Last nights post got lost for longer than usual in the Tumblr app cache limbo, and it gave me a while to reflect on the worth of my own and all other writing online.
Usually it’s free. As per the original plan of the World Wide Web. Open and free access for all. An amazing idea. Except you have to pay someone for your internet access. Since wifi and cellular data back home is everywhere, and at home it’s a utility as needed (it seems) as electricity and gas, I’ve stopped being aware of the effective cost. I just blog, Instagram, Flickr, sometimes Tweet and chat and that’s that.
But last night in a remote part of Sri Lanka we need Google Maps so paid for a bit of data. Texting EE for free, for 20MB of data for £18, was needed and put a value on Google Maps that was well worth it. Otherwise we’d have been lost. I had data left and so lacking wifi for the night at our next stop I decided to use that last bit on my daily post. Sunk cost and all that. It was spent, might as well use it.
When the post disappeared, and I feared not into the cache, but into lost-ness, I was a mix of annoyed at Tumblr, disappointed to lose my writing, and more so of the waste of the data which had run out completely during my constant refreshing to find the lost post.
All feelings combined, the thing that struck me most was putting a price on my writing. That is to say that I used the data because it was left over, when It was effectively free. When I lost the writing I felt I’d lost £10 worth of data AND ergo, £10 worth of writing… which felt a bit high.
What if we had to pay more consciously for what we put on online? Just in theory. How much would you pay to post to a blog? Or send a message? Or to Tweet or Instagram or Snapchat or Pin or Facebook or whatever? Which would you still do and which would you stop? Further more, which of those channels would be worth more (or less) to everyone if the content was something that each author had parted cash for in order to share?