Companies are flocking to social media and crowdsourcing platforms in the hopes of finding cheaper or more effective ways to market their wares. This is understandable for we all need to make a living, however, I think the real promise of social media is bigger than just a financial transaction. People give their time and money for reasons above and beyond financial gain.
Crowdfunding site Kickstarter is a great example of non-financial motives for giving. Kickstarter is a platform to fund creative ideas. It is not investing, project creators retain complete ownership of their projects.
“Project creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering products, benefits and fun experiences.”
The great thing is that people do fund projects for “fun experiences.” There are many people completely willing to part with a little cash in order to play a small role in a community. And yes, each project is a community because like minded individuals are connecting around a single idea.
At the time of writing this post, Bud Caddell has attracted $6377 in funding from 88 backers for his book project, The Bucket Brigade: How Everything in the Attention Economy Actually Works and 10 Rules to Profit from it. Pledges of $25 or more get their name and URL in the book. More than $100 earns editorial membership. Backing of more than $500 gets “special attention from me (Caddell) far beyond the production of this book.”
Think about that for a moment, if you donate more than $100 you also get to edit the book for free. Caddell’s successful funding proves that money isn’t the only motivator. I think this is a positive and very powerful cultural advancement. Some professional connections and engagements are more valuable than a mere financial exchange.
That to me is the real power of social media. We are connecting around ideas and beliefs and not only trying to sell each other something. As we develop as societies and continue to climb Maslow’s Hierarcy, money is becoming less of a motivator.
Caddell was only asking for $5000 in funding, which is not a lot of money to write, edit and publish a book. Clearly it is not only about the money for him either. Lumi Co. on Kickstarter said,
“Kickstarter is an incredible platform. Its obvious purpose is funding, but we find ourselves gaining so much outside of collecting pledges. For us, Kickstarter has been a powerful tool to connect with a community passionate about our work.”
Many of us blog, upload videos and pictures, contribute to open source projects like Wikipedia and Linux with little or zero financial benefit. There is definitely more to life than money. Being part of a community and connecting with fellow humans has value in and of itself. We really are putting the ‘social’ into social media.
Thanks to Edward Boches for inspiring this post.