I’m only going to say this once: asking for money to fund travel or study from strangers on a website largely used by underage teens with no sustainable income is immoral and wrong. I don’t care if you feel you are providing some kind of service. If you want remuneration then set up a website business.
I am seeing more and more tumblr users abusing their follower count for financial gain. There are legitimate ways to make money on social media through ad revenue and sponsorship, or you can tutor if you feel you can provide education services. Do not guilt trip your followers into donating money they don’t even know will go towards what you claim it goes towards.
Also the fact that some people are happy to donate does not legitimise this. If some donate, others may feel guilty and spend money they do not have. This is different from asking your friends on facebook for donations because your followers do not know you personally and are not able to hold you accountable for your actions in person.
I understand that Tumblr staff is searching for any way they can to generate revenue. Tumblr is very popular as a social platform but so far it hasn’t had a sustainable revenue model to keep it going as a business in the long term. Eventually, the people running the company have to introduce features to turn it commercial and make money. I get that.
I don’t even have a problem with seeing paid, “sponsored” content from advertisers on my dash. In the past though, brands and advertisers had to go out of their way to make their content clever and eye-catching and funny and aesthetically pleasing so that it would “blend in” with the post format of other normal, social posts on Tumblr.
Tumblr promotes itself as a community for clever, creative, artistic people.
My main criticism of these new “picture frame” advertisements is that represent a failure of creativity. It looks like everyone involved took the path of absolute minimum effort without even trying for a more clever solution.
The selection of ads isn’t tailored to me or my interests in any way.
The content is pre-canned. The advertisers didn’t even make something new to blend in with the Tumblr platform, they just reused existing ads.
The picture frame presentation is boring, jarring, and ugly.
You can’t interact with the content like a normal post. You can’t like it, you can’t reblog it, you can’t comment on it. It doesn’t invite social interaction. You just have to sit there and stare at it.
I’m a little bit angry, but mostly I’m just disappointed. Surely, as a company, Tumblr can come up with something more creative than this.
First of all, you are officially invited to BallPitCon, where I already have confirmed guests The Ball Pit, Stephen Fry, This American Life, and Martin Freeman, who will be crocheting a square-bottomed necktie while being live-interviewed in the ball pit. The con fee for entrance is $85, but once you get in the doors, that price raises to $850.
I just need to say that none of this lampooning and fol-de-rol and satire would be remotely necessary if the con hadn’t actually done a bit of damage to people. Let’s be real here: I love me a ball pit. I grew up with no dollars and thought a trampoline was the most wonderful invention on God’s green earth (there will be a trampoline at BallPitCon).
What I mean to say is, I think it’s fun and charming to have a bouncy castle and some balls in a pool, really actually I do. I wish I had that at my house. I might buy aforementioned items when I get home, and I was planning to visit the ball pit, in all sober seriousness. This is NOT ABOUT SNARK. Never ever ever would I dream of mocking the ball pit, ever, scout’s honor, if the con itself had not done people harm.
Did it do everyone harm? No. Am I speaking for everyone? No. Am I speaking for anyone save myself and my own opinion? No. Did it do me harm personally? Yes. Am I talking about that fact when I say I am drawing the line? NO.
Am I talking about the fact they withdrew their extremely well-documented offer to pay for my hotel room without doing me the courtesy of informing me that I was now liable for changes, simply assuming that I’m a person who has that sort of skrilla, without so much as a by-the-way text message?
I don’t care that I have to put out for this. I care about the kids–and I mean both everyone under my ripe age of 34 and actual for-serious youngsters–who saved and dreamed and envisioned this con being a place where they could meet some folk from fandom and some folk from Night Vale, presumably without an additional $17,000.00 surcharge.
Where I draw the line is that people were here out of love–love for each other as fans, love for a TV show, love for the ability to create beautiful fanworks and sell them, love for the idea of a gathering about social media and its myriad glories–and not all of them could really afford it (I’ve spoken with several people on this subject), and when you buy something, you’re supposed to get That Thing You Bought.
Does it have to be perfect? No, it doesn’t. The bouncy castle can collapse and I will cheerfully stand in it and pretend it’s a shittier version of a tent. I am not a perfectionist. Ask my copyeditors.
But when you’re using people’s love of a fandom or a social media site to generate revenue and promising them 3,000-7,000 attendees (no), and Night Vale (no), and paying for fees (this is not just me, I am fine, but no), and the people in question are literally teenagers who are being given false information, and then you won’t step up to the plate and answer questions? You’re going to hide? You’re going to make an official statement saying it was PayPal’s fault Night Vale isn’t here?
I am 34 years old, and I feel OK, this weekend has been such a blast with meeting new and interesting people. But please don’t lie to folks who are young, and will take it to heart. And don’t have the money to cover the expenses they are now expected to foot. And don’t have the life experience to shout about it. Are they helpless? Absolutely not. But I am in the position to shrug this off, and I feel terrible for those who can’t.
EDIT as of 12:22 pm: Now they have said it was a mistake my room and beinggeekchic’s was not covered. I thank them for this, and I am happy that part of the problem was resolved in a civil and timely manner.