You see, content creators (like myself) are like dairy cows. We're introspective, dumb, and docile. We stroll across the countryside making obversations about the world we live in, and then we convert this information into a form digestible to the masses; for the sake of this analogy we will call it raw milk (assuming the masses aren't lactose intolerant).
|Mmm. Just add bacon.|
Raw milk has the capabilities to be sweet--like cream, savory like butter, nutritious like yogurt, or a dependency like ice cream. It's really quite amazing what happens inside the body of an ordinary dairy cow; all from the most bland of stimulants: grass. (No drug reference intended). Content creators, like cows, can turn the simple into the majestic. Raw milk can be art, music, or poetry. It can be photography, self-help videos, or advice blogs.
For thousands of years, farmers recognized the importance of their livestock, they protected them, housed them, doctored them and in return, the livestock returned life-sustaining nutrition. It was perfect co-dependency.
Yet somewhere along the line, these huge mega-farms showed up and packed cows into smaller stalls, dehorned them, and effectively turned farming into manufacturing.
|Can you image Rockwell's paintings now?|
Parents texting and kids on smartphones.
The same thing is happening to content creators. We still roam this country. We still religiously photograph the national parks like Ansel Adams, we capture Americana in paint like Norman Rockwell, we still write emotionally charged anthems like Neil Young...and we keep converting the world into savory, cheesy dishes that people will rave about.
But the social contract has changed. We cows are no longer important, just a cog in the wheel of manufacturing. It's like the farmers made a deal with us, saying, "I'll let you keep the milk, and we can skim off all the other products for ourselves."
As milk producers, we said, "Okay...we're only good at making milk anyways; you guys always did the refining, pasteurizing, and packaging of our product...as long as we get the profits from our milk."
|Funny how Americans have grown tired of processed cheese|
and yet are currently in love with processed entertainment.
Which seemed like a good deal, until you realize that in 2012, 75% of the 2000 billion pounds of milk produced went into solid goods like butter, cheese, yogurt, and creams. We're left with skim milk. Cows are getting a raw deal.
Buzzfeed, Viral Nova, Youtube, Pandora, Bandcamp, Fine Art America, even the Huffington Post are taking our material and calling it their own. Sure, we get a byline, but they get all the advertising revenue. But notoriety is worth something, right? How often do you click on the creator of a Buzzfeed list and peruse their site? Probably never. Most of these sites don't pay a penny to the original author/creator. These are the new promotors...the new bars; the new newspapers, the new museums; the new theaters...but instead of working together with the creators of content, and actually paying real wages, they are totally screwing us over, and raking in tons of profits.
|Why are BuzzFeed posts so popular? Because they pay|
huge promotional dollars to Facebook. And your local
blogger? His/her posts are seen by less than 10% of their
actual friends unless they pay Zuckerberg his bucks.
Worse than that, though, is how they are manipulating audiences into liking their blow-molded plastic material. We're manipulated into reading articles with titles like mine, "The results will blow your mind," "epic," "You won't believe," "The last ten seconds will make you lose your stool." Just today, based on the title, I read Everything You Thought You Knew About Doing Laundry is Wrong on the Huffington Post. It was wrong to read it. I only learned one thing.
It's like the whole world has turned into Inside Edition...the most base of all news, with its pomp and circumstance and almost no content. Yeah, but the promos look so enticing. I know; it's like an appetizer of mozzarella sticks. Yeah they taste good...but where's the nutrition!
|Fake Wedding Gowns? THE HORROR! Thanks hard hitting Inside Edition!|
Mozzarella sticks have their time and place, but I'd hardly call them a dairy product.
Many might say, "Yes, but this is how we like to get our product...we like it corralled and pre-spiced and pre-cooked...I just want to microwave it." What? Are you still in college? Have you never had a home cooked meal? Is Taco Bell, with all its Frito-laden accompaniments, authentic Mexican food?
So what am I asking you, oh great modern consumer? When you find something you like, find the creator and support them. Following them on twitter, "liking" or sharing their material is nice if you're broke, but buying a physical CD or a band tee-shirt; paying to download a book; buying a print...these things support artists. These things keep us creating milk.
And some of us would like a little cheese to go with our whine.