots of time and knowledge. If fans cannot appreciate these facts enough, to at least share a post about you giving away free music, then the whole entire point in sharing becomes moot.
Therefore, I am officially announcing that I will no longer be uploading any more music for public consumption. Edit- Had a change of heart regarding this. You can read more about it in this post.
I- Ouch! That seems rather drastic but I have to agree. If you cannot give away something, there is no point in wasting time and money to share it. Is that all or did you have anything else to add?
M- I suppose there is one more thing.
I- Well then, out with it!
M- I hope the same thing does not happen with my next book. I am currently on the final chapter but am dreading finishing it. Fact is, I almost abandoned it altogether. Between what happened with the first book, which really sucked away my motivation, and the book’s content, I nearly walked away from writing it.
I- Okay, I get the loss of motivation due to circumstances surrounding the first book, but what about the second book’s content made you consider walking away?
M- The idea, the concept behind the book, was to create an entirely new mythology for a monster that was real. Not something fake like werewolves, vampires, or zombies. I found the perfect candidate in shadow beings. Many paranormal shows, and even old black and white pictures, have caught evidence that they exist, but nobody knows what they are or where they come from or why they are here. I have created a story that answers those questions and more. It is believable, plausible, and scary as hell. However, I was and still am, concerned that the world is not ready for a real horror. I still worry that this story will give people real nightmares, and that it will only exacerbate their reluctance to share.
Besides, if this book is released and it produces the same results as the last one, I fear the consequences of that.
I- By consequences, what do you mean? Are you implying an end to your writing books?
M- Well, not only that. Of course, there would be no reason to publically post anymore writings. If fans won’t review or share them, then it also becomes pointless.
But the deep, dark secret is, that I find myself as a man without purpose, and what is the point in that?
I- As I said before, I ask the questions, not you.
M- Yeah well, I often don’t follow the rules. So answer the one question, I have given you, and answer it honestly.
I- Fine! A man without purpose is worthless! He has no direction, no goals. He is a stagnant pool of water. Every breath he takes, is a breath someone else more deserving, should take. A man without purpose would be better off dead and providing fertilizer to whatever grows above him.
M- That was rather harsh but thank you for your honesty.
I- And thank you for taking the time to do the interview with me. I am certain your words will give many food for thought.