Patrons and Recipients
As the new year begins, I have been looking through some of my patronage. I am using the term broadly, it includes Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Bandcamp, direct subscriptions, and lump sum payments. It is an interesting dance that occurs in the Internet commerce age. There are multiple ways to purchase things currently, it can be done as a finished good being purchased or one can make payments in support of future work. It is the support of the future work that I have found to be interesting and varying between parties.
There are some artists that I am a true patron of, I simply make a payment in support of their work. Yes, they provide updates and content at times. However the support is just to support the work with no expectation of new content. The idea is that one is supporting the creation of new work and typically a patron will receive the work. However it is not a relationship where one says, I pay you US$15 and you will provide me 65 minutes of music.
There is also the world of Patreon where one pledges a specific amount for specific events. The idea being that one pledges to make a payment for each finished item. There is typically a ceiling on the monthly payment but also a sliding scale of what you pay for what you receive. There is no guarantee that one will receive anything but there is also no payment without the delivery of something.
There is also Kickstarter where one makes a pledge to fund the project if enough other people commit as well. If the project is funded, payment is made before receiving any goods. It is a leap of faith that goods and services will be delivered after the payment has been made. One simply has to hope that the goods are expected.
In all of these agreements there is one key element that can make this successful and enjoyable for both parties – communication.It becomes a dance of communication where one does not want to harass the artist, however one still wants to know what is being expected by both parties. That is key to allow people to feel confident in the process. I have had some recipients that communicate consistently, even if it just something as small as saying hello. There are other recipients that enter radio silence after the pledge. That is very frustrating and at times makes one wonder if the support is truly appreciated. It makes me, I will not speak for everyone, not want to support those that do not communicate.
So if you are asking for funding, remember to communicate. Having said my peace, I think I am going to remove some of my patronages.
I am securing my e-mail
I have been catching up on enjoyment reading recently. I recently read a few Cory Doctorow (I used the non-secure site as the link as it renders better) books and saw the line between reality and fiction blurring. I know that much of this interweaving is on purpose, but it got me thinking about a few things. The tipping point came a few days later though, when I got a call soliciting about refinancing the house.
The interesting thing was that the call came from a mobile/cellular telephone. This person called and indicated that they were with my bank and asked me if I was interested in refinancing. That immediately set off warning bells, so I said no thank you. I also called my bank and spoke to “my banker” and asked her about the call. She said that it is a legitimate program but agreed that someone should not be calling from their cell phone for such a thing. She asked if I was interested in refinancing and that she would have their local person get in touch since I was.
My banker knows that at times e-mail is easier for less pressing items, so she introduced the two of us via e-mail. Just contact information, nothing identifying. Yes, she is prudent with security. That e-mail got me thinking a little more. Not just the fact that she knew to not send private data, but more how could I know if the people I was e-mailing with are actually who they say they are.
I have been aware of Public-Key Cryptography for about two decades as I had used it for project transmittals in the 1990’s using PGP or Pretty Good Privacy. The idea is that it takes two keys to unlock a message, I create both. One that is private and one that is public. I distribute the public key to people I want to communicate securely with. People encrypt items to me using the public key, however I am the only one who can decrypt it. It also works in reverse, people can send me their public key and I can encrypt messages to them. The reason this can be powerful is that not only is the message encrypted, it also allows the users to verify the sender of the e-mail.
That is the important part for me, and the reason I am encouraging more people to encrypt their mail. It is not just for securing the contents, it is also for knowing that the sender truly is who they say they are. Think about how much that would cut down on phishing and other fraudulent e-mail scams. If I could verify that the sender was who they say their are. I know I would feel much safer if I received an e-mail from my banker that was signed with a Public Key.
I am using GPGTools as it integrates in my environment very easily as PGP has taken some interesting twists since I started using it. I simply installed the suite and voila it was functioning. I am also in the process of doing the same thing for files as well. The encryption on the files is as much to verify that it came from me, as it is to protect the files when I store them in the “cloud”. So if you get an e-mail from me, which you might after all the messenger options, don’t be surprised if it is signed. My public key identifier is C93A52C6. You can download my public key from http://www.bradfordbenn.com/BradfordBenn-C93A52C6.asc
Blogging into the Blind
As I was looking at last year’s statistics for my website and sub sites I was fairly disheartened. I have very little followers and have not sold any prints. I thought about it a little and realized that one of the main reasons is that I have added very little content over the past year. I added a total of 6 posts last year, not really exciting and constantly updating. This year I plan on adding more content more often. As we all know, the best laid plans… or as I say life gets in the way.
My post popular post created in 2013 was “Convention Caricature Caused by Production Values” with a total of 105 views according to Google Analytics. My most popular post was actually from two years ago with 778 views, mainly coming from Google searches, about how the NHL makes it difficult to be a fan. Interesting to see what is popular and how some posts have staying power. i have had a total of 2 comments posted and some pages that have had no views at all.
What does this mean to you my reader, well I am not really sure. I do however have a question, what topics would you like to read about and see posted on the blog? I have some ideas, but figure I would ask and see if there are any burning questions that I have not covered in my Unasked Questions page. Would you rather see lots of shorter posts or less frequent longer posts?