The beauty of the web is its open nature. Content is—for the most part—free for everyone. But that openness and freeness has become, in the last few years, deeply intertwined with the advertising world. Content is free to consume even though you're still paying for it, albeit not willingly.
Today, the 2020 Internet is experiencing the rise of subscriptions. I'm sure you've noticed it. They're everywhere. Everything is a subscription these days.
Subscriptions aren't inherently bad. The difference is not the money. The difference is human perception. Impulse buy are just that: impulsive. You buy something and then you forget about it. Subscriptions are a bit harder to forget. That's because every week or every month or every year, something will remind you that you decided to subscribe to that service. And that's a decision you need to face constantly.
Do I really want to keep sending this money to that person? Do I really need this service? That's mentally tiring.
The older I grow, the more I enjoy the idea of paying for the content I consume. There's something oddly satisfying in knowing you're contributing, even in a small part, to the creation of good content.
I'm no billionaire, I'll probably never become one, and so I know my contributions are just a drop in the ocean. But it's still something worth doing.
If you can, consider supporting the sites you enjoy. Don't take for granted that what's available now will be available in the future. The majority of the web is a labour of love and passion. Countless people invested their time and money to produce original content that's now available for us to consume.
I'll end this post with the shortlist of sites and people I'm actively supporting. Maybe go check them out and also consider writing about your list. Promoting good content is often as important as supporting it directly.
I'm an active member of Craig's Explorers Club. I consumed pretty much all the content produced by this man in the past few years and I'm more than happy to spend some of my money to help the creation of even more content.
Joh doesn't have a way to support him directly but as soon as Kawara—his latest project—went live I subscribed. Not because I need the app but because I'm happy to support what he's doing in that space. I love his writing and I love his digital experiments.
I've been a subscriber to Sam's podcast for years. There are some awesome conversations in the archives and in addition to countless excellent book recommendations I also got a lifetime subscription to his Waking Up app in return.
Guess there's no need to tell you what Wikipedia is.
Rob is a good friend of mine. We connected quite randomly back in 2013 when I submitted a one pager I designed to his One Page Love and he got in touch and asked me to convert that into a WordPress theme. The theme is long gone but our friendship is still there. Rob recently launched a subscription/membership to support the awesome Yo! podcast and I think I'm member #1. Always support your friends.