Friday, September 7, 2012

I suck at this Flattr business

I sometimes get asked about my Flattr arrangement. What's the business plan? Do I make any money? Does it affect my writing?

I rarely get around to answer these questions. Time to get to it.

For those of you who for whatever reason don't know what this whole Flattr thing is, the short version of it is that it's a virtual tip jar. If you see something you like and want to give the author a proverbial coin in the mug, clicking the Flattr button is one way of doing that. (There's a longer version here, should you be interested.)

Now, calling my relationship to Flattr a "business plan" would be to conduct all manners of violence on language. It's neither business nor planned - rather, it is one of the things taken for granted in my community of peers. If you have a blog, you put a Flattr button on it. Or several, as the case might be.

If one were to have a business plan for it, it would most likely be of the retroactive kind. As the old saying goes, the internet never forgets, and that goes very much for things one published long ago. Since things can resurface unexpectedly at just about any moment, it's good business sense to have that virtual tip jar at hand, just in case. And, of course, to have a lot of things that can resurface. The more the better.

(One could also game the Flattr community by writing a lot about the Flattr community. Leading the proverbial horse to water, as it were.)

Regardless of my lack of business savvy, I actually do make some money out of it. Not much, but a few Euros find their way to me every month. As to what I do with them - well, I don't. I in fact use it as a kind of war chest, labeled "In case of emergency". I've only used it once, and then only to buy food for a particularly emergent situation.

It's actually rather comforting to know that it is there. No matter how small the amount in it may seem from a moneyed point of view - I don't need a lot to carry on.

Turning to the last question - does it affect my writing? - I can only say that no, not really. While it is interesting to see which posts get flattred and which doesn't, I write about whatever happens to be on my mind whenever writing happens. Which tends to be the strangest of things, as you might have already suspected.

And that's what I plan to keep doing. Starting right about now.

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