The Allure of Free

I used to love free.  I would seek out the free solution.  I was a snob when it came to paying for technology and software.

And now?  I have become increasingly suspicious of “free.”

Either you pay for it monetarily.  Or you become the tool for revenue creation.  Rather than a monetary exchange, you are exchanging your attention.

And this is far more damaging than we realize.

But we are starting to catch on.  There has been a proliferation in the use of ad blockers.   Many of us are logging on to social media less and less.  And for good reason.

You log onto a website and immediately an unrelated video ad starts playing in the background.  Or a huge pop up ad makes you close out before you can browse.

The shit is annoying.

But I think we tend to discount the greater problem – as we develop better antibodies and as we become more immune to the coy ads, the marketers try harder.  They pray off our fears – they work to entice us to buy thing we don’t want.  They try and play off our desires.  And too often, it works.

For so long, I think we just thought it was normal.  And we thought this was the only way.  It turns out its not.  It turns out the incremental revenue they make off of online ads is nominal.  It’s about the next hit, the next buzz, and the next headline.

But this model will shift.  We will start to rebel against the things we don’t like.

I for one have started to push back.  The continual web and social media surfing creates no value in my life.  It makes me more anxious.  It’s not contributing to my happiness.  I am not any smarter by reading meaningless, splashy news articles.

In fact – I find myself more at ease the less time I spend surfing the web.

And now – when possible, I will opt to chip in.  If someone creates a model of donating rather than fighting for my attention with ads, I will pitch in.

We can start to change the old way.  But we have to accept that there is a new way first.

Opt for the paid version.  The free stuff is actually more costly in the long run.

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