I am not a puppet

Repeat after me. I am not a puppet. No, don’t do what I tell you to do. Decide for yourself. Are you deciding for yourself? Put down your phone for a day. Do you have a different answer now?

Back in the nineties I used to feel like I was doing creative work on the World Wide Web, and making meaningful connections with people who I would never have met otherwise. I actually knew all my friends and wouldn’t think to count how many of them liked every single thing I did or said or took a picture of. Now I don’t enjoy it so much anymore.

The main reason that I want to host my podcast from Listen & Be Heard and not from Facebook Live or YouTube or Apple or Spotify or any number of other large commercial entities is for my own emotional well-being, and yours. Most “free” services come with the burden of emotional manipulation by operators who choose to remain in the shadows. It’s an old game being taken to ever-newer heights. I used to think that I was being exploited by providing so much free content to such places, but now I understand that I am the content being mined and molded.

Here at Listen & Be Heard the only ads you will see are the same ones every other visitor will see. They will be chosen or created by the content creators as a perk for contributing their work. We are not, will not, don’t want to, collect or sell data about you. It’s not always easy to discern what is the right thing to do. For example, I have two self-published books available at Amazon. As an author and contributor to the site, I want people to know about my books, just as other contributors to this site may want to do.

You can see banner ads for my books in the sidebar of this column. Now, Amazon does have a way to track you on sites like mine, because I have to sign up as an associate to run those ads for my books. Any associate can run ads from Amazon on their sites that will recognize you as an Amazon user and serve up what they think are appropriate ads for you. I am circumventing that possibility by only choosing ads for a specific book or recording. I can’t prevent them from knowing that you bought the book, but there won’t have been any input from them about what you should buy…

This isn’t about making money off your misery. It’s not about making money from advertising, but promoting what creators have to offer. It’s about building a community with immunity to the giant commercial forces dominating the landscape. I do believe that the only way to do that is to nurture each other in as many non-monetary ways as we can come up with. These are my thoughts today as I continue to research my avenues for podcasting while holding to the ideals of my roots in community radio.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments below.

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