A few days ago, Bill Wasik, op-ed contributor to The New York Times, wrote a thought-provoking piece about the Internet’s role in creative pursuit and ambition. Today, when living in New York City is basically a financial joke, many ambitious young artists and writers are finding new ways to market and promote themselves.
(Pictured: In case you didn’t feel alienated already, by fergusonphotography)
Wasik writes, “In their scope, both the Internet and New York are profoundly humbling: young people accustomed to feeling special about their gifts are inevitably jarred, upon arrival, to discover just how many others are trying to do precisely the same, with equal or greater success.”
New York City is home to the gatekeepers, people who scout and promote talent for a living. These professionals include publishers, music industry executives, and directors. However, so many people have big dreams, and so few get noticed by the gatekeepers. Making it is mostly a matter of luck.
Now, everyone has a Firstnamelastname.com, an Etsy store, a MySpace music page, or a Twitter. Who needs a gatekeeper when you’re resourceful and connected? Millions of young people are resourceful, talented, and connected.
The Internet is a tease. We think we are speaking to an audience of many, but really we don’t know who’s listening. The real problem with the web is that you probably won’t ever know if you’ve profoundly touched someone with a song on MySpace or a poem in an online literary magazine.
Of course, the same problem exists with more traditional forms of media (an author can’t watch her readers, and a musician can’t see who’s listening to his album), but the Internet perpetuates anonymity and distance.
Don’t be discouraged. Just love what you do and believe that it matters.