I graduated from college in 2012. 10 years ago, we didn’t have Patreon and I think GoFundMe wasn’t very popular; we barely had Bandcamp, but Soundcloud was still making some buzz, even without a button for donations. In my niche at the time, teachers debated PayPal and I wondered what the hell that was. The thought of receiving money from abroad was absolutely out of my mind. But then Twitter started getting complicated. All sorts of narratives popped up, and people well-informed in subjects you didn’t spend any time researching. They made threads, they elongated the tweet character limit, and more journalists started to get in touch — until some of them needed to relocate. To talk about what the media didn’t want them to, they moved to Substack, a platform where subscribers come and pay on demand. You produce more of that stuff that you’re offering, and this would be a stable business where creators get what they need and the user is happy. But is that what’s happening?
With Musk’s offer to buy Twitter, and especially considering that tomorrow, at the time of this writing, is the day that will decide whether it will go through, we’re all looking at what can be said or not on social media, but also why. I’ve walked the road of age disparities, lack of concern for teenager culture online, tough policies from enterprises that required formality at all costs and never asked how you were doing, and an overall attempt to suck us out of energy and stamina to attend to workplace tasks, as simple as they might be, because someone is always tweeting and that can’t be missed. That’s easily associated with venture capital, a world where everything matters but only the top analysts get the last word on what stuff means, most often in very incomprehensible language. For high schoolers and college students, though, this is a complicated case when it comes to school contexts that don’t even respect their own privacy, but require them to complete assignments when they’re absolutely out of touch with themselves and often very uninterested in the subject matter.
While Patreon seemed like a great idea and Bandcamp might be another niche for the people starting out but not thinking about mass concumption and the race for clicks and views, we’re content creators of many kinds. The regularization of the profession should come with benefits, including data and privacy protections, as long as you deliver and the terms are fair enough. But we’re seeing a major shift of attention and blaming the wrong people for the very human feeling of both disconnect and concern over disastrous post-pandemic scenarios (which include military confrontations and ideological disputes that may or may not result in gunshots); we’re seeing prices soar but never knew the reality of producers; we’re seeing commanders- in-chief brag about actions taken, but in practice, I bet a lot of people are still like me, with a few skills we’ve always counted on ignored, and waiting for a chance to participate in social life again, which goes beyond the screen and onto the city life. Until then, we play social media’s game, and that has been to distract us, make us worried and scared, and ultimately feel like we have nothing to offer. Don’t you think we should make some new friends?