The webcomics blog about webcomics

The First Thing We Do: Let’s Alienate All The Content Makers

If there are people that have thought more about how to interact with their respective audiences than Zach Weinersmith, Ryan North, and Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett, I’m not sure of who they are. And when they start kibbitzing in public about how you done screwed up and made them want to not work with you any more, then Sparky, you screwed up.

And by Sparky, I of course mean Facebook.

LArDK’s feelings have been well-established for some time now, and Weinersmith cited Kellett’s thesis in his public musings on Friday:

For the record, though: We used to do lots of “free” stuff on facebook, back before they turned into an extortion racket for artists.

Btw, @davekellett pointed this out in 2015 ( …) and I poo-pooed it. But, facebook’s basically just gotten worse since. I personally have doubled my facebook “audience” since then, but my reach among them has dropped.

… which prompted concurrence from North, LArDK, MC Frontalot, and others:

yep! same here. I actually did an interview for an article explaining this and giving numbers for why it was so bad, but then the next week it was revealed how bad Facebook was for DEMOCRACY ITSELF, so I think the article got canned :0

I’m actually really close to closing down DC on Facebook – I don’t want to lose the readers, but at a certain point supporting FB becomes a tacit endorsement of what they do… and besides, if they’re not actually showing my stuff to the readers there anyway… SHRUG EMOJI

I would love love love to see Facebook become a vast content graveyard, just page after page perpetually autoposting “we’ve moved on…”

I ended up taking down my personal FB page. For me, their role with Cambridge Analytica and the other groups tacitly working for the FSB/GRU was the final straw.

The last being a reference to the fact that Facebook, presented with evidence that it was being used to spread propaganda, responded by hiring a political hit-firm to spread stories that their critics were paid by George Soros, playing into the most vilely antisemitic tropes that — gosh! — they’ve been so instrumental in spreading. Not that Zuckerberg knows anything about it. Nope, not it.

Which is leading to a fairly fundamental question: why should (in this case) Weinersmith post content for free to Facebook, who then sells ads and makes money that they don’t share with him, and which further charges him money to actually deliver his posts that might make him money so he can afford to keep making the content they’re monetizing? Why should anybody?

And, as I’ve been writing this post, I’m seeing word that Tumblr is apparently taking down NSFW accounts, despite the fact that NSFW content isn’t prohibited by the terms of service. If you don’t trust Tumblr randos, trust George, who’s reporting the same, and back up your content.

There’s been a major shift away from webcomics folk maintaining their own sites in the past few years, with Tumblr and various portal-type sites (Taptastic, Webtoon) offering free hosting and eyeballs that might not have landed on an individual site in this mostly post-RSS (and bookmarkless) world.

But any time you rely on somebody else’s infrastructure to run your business/art/lifestyle/whatever, you run the possibility of it being taken away by somebody whose priorities are not yours. Let us not even talk about Flickr’s forthcoming changes or the fact we’re coming up on the anniversary of the Great Patreon Balls-Up Of AughtSeventeen.

So today’s sentence¹ is as follows: use other (free) services all you like, but keep your content someplace besides the free service. You don’t have to put up your own site! You don’t have to do anything you don’t want! But please, for the sake of your work and my peace of mind, keep a copy someplace so you can rebuild when the free service du jour decides you don’t get to use them for free (or at all) after today.

Spam of the day:

Furnish Your Outdoor Area in Style

Let’s leave my area out of this.

¹ And how is it more than ten years since today’s sentence?

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