I have a small group of amazing people who pay for my writings, despite not getting anything extra in return, just to support me. And if you are one of those people: thank you so, so much.
I think Patreon has cursed us with this idea that if we accept support on a monthly basis there must be more. Something extra to shovel on top of the work we’re already doing.
I did this with my Skull Toaster Patreon back in the day. I had one extra for like $10/mo where I’d go to a music shop, buy a used metal CD, and send it to you. I think I called it Mystery Metal or something. It was insane, and a LOT of work, on top of all the other things I was doing, when in fact my main thing was posting 1-3 metal trivia questions PER DAY to social media, and sending out a 200+ word email every night with the answers.
That was a lot.
So I turned on payments with HEAVY METAL EMAIL. I was sending two emails a week anyways.
In those emails I had a section called ANTISOCIAL, which was links to horrible things that the social media platforms keep doing.
But I moved them out of those two emails, and packaged it into a Monday morning email called ANTISOCIAL. Paid subscribers get that.
We are in a far worse situation than we were in 1991. Thurston’s part-jokey, part-deadly serious condemnation of the industry then – “When youth culture becomes monopolized by big business, what are the youth to do?” – feels like an understatement today. It’s no longer just about youth culture; it’s all cultural production that’s monopolized by big business. Thirty years of capital consolidation have created monopolies larger and more disconnected from “content” than we could have imagined even at our snottiest in the 90s.
I was in the thick of the 2001-2005 music blog frenzy. A good Pitchfork review helped sell thousands of albums, but by 2007 cracks were already starting to appear. Consolidation, the fight for Google search results, social media killing the comments sections, and the push by everyone to get a mention in a blog post drove the value down. CPMs plummeted, it was a race to the bottom and some people won, and lots more lost.
The biggies came in, sold their ads, and when it crashed to the ground, they moved on to other companies with shiny new job titles.
Scorch the earth, destroy the culture, and reap the rewards!
Starting doing “morning pages” since I finally started reading The Artist’s Way. In a short time I’ve already got ideas, or rather the universe has dropped some ideas in my lap and I’m already implementing one of those ideas pretty hardcore. I am excited for this and many things to come.
I’ll say this – I bought a disposable film camera for the first time in a million years. Oh, boy.
The whole idea here is this – as many of us contemplate “where to next?” in the whole social media world, I’m hopeful we just back back to visiting a few websites each day. I’ve already started looking at Flickr again for photography. Seeing the photos I want to see from the photographers I follow, without algorithms.
So yeah.. working on another idea that involves things we used to do and talking on the phone (well, Zoom, because seeing our friends faces is wonderful).
The thing that excites me about this is that it’s starting (or working) on something where it is.
Instead of doing some of the work, then spending a few hours a day marketing that work on various social media channels, it’s just.. the work.
Do the work.
Don’t worry about getting the word out. Make a great thing. Make a compelling product. Build the marketing into what you’re already doing. Are people sharing it and talking about it? No? Why not? Figure that out.
And then spend less time on social media.
And a year from now, we’re just working on our thing.
Sure, paying someone to “handle you socials” is nice and all, but you can do the same thing with the format of your choosing.
Millie doesn’t have social media on her phone. Someone else handles her Instagram and Facebook pages, the only social platforms she hasn’t deleted, and she went to therapy to handle the constant bullying she has faced online. It’s hard to escape the fact that people are obsessed with everything Millie says and does. The actor has been inappropriately sexualized for years, something she’s tried her best to ignore, but the effect of trolling and harassment has been severe. Before she deleted Twitter and TikTok, Millie had been constantly bombarded with hateful messages, angry threats, and even NSFW missives from adult men.
Now Millie only speaks directly to fans via blog posts that read like diary entries on the Florence by Mills website. It works because, as she says, “Nobody can comment.”
Fun interview with Rayne Fisher-Quann over at Substack:
Love the part at about the 15:30 mark, where Hamish McKenzie brings up blogs, and what a time that was.
And wow… it fucking was. I mean, I started a music blog in 2001, which was read by some people at AOL Music, which helped me get my foot in the door in 2006 when I got a three month contract gig.
That small bit there is WILD to think, and something I discount so much.
A few years later, in 2008, in the middle of the boom of Buzznet buying up music blogs where I was approached for “acquisition” (and said no), I was asked if I wanted to start a metal blog for AOL Music. That relationship and opportunity existed because of BLOGGING.
I had airfare and a hotel room for three nights in Oslo Norway because of blogging. I shared one of those luxury boxes at a NBA game with people from Elle magazine because of my music blog.
These days I mostly update Google Sheets and build email campaigns, so a little less glamorous, but I think that’s why I love writing my HEAVY METAL EMAIL newsletter so much, because the ability to reach people via websites and email newsletters is still able to change lives.
It’s a good thing we have “generative AI” now, so we can stop paying such high prices to those greedy designers, artists, photographers, and other creative folks who want things like a “living wage,” or “health insurance.”
Stock art is one thing, but now we’re gonna have computers help make it, too, so even more stock art can be out there in the world, thanks to Adobe, which tries to sell it as “Amplifying human creativity.”
Absolute trash. A race to the bottom and no one wins.
We had a vibrant, thriving blogosphere. Then came the greedy corporate bastards who bought everything up, drove down costs by paying writers shit, and quality suffered.
Now, years later, the common wisdom is “blogs are dead,” all without realizing that it was the tech-industry shit lords who turned blogs into “micro blogs” to funnel traffic to their bloated, ad soaked, tracker stuffed shit sites.
So for the past 10+ years we’ve been pouring our “content” like photos and writing and jokes and witty banter into these social media platforms, and once we stepped off the noisy train we realized the blog world is a wasteland. It’ll take years to get back to anything we used to have.
I’m done putting these rants on the very platforms I wish to destroy. Why should a single bit of my 20+ years of experience and wisdom make their distraction shines a penny more?
Oh, but more people will see it on socials!
The open web is far grander and wider than a crap social media platform. Everyone needs an email address to sign up for a social media account, and every single smart phone comes with an email app already installed.
I’m done, so done with this social media nonsense.
And now we’re gonna fill with with “generative” art? And stories? And posts? And music?
We deserve the bland, monochrome future we’re getting.