Why you should, and shouldn't, support web creators on Patreon
Patreon is a site that allows people to make a monthly contribution to their favorite web creators. It can be as little as a dollar a month. It's kinda like "crowd funding" except that it's not just to achieve a particular goal, instead it's to support ongoing efforts of a web creator.
A web creator is anyone out there who is making something and giving it away for free on the web. It can be someone who makes YouTube videos, it can be someone who does artwork, it can be someone (like me) who writes blogs.
Personally, I like the idea of Patreon. And it's not just because I'm a web creator. I like to do what I can (even if it's just a little) to show my support. I like the feeling that every time I watch an episode of SciShow, my dollar a month helps them make more. And I want to see more, and more! And more!
Yeah, I know that my dollar a month isn't exactly going to pay all of their expenses. But it's something. And if everyone who watched their videos threw in a buck, well, you see what I mean. It keeps great content like that free on the web, which is what I want. I don't want to go looking for the latest episode of SciShow and find that it's now become a TV show on cable that I don't have.
So, if you're like me, go check out Patreon. You can find me there (I have a Patreon page for my history adventuring blog), or you can find other creators. Or, better still, look to see if a particular creator has a Patreon page, they'll usually mention it (although in a subtle way).
On the other hand, there are a lot of reasons why you may be wise to stay away from places like Patreon. That's because it deals with real money. And if you're not comfortable using real money on the web, I understand. Personally, I've been buying stuff online for many years. I know about passwords, I understand how encryption works. I buy stuff from Amazon all of the time. But if you're not comfortable with that, you would be wise to stay away.
Also, there are a lot of people who think that giving their money away (even a tiny bit) is foolish. If you're not a "donation" kind of person, I understand. I grew up with a lot of people who were wise enough to hold onto their hard-earned money, and not go scattering it around as if it were nothing. And they tended to be very skeptical about anything or anyone who asked for their money - and there were always a lot of charities out there, holding their hands out.
I've been on a web for a long time, and I understand that there are expenses involved. I get that. But I resent the idea of anything that makes me think of a toll-booth. I don't want to have to pay to see the stuff that I'm used to seeing for free. But, on the other hand, I like to help. Just a bit, and on my own terms.
Posted by Brad Hall