Let me start this with a worrying trend: I haven’t received yet a single hate mail. Am I not sticking my neck out far enough? Thanks readers and commentators for contributing to this trend; a trend that’s completely unrepresentative judging from what makes the rounds on the Net these days. While I still enjoy a certain “virginity,” fellow bloggers are reporting abuses to the point that there’s no way to leave comments unmoderated. On this site? Haven’t moderated a single comment yet.
I don’t want to name names, you people familiar with the trade know what I’m talking about. Let me say so much: I admire each and every one who dedicates his or her time to run a website. There may be one or two who can make a living from it, but you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Web publishing, these days, has to first and foremost be a labor of love.
So in this context it comes as no surprise that Steve Huff publishes the well overdue — and meanwhile pulled — What Is Wrong With Passion and Enthusiasm? Nothing!, talking about the bitterness and hate he’s facing from a minority of the community while all he does is living his passion. Preemptively, Steve even closed the comment form.
Steve’s passion means a 60 to 70 hours workload per week just for a website. He does it for free while Ming Thein might be charging $2k for a workshop and asks for financial support by loyal readers. And even that is fair because, and believe me, the work that goes into a quality site can in no way be compared to an average nine-to-five grind.
Maybe some consumers out there have no idea where authentic, original content is coming from. Maybe today we all expected everything to be free because so much is available for free already. That’s why we find ourselves drowning in a total oversupply of often completely inane information. Some even share not to share a goat.
Now are photographers a peculiarly aggressive bunch of people? Dismissive aggression, as a consequence of knowing-everything-better, is a common behavior among some Web users. Who hasn’t witnessed shock-and-awe tactics in online forums. Online wars tend to amplify real-life situations and especially photographers, it seems, can be monumentally stubborn, jealous and childish at times.
Anyways, most aggression is usually flared by insecurities. Some photographers, enjoying the anonymity of the Web, have turned into keyboard warriors attacking everything that’s not according to their own little conditioned world. Think what you want of people that do things differently than you and think differently than you, but hey it’s individual personalities behind each and every site. If they’d all do and think the same, we’d all end up reading the same site.
How exciting would that be.
It’s not bloggers who instigate the fights, it’s users playing a blogger off against another blogger or Web luminary for that. Why don’t they start their own portal. Criticism is important and in many cases constructive and welcome, but be it Ken Rockwell, Thorsten Overgaard, Steve Huff, Ming Thein or anyone else doing what they love to do, give these guys a break and show some respect for their hard work.
THEME readers, on the other hand, seem to be an especially respectful circle of people, and I thank you for that. Once you start sending hate mails I take it as a broad hint that we start challenging the Web hierarchy… Well within not even a year we’ve crossed the 100,000 Alexa Global Traffic Rank threshold. Quite a feat!
Sure I wish you’d order all your gear via sponsored links and that you’re not ad blind. But as others, I’d be a fool to be in it for the money. It’s a passion thing, and I take the solid growth and lack of hate correspondence as silent signs of not boredom, but appreciation. Thank you!