I really have to give it to the founders of Patreon for giving millions of fans the opportunity to directly support content creators, giving the ability for little contributions to add up in big ways.
Recently I went through my monthly donations and either upped the amount or added new creators to the list. I’m fortunate enough to have a few extra bucks each month and I really think more creators deserve compensation for their productions and passion – I personally think the arts should be supported and celebrated.
Going through the many opportunities for giving, I thought of the possibilities inherent in a more sharing economy – one where individuals could guiltlessly ask for and receive small donations, either as lump sums or as recurring deposits. Everyone needs help now and again and I know all too well the inherent cultural shame in needing to ask for it, particularly when it comes to money. How much nicer could we be as a society to one another if we did just contribute to others because we think they’re awesome, or deserving, or for any other reason we decide?
The barrier for entry into media creation has been significantly lowered in the past few years with the rise of independent podcasting, YouTube, cheaper hardware, and the availability of broadcast software. How fantastic would it be for these amateurs to obtain even a small amount of funding without having to invest heavily into an advertising or sponsorship campaign?
If nothing else, let this post be a gentle reminder that content creators of all stripes work long, often thankless hours, pouring their souls into works they hope will be appreciated. I think the least we can do is support them with a kind word, a cup of coffee, or even a nice lunch once in a while.