Imagine a world where people have original thoughts; that is to say, a world where people think for themselves. Imagine a world where when people speak, they use their own words, not just words they heard from somebody else’s mouths. Imagine a world where people express their own unique originality, rather than simply sharing the same redundant works of others, without even giving due credit to the original creators themselves.
Thanks to a society dominated by a propaganda-based apparatus controlled by a small handful of elite businesspeople and followed by a world of sheeple, such a world no longer exists and is likely to be erased as even a utopian possibility in the immediate future.
Just take a good honest look at the content present on our primary modern communication tool, the web. What do you see blazing through your social network news feeds? Politically slanted news articles that only instigate division among regular people, superficial memes and frivolous app-generated images that do little except distract from reality, pictures of someone’s dinner, photographs of beautiful places that some unknown and non-credited photographer took, some vague quote that everyone has heard a million times but nobody understands exactly what it meant in its original context. Where is the original thought? Where is the unique human expression? Where is there any content aside from more advertisements promoting something that people actually care about in any deep fashion?
Most people don’t even scroll the news feeds anymore. They are too busy trying to be a walking advertisement and have their “own” voice heard as they regurgitate other people’s content. There is nothing really to see in the news feeds of any worth anyhow, especially given the policies and algorithms that the tech giants enforce to control minds and advertising dollars. Somewhere along the way, those tech giants seemed to forget that “content is king” (Bill Gates, 1997), and focused purely on how they could maximize advertising dollars and completely suppress those who might leverage their networks to achieve any viral success for free.
Facebook, Google… don’t think we didn’t notice that our content is no longer delivered. We also have measurable results and the ability to track them. Update a profile picture and everyone in the world sees it. Post a link to original artwork or a privately run business and almost nobody will even see it. You’re not fooling anyone but yourselves.
There is an obvious (but unwritten) relationship that exists between original content creators and platforms that require user-generated content. Without quality original content, platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and any other such sites will ultimately run dry of interest and will lose activity. Who wants to look at an empty site or any site with no content of any quality or value?
Sadly the platform creators have dismissed the importance of this relationship and have suggested that independent artists should provide all content for free, and that they shouldn’t even be allowed to do that. They have sided 100% with enterprise-level advertisers with multi-million dollar ad budgets, while eliminating the very best content from the feeds; true masterpieces of art that will never see the light of day while the same old formulaic crap gets shoved down the throats of the masses making them forget what true art even is. All the while, independent artists are starving and struggling to make even pennies, and to market their works in a game that is completely rigged against them.
Even worse, artists are now expected to market their works at great cost, with broken promises of being supported by the organizations that charge them for such services. They pay for a dream that will never be fulfilled, due to the greed of the business models that depend on their naivety. Most simply give up on creating or sharing true art, neglecting their talents in exchange for a minimum-wage salary that won’t even pay their rent.
Those who persist relentlessly are lucky to be paid pennies for thousands upon thousands of music streams, web visits, and so forth, while the platforms that benefit from the views keep all the profits for themselves and their over-inflated business overhead.
Worst of all, the masses play right into all of it. They relentlessly share nothing of unique value. They share links to music by state-sponsored and corporate-advertised “musicians”, they share news articles funded by the multi-billion dollar propaganda machine, they re-hash the same rants that CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc already said in 1000 different ways; all the while showing minimal support for independent artists who are doing their best to keep true art alive AT ALL.
When most people do share original art, they most often don’t even provide attribution to the original artist who spent countless hours painting, composing, writing, or even waiting for the most opportune moment to capture that one amazing photograph. Though the world may get to enjoy the art for a mere moment, the artist who made it available lives and dies without any reward for their selfless dedication and personal sacrifices they made to show it to you. Such sharing behavior is pure thievery… stealing someone else’s art so that you can get the feel-good of some post ‘likes’.
Where do you think this path will lead? Clearly it points to a world where the ONLY content available will be provided by governments and corporations; a world where ALL content is either ads or propaganda. There will be no art. There will be no artists.
I encourage anyone who uses social media to take pause before hitting that share button, and before posting anything of any sort. Consider if what you are sharing actually has true value in uniting our world and moving us toward better solutions, or if it is just rehashing more divisive propaganda. Is what you are sharing original or just regurgitation? If it is some person’s original work, have you given them the credit they are due or are you stealing from them? How are you helping them in exchange for leveraging their effort? Did you make a donation, refer others to download their works for a price, or extend a thank you?
I hope that every human will be a full expression of who they are as an individual, not by blindly sharing things images and articles that they like to see, but by actually expressing their OWN original character in their own words and artistic form. Let’s put a stop to the re-share culture, re-kindle artistic expression, support and encourage independent arts, and remind the powers that be that content actually is king.