March 4, 2005

Become a Micropatron

by Andrew Stern · , 10:17 pm

Designer extraordinaire and long-time blogger Jason Kottke has taken the plunge and quit his day job, to blog full-time. Referring to that excellent comics issue of McSweeney’s, that I too greatly enjoyed, Kottke writes,

Chris Ware notes that “in the past decade or so, comics appear to have gained some greater measure of respect, due in no small part to the number of cartoonists who have begun to take the medium seriously”. This is me taking online personal publishing seriously because I feel it deserves as much.

Alright! … but, um… how’s he going to pay his rent?

Interestingly, instead of using ads to supplement his income as popular sites sometimes do, he writes,

I’m interested in exploring other avenues with a special interest in discovering sustainable ways for other folks to do things like this as well. … I’m attempting to revisit the idea of arts patronage in the context of the internet. Patrons of the arts have typically been wealthy individuals, well-heeled foundations, or corporations. As we’ve seen in many contexts, the net allows individuals from geographically dispersed locations to aggregate themselves for any number of reasons. So, when you’ve got a group of people who are interested in a particular artist, writer, etc., they should be able to mobilize over the internet and support that person directly instead of waiting around for the MacArthur Foundation or Cosimo de Medici to do it.

Kudos to Kottke! I’m very interested to see the electronic tip jar kind of thing become a reality. I’ll be following Kottke’s experiment closely. And I’m always excited to see folks quitting their day jobs and going for a dream, at least for a year or two, making the necessary sacrifices — Kottke’s moved to a cheaper apartment, expecting a much lower income, etc. It’s a stressful thing to do but it’s very rewarding, in an overall-life kind of way.

I tried to observe for myself how much effort it felt like to throw a buck in Kottke’s electronic tip jar. (Yes, just a buck — so maybe I’m only a nanopatron.) I had already had a PayPal account set up from the past, but I hadn’t used it in a while, so after clicking the “Contribute” button I still had to do the work of looking in my files for my password, and then had to fill out a small webpage form on PayPal. It wasn’t anywhere near as quick and easy as a real-life tip jar — I think once one-click electronic tipping exists, it’ll be much better.

Actually, what I’d like is to be able to simply click to drop in a quarter, and get that satisfying ‘clink’ sound. If I’m tipping for something I really like, I might click a few times and enjoy hearing several clinks. (I can’t get that “Ma-ia-hee” out of my head! Damn you Nick!)