Create Outrage. Profit from Same Outrage. Buzzfeed, Media and Creators.

A little ironic that BuzzFeed is making money with a highly shared piece about profitable media company wanting work for free from designers or artists. I’m not linking to it on Buzzfeed but here it is on twitter. It’s designer Dan Cassaro telling Showtime what they can do with their solicitation for free design work for a Vegas Mayweather Fight.

Buzzfeed already is based on sharing lots and lots of stuff it didn’t pay anyone to make (though it pays people to assemble these). See also Meaghan O’Connell’s important recent post on the odds Buzzfeed will eventually be platform of user generated free content (see also Jonah Peretti’s earlier business: The Huffington Post).

I remember my last SXSWinteractive Bruce Sterling closing talk. He was practically crying with regret.

“Why didn’t we figure out how to make food and shelter free first!” he railed to whom or what? TO all of us in that room who, like him, loved the Net early and evangelized and built it, looking for more openness and sharing as an answer to connection, to possibility, a way to get our work to more people and a way to meet more people.

It’s the latter of these things that’s gotten a little more difficult as more of the bigger players focus on the former. These players are predictable I guess. Someone will always throw a gate up as soon as they can personally benefit from it. In this case a contest is a way to not just get the design work but marketing for free. They want the buzz, the sense of sharing, the feeling that SOMETHING YOU NEED TO BE A PART OF is happening.

But sometimes being a genuine part of something can just be between a few people.

Robin Williams’ suicide has really hit me, like many other comics this week, hard. A story came across one of my feeds about a night where he decided to perform and cheer up for a small family grieving at 2am in a donut shop. It was, like many comic performances by comics, for free. But it was pretty different. It’s another piece of what we could be building. It’s not what we’re getting from the new big media. But it’s what we could be giving. It’s a good idea about when its a good time to work for free.

I’m sure Buzzfeed will pass it around.

(many thanks to Scott Rosenberg whose indie content blogging is kicking my tush to start responding)