One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Thirty-Three

Thirty-three? Two threes, hidden in the form of another number? Like three games in a trilogy? Mystery solved. Half-Life 3 confirmed through a blog with no affiliation to Valve whatsoever. Everyone else can go home.

Sorry. I really couldn’t resist.

Today’s probably going to see two posts. That’s the plan, anyway. I’m trying to guilt myself into it, but I’m also feeling lazy. The latter half of that shouldn’t be too surprising. I think it just needs to be vacation-time for me already. I had to stop half-way into that sentence because my elbow cracked, and it sounded like a goddamn gunshot.

Anyway, I’m just kind of rambling, so I might as well get to the important bits.

I’ll be taking an official break from my This Week in Misadventures posts for now, as most of what I’ve been doing (sadly) has been these posts. I’m taking steps towards fixing that, but it’s mostly an embarrassing reminder of all the things I failed to accomplish in the previous week. Not as good a motivator as you’d think.

Day Thirty-Three – Purchased fame and followers

I didn’t say anything about it on here, but I entered a contest for a chance to win a book publishing contract through Cary Press. It was through Facebook, and something called WishPond, and the top ten most voted-for essay entries would be passed along to the judges to determine who won. I made the top ten, with many thanks to my family, friends, and people I know only over the internet, and I tweeted and Facebook-spammed the hell out of my link. Which is great, but it also attracted some unwanted attention.

The day after the voting wrapped up, I saw I had a Twitter notification. I get to be somewhat little-kid-on-Christmas when people interact with me on Twitter. Can’t help it. I love interacting with people. When I clicked to see what it was, I was disappointed. This is the Tweet in question.

My immediate thought: that seems shady as hell. It’s a competition, and if I really wanted to make it based on merit I’d just see how many people supported me in my hopes of becoming a published author. The support was certainly there, too, with me making it to third place in terms of votes (again, I had to be one of the top ten most voted-for people).

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this sort of thing, though. I’ve seen, and been sent, my fair share of ways to buy more Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and YouTube views (the last one being particularly funny as I don’t make YouTube videos at all) for what I’d consider a modest fee. Like a child at least two hours into a game of Monopoly at some unhappy family gathering, I can’t help but cry out “Cheating!” in regards to these practices. Are we, children of the internet, so hooked on instant gratification and projecting images of online fame that we are willing to stoop to such lows?

First off, who in their right mind would willingly fork over money for these things? Let’s use the example of $65, as seen above. That’s a decent-sized grocery order, or perhaps a bill payment. It could be a nice whim purchase (I am most certainly not against retail therapy when it’s applicable, and I have no problem admitting that), or a nice evening out with a friend or significant other. Sure, three hundred votes would be a huge advantage, but it wouldn’t be a worthwhile victory. I don’t think so, anyway.

Secondly, can we just appreciate how questionable services like this are? As much as I’d love to send some strange entity my hard-earned money so I can get fake Twitter followers, etc., I’d prefer to not open myself up to being robbed. In some cases, like with buying gold in WoW, it’s stolen goods being transferred (yes, I’m aware how absurd calling WoW gold stolen goods seems).

This is a good look at how hooked some people are on having instant gratification. More followers right away. More votes. More anything. I am by no means anyone of particular importance or influence, even if I may be a goddamn celebrity in my own mind (I’m the most self-hating narcissist on the planet), but I am happy to say I’ve earned my followers on both here and Twitter. I’d like to think it’s the content I produce that keeps people interested in me, and not that I have many of those followers’ families and loved ones locked in secret bunkers in the middle of nowhere with no real hope of being released.

Ridiculous hostage situation jokes aside: at what point did working to earn an audience become something people decided to shy away from? Why do people actually fork over money to services like the one quoted above? My line of reasoning is this: If you want something badly enough to treat it like a second job, why would you compromise your worth as an artist (a writer, an actor, whatever) by taking some cheap-ass shortcut? I know a lot of it goes back to the entitlement mindset, but I am staying so far away from that topic because I know too many people who think they deserve their dream-jobs to be gift-wrapped. It’s a dangerous topic, and I’d rather not breach it.

Thank you to all of you who follow me on here or Twitter, who probably enjoy reading my work. Each and every one of you are a little victory for me, and more importantly I have tremendous fun interacting with all of you (especially on Twitter, where I can be a bit too chattery for the 140 character limit).

Sixty-seven days remaining.

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