Why I'm Here

As some of you who read this blog know, I got my start in community access television. At 19 years old, I was hired to be what they call a “staff” producer. My job was to work with volunteers who wanted to produce TV shows. These were people from all walks of life, who would come to the station once, twice, three times a week or even more, and give freely of their time to create engaging content for our little station. They would shoot, edit, direct, and write. I would help them with the finer points of putting a TV show on the air, but essentially most of the hard work was done by them. Not to say that my job wasn’t time consuming – I had, at one point, 5 weekly half hour shows to produce, and 2 bi-weekly shows. I worked, on a good week, 75-85 hours. I got paid crap. I was a kid, though, so I handled it without too much complaining – after all, it was a job in TV, and in 1990, I was ahead of most of the people I went to college with. 

This post was inspired by something that happened to me on Facebook the other day. I was invited to join a group. Not just any group – a group of people from my old job at the cable access station – many of whom I really never thought I’d see, hear or speak to again. Now that I’m in the group, I couldn’t be happier about reconnecting with this part of my past. 

What has dawned on me over the past few days, as I’ve viewed photos and shared memories with my old gang, is that what we were doing back in the heydays of community cable was really special. We had no budget. We made no money. But, week after week, we put out good content. Here’s the kicker. We didn’t care if one person watched our show, or if 1000 people watched our show. If someone called the viewer comment line, we were ecstatic – even if they were calling to complain that they didn’t like our show. At least they were watching. Somehow, we managed to engage people, for better or for worse. 

Flash forward 18 years. Here I am, at 9:30 on a Wednesday night (coincidentally the same time and day that I used to produce my weekly local music show, “Soundtrack”), writing this blog post. I am again, producing content, hopefully good content. I am making no money at it. I don’t care if 1 person reads this or if 100 people read it. I am ecstatic if someone leaves a comment, even if it’s to complain that they don’t like what I’m saying. At least someone’s reading it. And, somehow, I’m managing to engage people, for better or for worse. 

I think I just figured out why I love social media so much.

12 comments
Christina
Christina

Suze, I just stumbled across your site tonight, and have enjoyed reading and hearing your passion! After reading this post, I rushed to comment so you'd know someone did... not noticing right away how many people already had. :-) You produce great content -- thank you for sharing it.

Mipovia
Mipovia

Lovely :) At some time in the electronic communications industry, i think 1990's, the biggest moves in the computer and networking world took place, rights were open, different companies worked on each other's projects: altered and improved them. Technology advanced very rapidly at the time (even faster than today), until the time came and each one of them decided to make boundaries.. If things were made for the sake of them, and not money, it will be nice.

Danny
Danny

Firstly, GREAT pitch to Tom about subscribing to you - very canny! ;-) Again, you've come up with another excellent post, Susan - and one that anyone in a similar situation can understand all too well. Although it can be true of life as well - as long as you touch just one person, you've made a difference. I don't think you'll ever need to worry about not reaching people with content this great, mind you ;-)

Bob LeDrew
Bob LeDrew

"The phone lines are lighting up! We've nevber had this many calls!" "How many?" "Two! Hello? Sorry, wrong number. Hello? Yes, I AM interested in long-distance savings... VERRRRRY interested..." :-)

Gregg Fraley
Gregg Fraley

I produced local origination cable back in the 80's -- and your post brought back interesting memories. If you have passion for the content it doesn't matter if you have an audience or not.

Tom Curran
Tom Curran

I will think about the subscription Suz. I am one of those men that like to think they have some control. Think is the keyword. I know so many things can be automated, linked, subscribed to, etc, but I am from the pre-computer era, and have retained some of that 'I can do-it-myself' independent crusty "I am steering my own ship" kind of attitude. This has nothing to do with you, nor the web and all its beauties. Back to the topic, I throw all kinds of effort into my passions and see little remunerative return, but enjoy my life like I never thought possible. So I thank you for stirring up the dust bunnies in the back of my mind. So keep up the good work, and keep those thoughts-a-flowin' T

suzemuse
suzemuse

Thanks for your comment, Tom! I like your point about the Web being a tailor-made experience. You know, you can also subscribe to my posts by clicking the "Subscribe in a Reader" link - then you don't have to keep checking back - my posts will come to you!

Tom Curran
Tom Curran

Now I find myself checking your site almost daily for new posts. Well, today is my lucky day! You mention one of my peeves: TV. Mainstream American Television for me is a mind numbing machine. I believe that it has been used in the US as a tool to form our society. When a television is on, I am drawn to it, like a moth to a porchlight. The human is defenseless against such a machine. In this sense, Television is a menace, when programmed with the wrong motives. Murder in the street shows, Trauma Hospital shows, you're too fat commercials, you'd be happier if you bought THIS car, better sexlife if you take this drug, etc, etc. Our population is bombarded with anxieties and desires beyond our means from the first push of the remote until it's time to go to bed. The web, however, is more interactive, and can be anything you like, self-tailored to your wishes. For communication, it is the tool of choice. I have found community within the bounds of the web, and then met people in person, talked to them on the phone, etc. My sense of the world as a community has grown along with my expanding horizons. Thanks for your thoughts provoking my thoughts. Tom

Christine Kambourakis
Christine Kambourakis

Hey Suze, Great post once again! What might seem like rants or just ramblings to you are actually quite thought provoking points and questions to many other readers, including myself. I like the content and also really enjoy your writing style. After reading your posts, I always ask myself how I would write about such a topic... Only a great writer conjures up such questions in others. I'm definitely a reader who appreciates you have continued with this labour of love for all these years and it' absolutely for the better!

exoticat
exoticat

Doing what you love always yields the best results in life--you are doing what you clearly should be doing--may it continue to inspire you.

Mark Figart
Mark Figart

Nice, Suze. Very nice. For the first time I've bitten off a project that will, for some time at least, involved creating significant volumes of content -- copy, audio, video... -- for little or no financial reward. This post helps me connect with the higher purpose and fundamental passion behind the idea. Thanks.

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