Pay Me Because You Like Me (not vice versa!)


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I will put a little image right next to this line, on which you can click if you want to express your appreciation with real money. Directly, without having to stop reading, going to the bank, opening another website, writing a check, or sending the maid for some loose change to give to the poor writer who’s at your doorstep with his pamphlet. You can express your gratitude instantly.

At first sight the idea sounds charming to me, who not so secretly hopes to make a living from the fruits of his pen. But wait a minute. This transaction is a voluntary donation, you don’t buy my writings – you get nothing in return except perhaps for your own satisfaction resulting from having supported something vague enough to make you feel philosophical.

I think I think this might be the way forward for our economy, or to use a less confusing phrase, for our way to split the cake. Buying digital products isn’t going to last very long. Not only are they copied and distributed through clandestine networks faster than they can be protected, it also becomes less and less clear what the “object” is the buyer buys.

It’s about the right to access or the right to reproduce. But information will be freed: wikipedia (and hundreds of other wikis and pedantic pedia’s exist). Youtube shows how eager people are to share, and how the quality of what is shared surpasses everything you’d have to pay for (not to mention the xxx versions of youtube, responsible for a staggeringly high percentage of internet traffic showing the true exhibitionist nature of humankind).

People prefer sharing information. Messages appear on twitter, reliable and cheap, long before they hit major commercial news sites. With the internet culture, labor mechanization might have taken a decisive step towards reveiling its self-contradiction. Value (appreciation) won’t come from more labor input, but from – less labor input. For the work ethos, the last expression maybe of the Christian soul, there will be the scrapyard of history.

Imagine a village community with a culture of cheerful sharing. There would be no place for a commercial mind trying to make money by selling any kind of information. The very fact that it is “paid” means it is undesirable.
Now as the “global village” is in the making we might be headed towards this. It is a long transformation because our solid twentieth-century ideology: It’s no Good if it is for Free. Or: “Like Me Because You Pay Me”.

This is the most important change on the internet and hence in our society. It’s a slow progress and we won’t notice it until we look back over our shoulders in 2025 and are astonished by the strange ideas of the early years of our millennium, the early years when economies tried to optimize production-consumption rather than appreciation-happiness.

By the way, this kind of auto-reflectivity is ubiquitous on the net and I don’t like it all that much.

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Pay Me Because You Like Me (not vice versa!)


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I will put a little image right next to this line, on which you can click if you want to express your appreciation with real money. Directly, without having to stop reading, going to the bank, opening another website, writing a check, or sending the maid for some loose change to give to the poor writer who’s at your doorstep with his pamphlet. You can express your gratitude instantly.

At first sight the idea sounds charming to me, who not so secretly hopes to make a living from the fruits of his pen. But wait a minute. This transaction is a voluntary donation, you don’t buy my writings – you get nothing in return except perhaps for your own satisfaction resulting from having supported something vague enough to make you feel philosophical.

I think I think this might be the way forward for our economy, or to use a less confusing phrase, for our way to split the cake. Buying digital products isn’t going to last very long. Not only are they copied and distributed through clandestine networks faster than they can be protected, it also becomes less and less clear what the “object” is the buyer buys.

It’s about the right to access or the right to reproduce. But information will be freed: wikipedia (and hundreds of other wikis and pedantic pedia’s exist). Youtube shows how eager people are to share, and how the quality of what is shared surpasses everything you’d have to pay for (not to mention the xxx versions of youtube, responsible for a staggeringly high percentage of internet traffic showing the true exhibitionist nature of humankind).

People prefer sharing information. Messages appear on twitter, reliable and cheap, long before they hit major commercial news sites. With the internet culture, labor mechanization might have taken a decisive step towards reveiling its self-contradiction. Value (appreciation) won’t come from more labor input, but from – less labor input. For the work ethos, the last expression maybe of the Christian soul, there will be the scrapyard of history.

Imagine a village community with a culture of cheerful sharing. There would be no place for a commercial mind trying to make money by selling any kind of information. The very fact that it is “paid” means it is undesirable.
Now as the “global village” is in the making we might be headed towards this. It is a long transformation because our solid twentieth-century ideology: It’s no Good if it is for Free. Or: “Like Me Because You Pay Me”.

This is the most important change on the internet and hence in our society. It’s a slow progress and we won’t notice it until we look back over our shoulders in 2025 and are astonished by the strange ideas of the early years of our millennium, the early years when economies tried to optimize production-consumption rather than appreciation-happiness.

By the way, this kind of auto-reflectivity is ubiquitous on the net and I don’t like it all that much.

Daily Social Media Fairness Sessions!

Imagine you’re a wealthy shop owner and you hear about this “thing”, this new technology that strongly amplifies every voice raised on it and thus promises to lure paying customers into your business. Wow, you think, I don’t wanna miss this boat, and you ask how much it would cost. “It’s free”, some bearded hippies yawn at you and that makes you feel uncomfortable. You want a decent service from this “thing” and you will pay for it. “Alright”, a trimmed hipster tells you, “here’s the deal”. And you sign a contract with the new “thing” which will boost your sales eventually.

The “thing” is of course the internet, and what we have to understand is that the already-powerful will benefit more from it than the barely visible “grass roots” initiatives, no matter if they are a roadside fruit stall or a community center. The tiny initiatives don’t have a voice so there is nothing that can be amplified by our internet machine. Instead, we see Big Brands taking over this allegedly power-neutral web and benefit more from it than our beloved grassroots non-profits, even proportionally more.

The so-called “flatness of the world” proclaimed by Tom Friedman because he can travel anywhere on a whimp and marvel at multinational business deals, is a misleading metaphore at best. If we have something left in us that discounts the cynical “everything is fatally connected” and let the empathy with real people speak, then, o then… Then we should help the grassroots initiatives, the small rural hospitals, the women’s cooperatives, the peace groups, the environmental protesters, the orphan homes, the community art – everything that isn’t yet affected by the acid of hypercapitalist logic eating away its ties to land and life.

A way to do this is to take the very cynical neoliberal propaganda of “leveling the playing field” seriously. We should leverage their voices in order to make them found by skilled idealists who can help. If we say “it’s all about connections” we mean “it’s all about power” – and without a fistful of it you don’t exist. But if we stay determined even the powerless can be found. We just need to put them in a magic telephone book.

I mean our internet platform “kindmankind.net” and it’s for that platform that I do a daily “Social Media Fairness Session”. Because I think these sessions are worth your time this article is about them. So, how do I go about it? Let’s say I want to list some grassroots initiatives in the country of Chad. Google is of course a handy tool but we all know it has some built-in bias that is detrimental to the grassroots, and it doesn’t give us trusted results. So I choose couchsurfing.org to be my starting point. As pointed out on charitytravel.blogspot.com, where my journey started, the trusted profiles of couchsurfing can be of great value for small grassroots initiatives.

A careful keyword search yields a list of NGO directors, well-intended individuals and independent volunteers who might like to be listed on and found through our platform. So I write them a humble e-mail about it. Then I ask some users of flickr.com if we can use photos of little known countries like Chad. Perhaps there’s even some group on facebook.com or linkedin.com, I’ll contact them. Then I look at existing websites that are not open and use google to identify the grassroots stuff they are listing. They all receive an e-mail as well. Everything put together, we have a free and open map of the world (today including Chad) full of dots depicting fragile yet worthy contributions to a better world.

What do we do with this listing? This is the second phase of the Social Media Fairness Session, and consists of publishing to the social web (facebook, twitter, digg, del.icio.us, hellotxt, statusnet, skype, wikipedia, feedburner, twitterfeed, socialoomph, google+, buzz, idealist), and inspiring people to help where it’s needed. It includes writing and translating articles about the concept, reformulating it in many ways so as to reach a diverse audience of potential enthusiasts who take this idea and add their own. It includes traveling ourselves and demonstrating the spirit, to practice what we preach. And it inevitably leads to getting a little bit crazy, in the end.

Daily Social Media Fairness Sessions!

Imagine you’re a wealthy shop owner and you hear about this “thing”, this new technology that strongly amplifies every voice raised on it and thus promises to lure paying customers into your business. Wow, you think, I don’t wanna miss this boat, and you ask how much it would cost. “It’s free”, some bearded hippies yawn at you and that makes you feel uncomfortable. You want a decent service from this “thing” and you will pay for it. “Alright”, a trimmed hipster tells you, “here’s the deal”. And you sign a contract with the new “thing” which will boost your sales eventually.

The “thing” is of course the internet, and what we have to understand is that the already-powerful will benefit more from it than the barely visible “grass roots” initiatives, no matter if they are a roadside fruit stall or a community center. The tiny initiatives don’t have a voice so there is nothing that can be amplified by our internet machine. Instead, we see Big Brands taking over this allegedly power-neutral web and benefit more from it than our beloved grassroots non-profits, even proportionally more.

The so-called “flatness of the world” proclaimed by Tom Friedman because he can travel anywhere on a whimp and marvel at multinational business deals, is a misleading metaphore at best. If we have something left in us that discounts the cynical “everything is fatally connected” and let the empathy with real people speak, then, o then… Then we should help the grassroots initiatives, the small rural hospitals, the women’s cooperatives, the peace groups, the environmental protesters, the orphan homes, the community art – everything that isn’t yet affected by the acid of hypercapitalist logic eating away its ties to land and life.

A way to do this is to take the very cynical neoliberal propaganda of “leveling the playing field” seriously. We should leverage their voices in order to make them found by skilled idealists who can help. If we say “it’s all about connections” we mean “it’s all about power” – and without a fistful of it you don’t exist. But if we stay determined even the powerless can be found. We just need to put them in a magic telephone book.

I mean our internet platform “kindmankind.net” and it’s for that platform that I do a daily “Social Media Fairness Session”. Because I think these sessions are worth your time this article is about them. So, how do I go about it? Let’s say I want to list some grassroots initiatives in the country of Chad. Google is of course a handy tool but we all know it has some built-in bias that is detrimental to the grassroots, and it doesn’t give us trusted results. So I choose couchsurfing.org to be my starting point. As pointed out on charitytravel.blogspot.com, where my journey started, the trusted profiles of couchsurfing can be of great value for small grassroots initiatives.

A careful keyword search yields a list of NGO directors, well-intended individuals and independent volunteers who might like to be listed on and found through our platform. So I write them a humble e-mail about it. Then I ask some users of flickr.com if we can use photos of little known countries like Chad. Perhaps there’s even some group on facebook.com or linkedin.com, I’ll contact them. Then I look at existing websites that are not open and use google to identify the grassroots stuff they are listing. They all receive an e-mail as well. Everything put together, we have a free and open map of the world (today including Chad) full of dots depicting fragile yet worthy contributions to a better world.

What do we do with this listing? This is the second phase of the Social Media Fairness Session, and consists of publishing to the social web (facebook, twitter, digg, del.icio.us, hellotxt, statusnet, skype, wikipedia, feedburner, twitterfeed, socialoomph, google+, buzz, idealist), and inspiring people to help where it’s needed. It includes writing and translating articles about the concept, reformulating it in many ways so as to reach a diverse audience of potential enthusiasts who take this idea and add their own. It includes traveling ourselves and demonstrating the spirit, to practice what we preach. And it inevitably leads to getting a little bit crazy, in the end.