I have been making things on the internet for a long time. Not all of them were good things: for the first several years I made crappy videos on Youtube. In fact, I’d say I’ve only been making quality content for the last 2-1/2 years of my 7-year internet carrier. And that only started when I made a bunch of webcomics and then made a conscious effort to make my video and articles (blog posts) better. My videos might have been alright for some time before that, but other things I did weren’t.
Even so, I’m not particularly popular. I do quite a few things that get some views, but I am for the most part a background character on the internet. Sometimes I think about internet generations, and how I’ve actually survived through several of them. I haven’t quit since I’ve started, and during that time I’ve not been rewarded with tons of views or engagement, partially because a lot of it wasn’t the best quality.
That is not to say I don’t have people liking and commenting fairly regularly (less so on my main site). People do, but I do feel quite distant from them and like they are a minority. I do this because I like doing it. And even though I haven’t made enough money to cover the expenses of doing it, it’s highly likely that I will continue doing it in the future.
Especially considering that since I started, my viewers (readers, etc.) have only gone up (sometimes down suddenly, but up is the overall trend). While they haven’t exploded like many other people who put a lot of content on the internet, there is no denying that there are more people who read me now than there were before. And I don’t think that trend will reverse for quite some time.
Sometimes it does feel like I’m just talking into the void, which seems lonely. Bu I have confidence that if I keep putting things up, keep my accounts active, keep moving forward, that people, even a few, will see what I have previously done. Because, contrary to what many might say, it is quite possible for things to disappear on the internet, mostly due to neglect from creators. If one creates something, even if it is immensely popular, eventually fewer people will remember it, and there will be little to no chance of recovering it if the creator lets his domain registration lapse and the content is erased from its original servers. Because those who might re-post the content on their own Youtube channel, or their own blog, etc. are much more likely to lose the content later, whether they chose to, or their account was abandoned or deleted. Piece by piece, internet history (as all history) falls apart and we can’t remember it all.
I’ve been fortunate for my own drive to create, and keep creating even if no one is watching. I might even prefer it that way (though money to like, live would be nice). Many people can’t keep making videos, or drawing comics, or writing articles if no one is watching, if no one is engaging, etc. I can, and I made a conscious decision a long time ago that I would continue to do so, which I guess is quite vain. I keep creating so that my past creations aren’t lost forever, and to incrementally increase my chance of “making it”.
I enjoy it. I hope other people enjoy it and find it useful, and of course I hope it grows. There are plenty of project, large and small, that I wish hadn’t ended due to creators moving on in some way (having another idea, getting bored, changing lifestyle, etc) and maybe I’ll be one of those people in the future (I hope not). But for now, I’ll be here, plinking away into the endless stream of new and amazing things appearing all over the place. And even if it doesn’t work out that I “make it”, sometimes people like me just need to talk into the void.