I’m not quite sure where I first read about Jonathan Schwarz’s Five Dollar Friday project – but it immediately struck a chord with me.
For me, the concept of finding a different on-line project, foundation, cause, or artwork to donate a fiver to every week isn’t really about creating “a new economic model” for such work, but rather is a meditative way for me to be more mindful about not taking the hard work of others, freely given, for granted.
It’s very easy to get a sense of entitlement about all the great material that’s on-line, I’m just as bad as anyone: What do you mean no one has crafted the exact WordPress plugin I need? What do you mean no one has updated this piece of software in a month? What do you mean my favourite webcomic is taking a week off? When the miraculous (a global pool of fantastic work out there to draw from that costs nothing) surrounds you daily, it’s only human you’d begin to trivialize it (perhaps Messieurs J and 2 Dope said it best).
Let’s be frank – most people waste $5 a week on something that matters a lot less to them than the on-line services, products, and people who make a genuine difference in their week. I bought a keychain for $5 yesterday in the shape of a little 8mm camera. It lights up and makes a “filming” sound when you press the trigger and a little led flickers in the lens. It will be broken within the month, I am sure.
This is just a token effort at thinking a little bit about who makes my Internet the great place it is – spending, even a nominal amount keeps me from assuming that “free” equates to “valueless” in an interesting way – and if others can benefit from that – more the better.