Soul for sale
How to Get Some Recognition in This B*tch Ass Creator Economy
Dying would be a way. Hear me out.
Who was van Gogh during his lifetime? A shy, unsuccessful epileptic on the verge of insanity that only sold one painting? Then he shot himself.
Going once, twice — sold for $82.5 million!
Let me be clear that, after reviewing the disadvantages of death, I strongly advocate against it — but what other growth hacking manoeuvre is left to be tried in this oversaturated, overstaffed, overzealous “creator economy”?
I won’t put a bullet in my chest, but what would you guys give me for an earlobe?
Has anyone seen 1000 true fans lying around?
Back when Kevin Kelly wrote that famous essay, the order of One Thousand Fans seemed an achievable milestone for a World Wide Web full of impressionable users.
It seems there are more creators than there are fans. Supporters, enthusiasts and patrons are severely understaffed to cater for each of us’ dire need for attention.
One thousand fans my ass. Optimistically, each one of us gets to have three bots, two spammers, one troll, and one Russian model looking for a husband overseas. If you’re extra lucky you get a Smillew Rahcuef but that’s it.
Don’t let yourself be fooled; “fans” are rarer than an 8-bit art NFT of Michael Caine’s asshole.
Fans are not even the client anymore — creators are
Haven’t you heard?
And I’ve been having a blast reading about their stumbling transition to a more “creator-focused” marketing (especially with Quora, the platypus of platforms, delightfully reported by Adam Hoxha here and here).
And you know what? I get it. Not to bash on da Vinci’s merit, but back then he was like, one of the only twelve people with access to paper? Six of those were probably Chinese enthusiasts making fireworks, and the rest was being used to print more copies of the Bible.
Now anyone with the wifi’s password has access to the paper, and no one’s creating the next Mona Lisa because we’re busy trying to make our paper go viral.
“Creator economy” sounds new — but it’s the same old shit
The same old model, static and imperishable like Dorian Gray’s portrait.
Speaking of Oscar Wilde: he gained serious recognition only after he died. Bankrupt. For the crime of being gay. Perhaps someday, when our society is woke enough to outlaw heterosexuality, I’ll be able to power through a similar success story.
But, for now, I have to settle with being willing to die for my art — while remaining pretty much alive.
Some people will take advantage of that willingness. “Oh, so you were gonna do this as a hobby anyway, right? Then why should we pay you? Ain’t this your passion?”
“Creator,” “gig,” “attention,” or “assclowning” economy — they’re all the same: people who want to make money taking advantage of people who want to make art.
Recognition will take some form of sacrifice
Not the ultimate sacrifice, though. Sure, dead people save a ton of money on food, but the cons far outweigh the pros.
I’m talking sacrifices like giving up the desire to please everyone. Maybe? I don’t know. Accepting that creative work is criminally underpaid and undervalued is for sure one of them.
You could go the dramatic way. “Earlobe-cutting challenge,” ain’t that a scroll-stopping idea?
And if self-mutilation is not your thing (it shouldn’t; you know these are jokes right?) you can always go down the laziest path and sell courses and ebooks on the very same thing you want to succeed at.
But honestly, I’d rather shoot myself.