I like… things. And I really like the things I like. I want there to be more of the things I like and fewer of the things I don't like.
- mean people
- news about mean people
- derogatory speeches, hurtful words, slurs
- eye-for-an-eye mentality
- discrimination (not to be confused with having discriminating tastes!)
- "if it bleeds, it leads" sensationalism
- focusing on what's wrong (a.k.a., cursing the darkness)
- cruelty, especially animal cruelty
- nice people
- purring kitties and waggy doggies
- random acts of kindness
- new understanding
- breaking down of barriers
- positive news
- real people (vs. stereotypes and labels)
- focusing on what's right (a.k.a., lighting a candle)
One of the ways that I try to live my life with integrity is to bring laughter to my posts. I am not always a comic genius, but I do elicit my fair share of smiles and chuckles. (I was even told recently, "You're quite witty — for an American." Er, thanks?) I watch my word choices carefully and I try to make fun of my perceptions and preconceptions, rather than people.
I also use my purchasing power, such as it is, to buy products from companies that do not practice animal testing. This sometimes leaves me in the unenviable position of worrying if this all-natural deodorant goop will really work, or whether I'm in danger of killing my comrades with an afternoon of oniony armpit assaults. (Sorry, comrades, the bunnies win every time, though I do hang my head — and arms — in shame when the temperature rises.) And even though I'm still getting started with this whole blogging thing, I've already banned a couple of advertisers from my site because they endorse greyhound racing.
But much of this falls under the Things I Don't Like category. Let's focus on the positive, shall we? I DO like making responsible choices, I DO like supporting good causes, and I DO like encouraging artists and other creators to bring more awesomeness into the world. This is where Flattr comes in.
It was created by some of those crazy Swedish yahoos behind The Pirate Bay. I applaud their move toward legitimacy, as I strongly believe artists should be paid for their work, not penalized because greedy DRM-touting a-holes make it difficult for people to legally access content.
I know, I know — I still haven't told you what it is.
Flattr is a micropayments system that allows you to make tiny donations to the creators of work that you appreciate.
The Flattr website explains it thusly:
Flattr was founded to help people share money, not just content. Before Flattr, the only reasonable way to donate has been to use Paypal or other systems to send money to people. The threshold for this is quite high. People would just ignore the option to send donations if it wasn't for a really important cause. Sending just a small sum has always been a pain in the ass. Who would ever even login to a payment system just to donate €0.01? And €10 was just too high for just one blog entry we liked. Flattr solves this issue.
"Great!" you say. "I am all about supporting those awesome bloggers, musicians, and codemonkeys who make the things I enjoy! I totally get that I don't have to buy Fruity Blergs With Marshmallows just because they launched a buhjillion dollar advertising campaign to get me to buy their faux flavored flakes.
…But how does it work?"
The good folks at Flattr suggest you start with cake. Or at least a deliciously comprehensible birthday cake analogy. I mean, if you had a cake, you'd want to share it with people you liked, right? …RIGHT? *stern look*
So, gentle reader, you set aside a small amount of money and add it to your Flattr account for the month. When you find things to Flattr — blogs, photos, software, music, charities, etc. — you clicky the little Flattr button on the site. (You can also find cool things on the Flattr site itself.) The number of things you Flattr determines the amount that each creator receives at the end of that month, much like dividing a cake between a set number of people determines the size of the slices.
You can set up monthly Flattrs for your favorite creators, too!
And yes, once you set up an account, you can receive Flattrs, too — maybe bunches! It may seem like a trivial amount at times, but as they say in Swedish, "Many streams will form a large river." (You can watch the video linked on the front page of Flattr and hear one of the guys actually say that in Swedish, too. Neat!) It really does add up — and it makes a difference in the way we look at marketing and commerce.
[Clarification: According to Pelle Wessman, one of the web developers who works for Flattr (see comments on this post), you don't need to make a monthly contribution. You can make one larger contribution and then choose how much of that you want to use each month. This saves PayPal fees and makes sure that more of your Flattr funds go directly to the creators you want to support. You can find more in the Flattr FAQ. Thanks for setting us straight, Pelle!]
Geeks In Love comic used with the artist's permission (and duly Flattr-ed, of course).
In short, Flattr is a good step toward making the free market truly free.
So, do you like… things? And do you really like the things you like? Then sign up for Flattr and start changing the world!
Click to register.
Since writing this post, Flattr has been updated and you can now "Flattr" anyone with a Twitter account. This is great news for content creators everywhere on the web!
"The big news – Now you can flattr almost anyone. Since the beginning of Flattr times you, our users, have asked us for more great content to flattr. So we’ve brought you the whole internet. Or almost the whole internet, since we’re starting with enabling flattrs to Twitter user names. Almost everyone who’s someone has a Twitter account, so it’s tens of millions of creators you can show your support to now."
You can read more on the official Flattr blog.