The Internet is fucked. I’ve just decided that it’s a lost cause. Of course the problem is pretty soon it will be all that’s left in media, so if any writers, photographers or filmers hope to have jobs in the future, it’s time to have some standards.
As the purveyor of multiple low-to-no budget boutique websites, I hate to say this, but stop giving your content away! This weekend I had a videographer send me a video for possible publication on AWS. I checked it out and emailed him back saying I would love to use it and would like to get additional assets to make it really strong. Of course this morning when I check the message boards (a bad habit I can’t seem to break) I see he’s posted a link to the video, the same video he wanted me to publish, on what is basically our only competition.
I get it. People are impatient. They want to get famous and see their name in lights, but would you rather be published on a site with theoretical standards, or a site where any one can post anything? The thing people have to realize though, is the reason many websites fall into the low-to-budget category is why bother spending money, when you have to compete with something like YouTube? It’s just not worth it. Why pay if you don’t have to? And since everyone seems to have this “gotta have it now” attitude, its almost impossible to have any standards of quality on the web.
Last week the wake community suffered a casualty of the economy and the state of print media as The Standerd pulled the plug. The high-quality photo-heavy mag had already stopped paying for photos months ago, and it really came as no surprise that it didn’t last. Of course I immediately sent out emails trying to get whatever content I could out of it. I got an email back from one of my favorite wakeskate site contributors, Gavin Jocius, who happens to be in grad school studying media, confiming exactly what I am talking about and my greatest fears.
“I was reading ‘The Long Tail’ for one of my media classes. In it, the author mentions Tim Wu of Columbia University’s notion of ‘The exposure culture.’ It reminded me of AWS.com and the Standerd, i.e., in today’s digital realm ‘exposure’ has become a substitute for currency. It is much easier to get people to send stuff for free because of the exposure that they get. Many online magazines can get good content for free because of the exposure culture that fuels the Internet. The days of getting paid for freelance work are long over….IMO. Enter the era of the ‘exposure culture.’ In the future, we will all be famous to 15 people.”
Because wakeskating is new and small, and there aren’t a ton of publications about it, its easier to see this happening, but it’s obviously going on everywhere. I don’t expect people to stop posting videos on YouTube, and obviously if you are just starting out, you have to come up with a way to get your name out there. But if you are doing something good and worthwhile, you should try and get paid for it, or at least give it to someone who needs the help and you want to support. Otherwise we’ll all end up having to sort through a ton of crap just to find something remotely worthwhile.