Happy 2012, Everyone! Let’s start out the year by wrapping up my 2011 project – supporting a little of the Free I enjoy online every month. I’m happy to report that I did this for twelve months straight!
First, here’s the Free I supported in December:
I scored myself a copy of Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s CraftSanity Magazine. Jennifer’s a fellow podcaster, of course, so I’m acutely aware of the time and energy she puts into making and sharing Free. And her magazine is really delightful – great writing, great photography, lots and lots of value. If you listen to the Craft Sanity podcast, then this magazine is a wonderful way to show a little support.
I also ordered a pack of fat quarters from Daisy Janie. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the proprietress, Jan DiCintio, was my guest on the most recent podcast.
(Daisy Janie fabrics are sold at many retail outlets, but Jan maintains an online store of older designs.)
I met Jan in October at Fall Quilt Market, and have been loving her blog ever since. She puts a lot of heart and soul into what she does, and I have big plans for these fabrics. Big.
So, what did I learn from supporting Free each month?
Well, several things, really…
Image by kayaker1204, via Flickr
It wasn’t expensive.
One theme I hear regularly when we have discussions about supporting Free is this: “I’d love to support my fellow bloggers, but I just can’t afford it right now.” And of course, these are lean times and some people really can’t afford it.
But honestly, I’ve lived for most of this year on a low income, and even so, I was able to find a few spare dollars each month. (One glorious month, I found a couple hundred! But that’s not at all the norm around here.)
The thing is, it doesn’t take much at all to reach out and say, “I like what you’re doing, and here’s a tangible expression of my appreciation.” You can use Flattr for as little as $7.00 per month. You can click someone’s donation button for even less than that.
This doesn’t have to be a big investment. It just has big meaning.
Image by Livia lacolare, via Flickr
I found myself wishing for more ways to support good content.
Here’s what I mean by that: remember this informal chart I made a few months back? I investigated all the blogs in my RSS reader to see what ways they had available for me to support them.
It makes sense, of course, that a community of crafters would mostly have online stores selling their crafts. But you know what? I’m a crafter, too, and my house is already overflowing with crafts. What I would love is a way to pay more of my favorite bloggers for the wonderful posts I enjoy on their blogs. Honestly, I’d love to have access to more PayPal donation buttons, and more Flattr buttons.
I still adore Sandra Juto’s brilliant “online store where you don’t buy anything” model. (Which, sadly, she seems to have taken down.) I’d love to see more bloggers providing opportunities to chip in for their content – I think it only helps all of us move into more active support of each other.
I’ve said this before, but there’s a difference between your community and your market. Your community needs your support, but it may not necessarily need your product. Your market needs your product! Give both groups a way to support you!
Image by jakejohnson, via Flickr
I really wish I had more company!
The more visible we can make this idea of community support, the more people we can encourage to join in. And here’s the important part: the more people participate, the more we all can benefit. I would love to hear regular reports on how you’re supporting Free!
Be the change you want to see in the world. Water the gardens you want to have growing. If receiving more support from your community is important to you, how about giving your community more support this year?