I keep up with a variety of blogs. I really like the blog world because when you find good blogs, bookmark them, and make it a point to check them daily or at least weekly, you essentially create your own personalized magazine. At least that's how I think of it. Between Seth Godin, Donald Miller, Pete Wilson, Promise Tangeman & Lauren Dubinsky (amongst a few others) I get a dose of everything from marketing + creativity, to God, to women + worth, to food. It's great! A post from Seth Godin really got me thinking today. I read it and felt very close - too close - to the line between the distinct groups of people he mentioned. You can read his post in it's entirety here Bandits + Philanthropists, but I'll give it to you in a nutshell. He talks about two groups of people of which right now you see a lot of within the world of the web. Bandits being those who take. Those who try to take the easy road and want to get as much as they can...for free. Music, downloads, anywhere there's free content they'll surely be there to take it. Philanthropists are, as we all know, on the giving side. As Seth states, "They support the tip jar, they support the artist, and when they can they'll buy the book". They believe in giving, spreading news, creating events & being present alongside others in their community and in the world. Seth mentions that these two groups of people have been around forever, which no one would argue, but that the web now "magnifies the edges" - "it's easier that ever to be a free rider...but it's also easier than ever to be a big time contributor." Meaning that via the web, even if we don't have a lot of money to contribute, we do have the ability to share, support, and give credit through links, videos, blog platforms and other platforms.
All of that being said, I felt really convicted after reading this. I feel bummed to have realized that I am a little bit of a bandit. I'm confident in that I'm much more on the philanthropic side of things, I am a well intended individual. But I am guilty of taking...downloading music via Noisetrade and opting out of leaving a tip, not consistently leaving a tip for the barista's who know me by my first name, not supporting incredible buskers I've passed along the street (mostly in NZ) by failing to drop a few dollars. I'm guilty of wanting and having while neglecting the whole appreciation thing that's kind of getting lost in our culture today. My salary is decent, enough to live on and save a bit but I don't have heaps of excess to toss around so I'd definitely say that this has been a partial factor (excuse) in getting excited about free music etc. I'm guessing that anyone reading this who relates to how I'm feeling would list this as a top reason as well. I love how Seth talks about being a big contributor and how we have many opportunities to give without it affecting our budgets. But I also realize that few dollars here and a few dollars there to support people doing great things isn't a budget breaker and if it means that I don't get to buy a new pair of jeans, or leggings, or jeggings (ha!) then by all means, I'll be a bandit and TAKE being less greedy, less inward focused and less materialistic.
Good reality check today.