Saturday Morning Rainstorm

Friday night pizza dough with sauce ready for toppings.

Rain is forecast all day, making this a Saturday to stay indoors. If the storms clear, I’ll go on walkabout. Otherwise, I’m making a second pot of coffee.

There is plenty to do in our community. The United Methodist Church is hosting a “Pharmacy Brown Bag” at which we can take and turn in unused and expired medications for proper disposal. We gathered a bag of pills to be delivered. Friends of the Public Library is hosting their annual used book sale, although I have plenty to read and will skip the sale this year. I lean toward reducing the number of books in the house. There are political events, including a meet and greet in Marengo for our recently declared state representative candidate. The one way hour drive seems too far for a single purpose trip.

Soup is already made for supper so a rainy Saturday is an opportunity to get things done indoors. I will focus on creative endeavor in the form of writing, reading and gardening. Without a source of income like our pensions, I don’t know how creative people make ends meet.

I know several people who consider themselves to be “content creators” on social media platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Tik Tok. They work full time creating content and try to make a living from it. I don’t know how they do without a supplemental source of income. There is money to be made as a content creator yet not enough to pay typical living expenses of $30,000 or more per year.

One individual said in a Facebook post being a content creator takes time away from their previous income pursuits of playing music and writing books. They also mention how many hours are involved and how tired they constantly are. There are no pensions in being a content creator so I’m not sure how it is sustainable as one ages. There may be a niche market for a septuagenarian content creator, yet the role assumes another source of income as a platform.

One of the full-time Twitch streamers I follow has almost daily streams where they are “just chatting.” Whenever I visit, the screen is filled with a well-groomed image of them at a microphone interacting with viewers who make chat posts. I don’t know how the streamer is so positive for five or six hours at a time but he is. One of the tags in the stream is “mental health.”

The attraction for a viewer is that as we became isolated during the coronavirus pandemic, we craved community. I’ve been following streamers for more than a year and the same users gravitate toward the same kinds of streams. I often find myself in streams tagged English, Social Eating, LGBTQIA+, Makers and Crafting, Safe Space and Mental Health. I particularly like streams hosted outside North America tagged English. The interaction between streamer and viewers is a way to establish a feeling of safety and community on the internet. The best streamers address every chat post in a positive manner.

Social media has become an important means of self expression if one accepts it for that. I don’t know about making a living from YouTube or the others. I’m not sure my way of making a living by working jobs that paid into Social Security and Medicare for 54 years was an improvement over the vagaries of being a content creator. The early decisions I made at university paved a path where I could create written works. It freed me from the idea that I needed to earn money with my writing. That has made a difference.

3 replies on “Saturday Morning Rainstorm”

Folks can make a living with online content. From what I can determine the general requirements are:

LOTS of content. As you fear, that’s a considerable workload. Regularity in posting is important. You probably have to love it, but you also need to treat it as job.

Something younger people feel is novel or interesting. It may just my own informant (a teenager) but I don’t know of anyone who’s making a living doing video for folks our age. Maybe some political video series do reach an older audience? Podcasts (audio) are a different case I think.

Ability to network and promote is likely a great aid, though I can’t tell if happens afterward or before reaching popularity for certain.

Luck/Kismet/whatever. I know from my old career working with broadcasters that figuring out what will work, what personalities will click with audiences drives even the savviest programmers to “shortstop batting average” levels of sucess.

I live on Social Security and keep costs low for the Parlando Project.

For something like what I do, I’ve made peace with my thousands-a-month range vs. the hundreds-of-thousands-a-month audiences that reach financial viability. With my less than apt personality, and energy level /life conflicts I can’t or won’t promote, and produce the content, and run a small business with necessary accounting functions. I’ve often worked for non-profits over the years, but for me the less expensive choice is to be a “NO-profit” enterprise.

Of course writers, musicians, performers other artists have long dealt with very similar issues of having extra artistic burdens on top of running a small business or working for one without full-fledged benefits. What the Internet has made possible, I think, is easier access to niche audiences that are passionate enough even if widely spread apart.

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Interesting comment, Frank. If I was going online to earn money, I’d start with some kind of chatting format with a repeating cultural tie in. For example, maybe a Twitch stream where each episode I’d do something like sort through books, record albums, whatever and while I do the sorting, read chat comments and respond. The chat comment interaction seems to be the main thing. Not sure how many in the cohort would be willing to learn about Twitch and participate. I’m not cool enough to attract many 20 and 30-somethings. There are lots of people trying to make a living at it. I find it an intriguing cross breeding of television, internet use, online gaming, cosplay and performance. It is something. Thanks, as always for reading this blog and commenting.

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