The Internet’s Wasteful Things

The Internet is full of wasteful things and folks who are caught up in acts of virtual hoarding… myself included.

It’s easy to do because the things we hoard aren’t physical. They don’t take up tangible space that we can see, so it slips by. We purchase another Steam Humble Bundle or add another free ebook to the ever-growing backlog. And then, one day, we wonder why these digital creations have so little worth and how it got so far out of hand.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having a variety of cool stuff to pick from at a low cost. I love me some Steam sales. There’s some kind of momentary euphoria gained when you find something on sale or for free and you drop it in your backlog… be it a game, an app, digital music or an ebook.

But on the flip side, it’s easy to forget that there were people… creators, artists, coders, musicians… who put their heart and soul into these bits and bites. They spent untold hours pouring everything they had into creating that game, book, app or song.

And what do I do with it? I plop it in the backlog and forget about it.

As a creator myself, this makes me feel bad. I’m so… so… so… guilty.

My Steam library. This doesn’t include my GoG backlog. Or what I have on Origins. Or the multitude of MMOs I have installed…

Because as a creator, I know how it feels. I know how it is to put hours of my own free time into writing and art each week only to feel like that work is drown out by the endless cacophony that each person on the Internet is subjected to in an almost constant stream. There’s just so much vying for every inch of our attention, and it’s not humanly possible to give that attention to everything.

We learn how to selectively block things out. We become less sensitive and assign things less attention-worth because we have to. But what’s the results of this?

Loss of Passionate Creation

I think it hits the creators hardest. Yesterday, I read this post called When Everyone Is Special, No One Is. It focuses on this issue from a novelist’s point of view, but the same can be said for game designers or any kind of creator who wants their works to have some worth to the world. Even this writer has fallen to the ways of an overgrown book backlog.

Now days, anyone with the right tools can toss an ebook up on Amazon to sell it (spoken from experience). Or code a game and somehow get the concept passed into Early Access on Steam. There’s no one culling these things or checking them for quality, and just so many more appear day after day. And granted, not all of them are good or worthy of the price tag placed on it (sorry creators).

But the biggest problem is that with so many titles constantly flowing in, a small talented beginner, someone worthy of attention and money, may find it almost impossible to get noticed. You could have the most awesome idea ever embodied in type or code, but unless you get the right breaks, or somehow manage to go viral, who is going to hear about it?


Then you start seeing the desperate free book weekends on Amazon or Steam sales and huge game bundle sites… which probably don’t generate much more attention (unless you get really lucky).  It just lowers the worth of the product overall.

Maybe a consumer picks up the book or the game, only to toss it over their shoulder into the backlog and never look at it again. There’s no worth to that item… it’s just one of many already accumulated. This is the consequence of the Internet’s wasteful things.

Eventually, sensitive creators and would-be hopefuls start to get discouraged. Why should they bother putting their time and effort into something that it feels like no one cares about? There’s already so many games/books/apps/blogs/art out there, what’s the point in making another?

Bummer… but I understand that feeling too well.

Sadly, I don’t have an answer for it. I just know I feel guilty when I don’t give a game the appropriate time and attention that it probably deserves. There’s only so many hours of free time in a day.

Still, I can’t help but think about the creators.