tl;dr: Buymecoffee.co is not for everyone, but that’s entirely the point.
Buy Me Coffee™ adds (good) friction back to social networks by providing a personal paywall for anyone. We believe that what we are getting for “free” on social media now is far from what we should be getting. Our view is, over time, we have replaced quality and authenticity with meaningless quantity in the form of shallow follows, “friend” connections, and “safe” posts. This is great for companies that want us addicted to a “feed” filled with mostly inane content in order to serve us ads, but is not actually good for us. We rarely share anything near and dear to us on these feeds simply because most social media platforms are visible to too many people. And even when we restrict access, it’s hard to trust an advertising-funded social media company to not sell or abuse our data. There was a time we were comfortable being “just” normal or “weird” online in view of our close friends (e.g. the dubious choice for your AIM screen name—we’re laughing with you, fartMonst3r69), but now, all we see is the “aspirational” highlight reel of social media. Highlights are what we are willing to show strangers and people we barely know. But what of our closest relationships? Don’t we need to nurture these relationships to be happy? Shouldn’t technology enhance real world relationships instead of primarily helping to serve ads or track users (and manipulate democracies)? Sadly, despite how things seem on Facebook or Instagram, many of us are actually less happy now than we were before social media technology became such a prevalent feature in our lives. The secret to happiness, we believe, is simple: To be happy, we need to 1.) be satisfied with what we are doing and where we are going in life through meaningful accomplishments, and 2.) be surrounded by people whose company we enjoy. Buy Me Coffee, we believe, is a step in the right direction.
The fundamental mechanic is simple. Buy Me Coffee is open (and free) for anyone to create content, but to “follow” someone means to donate a token amount per year. This amount is set by the content creator. In the case of a $6 per year donation, $4 goes to the person being followed, and $2 goes to Buy Me Coffee to support and develop the site. We believe $6/year is small enough to not be a burden to supporters and friends, but goes far to show support and to encourage writers and podcasters to create high quality content. By adding a cost for users, we’re attempting to pull people away from the poison of advertising-backed social media platforms. Frankly, if a service is free, it likely means you’re not the customer—you’re actually the product. Our pledge is, Buy Me Coffee will never post advertisements on its user pages, and it will never sell/abuse its users’ data. Ever. With our model, we are purposely “shrinking the Internet” in order to add clarity into your true circle of supporters and to make it easier to help each other succeed. Our model makes it prohibitive to follow more than a handful of your closest friends and confidants. With a smaller set of followers, it’s easier to cut through the noise and pay closer attention to the people willing to “buy you coffee.” We believe that bloggers will also be inclined to produce good and useful content when they are followed as each follower spent the time and money to demonstrate their support. This because we’re human, and by and large, we want to do right by the people we like and who like us. Through Buy Me Coffee, we hope users will have deeper and more frequent conversations and collaborations with their friends and supporters, which in the long run will empower users to accomplish more of the important things.
Our plan is to build a light product that won’t cost us too much to maintain. And our hope is that we’ll manage to attract enough people who are tired of the Internet of More, and want the Internet of Great. Yes, BMC is MIGA (Make the Internet Great Again™), and we’re in search of some unusually aware denizens. Of the many ideas we are currently exploring at Motley Works, Buy Me Coffee isn’t likely to make a lot of money, but we also feel it could make an outsized positive impact if it succeeds. So, without further ado, here we go!
(Don’t get too excited. You won’t see much unless you … bmc.)
But if you want to see an example of a page on Buy Me Coffee, please see this demo page here: https://buymecoffee.co/spiritoftonystark