the internet is powered by people

So I did this…!/bluedance/status/197005733370400769

I did that thing I do where I open my mouth and volunteer and end up in charge. Except I did it on the internet, and things got real, very fast. Which is interesting in and of its self because the internet is this intangible thing that is weaving it’s way from the fringes of reality into the core of what we do every day.

So what exactly am I referring to? I realize that this may be a confusing and/or vague tweet to a lot of you that follow me, then again, it may not be.

  1.  Amanda Palmer. One of my favorite musicians/internet people/inspirations.  She’s pretty awesome, check her out.
  2.  what exactly am I organizing? and why does it cost $5000? A kickstarted house party.
Amanda Palmer, London, Sept 2011

Let me backtrack to explain. Back in 2009 Amanda ditched her record label in an effort to gain control over her art and find new, better ways of making art happen. She also dove into being highly active with her fans, and while she might not be a household name like Lady Gaga, the fans that she does have are very dedicated. We’re a community of people an inspired and inspiring bunch that bridge the gap between social media and the real world. We’re working to change the status quo in business & art. I actually find this kind of thing so interesting that I wrote my dissertation on it. Now, three years later Amanda is ready to produce her next album.

Usually an artist gets the capital needed for an album/tour/etc from a record label. So instead of having a middle man to manage all the funds, as an independent artist, Amanda went straight to the fans through kickstarter which is platform people can use to crowdsource funds for various projects and offer rewards/incentives for donating more money (check out her guest blog on TechDirt about how she’s made this work). The smallest pledge amount to garner a reward on Amanda’s kickstarter? $1 will get you a digital download of the new album with limited kickstarter-only content. The reward levels go up to $10,000 and her initial goal ($100,000) was reached in just a few short hours. As I’m writing this now, less than a week after launch, the project is over half a million and at nearly 10,000 supporters.

This is where the needing a house and $5000 comes in. If you pledge $5000 you can get the reward of a private house party for up to 50 people. She comes and hangs out and plays music, and everyone has an awesome time. Awesome things happen.

I live in a 2 bedroom apartment (so it totally wasn’t happening here), and I couldn’t just buy one and invite 50 people. So why not reach out to all the other local fans and see if we couldn’t pool our resources. So many amazing things come of this. And to show the power of the internet and connecting people, it took less than 4 days to gather enough people to pledge the funds to make this project feasible. We even have had someone volunteer their house to have this house party up on the Columbia River Gorge (!).

Internet + awesome people = awesome things happening

because when the internet is used for social behavior, it becomes a type of community, becomes a place to make human connections.

Yeah, I’m taking a risk, putting the money down on my own credit card and waiting on the promises of 40-50 odd strangers to send me money. Without risk there is no reward. But it’s also a calculated decision in this case. These aren’t just any 40-50 odd strangers. These are highly active & dedicated fans of Amanda Palmer; they’re part of the community. Even though it’s something intangible, on the ephemeral waves of the internet, it’s something I’ve experienced traverse the boundaries between online and offline before. And it’s a powerful thing.

That said and done. Sometime next year I’ll be hanging out with some new friends and our favorite musician, enjoying life because we all took the chance to trust a stranger and make magic happen.


Author: Monica

punk rock ballerina. writer. adventurer.

2 thoughts on “the internet is powered by people”

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