Back to Blog Main
February 14th, 2022
Thieve, Deceive & Deliver: The Way "They" Do Things.
This is my opinion.
It's a lot of noticing things mixed with speculation, doused with suspicion, and sprinkled ever-so-slightly with paranoia.
It's about social media, but more particularly, those idea-sharing apps, like TikTok and Pinterest.
It is written as a personal point of view based on my own experiences, and reviews and touches on the experiences of others
whom I have read about having had similar things happen to them.
Experiences. Good and bad, right? Bad when people lie to us, or even worse...abuse us.
My Grama used to say "They don't want you to know these things." As a kid, I'd say "Who's "they" Grama?" to which she'd respond
"the people in charge." I didn't know what that really meant until I got older and began to view "they", metaphorically;
like the "consume and obey" stuff from the movie They Live. Only "they" meant the government and fat pocket corporations.
I was 17, and a Gothy pre-Grunge post-punk. I'm 50 now, but still....same.
I've tried to stay apprised of the "theys", but sometimes, they be sneaky. You try to be conscientious, but what if you
didn't see it until it was too late? I didn't. And I just spent about 30 minutes deleting some stuff I had forgotten about
off of Pinterest. I thought I had deleted the damn thing, but I clicked a link, it took me to the site, and poofy...like magic,
my photo and all of the boards I had created for myself, reappeared.
What the hell.
It's the whole slow-cooked theory for me; not knowing I was boiling.
I try to stay aware, but with having so much time invested online, there's always something I missed, some loophole I
didn't read close enough, or some means of something showing back up after I deleted it, canceled the contract, or removed the account.
There's a lot to read, and it constantly changes in these user agreements. It's just...a lot. Hard to keep up with. You know how it is.
"They" changed something.
I don't support thieves and I don't support soulless people-stealing operations. As if stealing ideas and goods wasn't enough...
what if I told you that most of the stuff you see is not only stolen ideas...but stolen ideas made by stolen people?
Yeah, apparently, that's a thing.
Remember the Halloween decorations sold here in the U.S. that had an "S.O.S." note shoved in it from slave laborers in China?
The BBC wrote about it here in The SOS in my Halloween decorations"
The New York Times with these 2 articles:
"Reports of Forced Labor Unsettle China" & "Behind Chinese labor scandal, dirt-poor children"
NBC got one here entitled "Feds bust ‘modern-day slavery’ ring amid new immigration enforcement effort"
Oh, and there are tons more. Other than keeping a close eye on Grama, and making sure you supervise your children and yourself, there's not much
else you can do about being snatched up and thrown in a white van except maybe carrying some pepper spray.
But stolen ideas...well, at least what I consider to be theft; apparently at some level, is perfectly legal.
The worst of this kind of theft being perpetrated by social media and "curation" type apps. Interesting the way they've done it too,
by using the entirety of their user platforms, to go out and gather ideas for them. Isn't it?
People make boards with ideas from the collective creative capacity of whatever is on the internet, nice and neatly organize them into folders,
share them with other people, and in between all of these posts are ads. The platform makes its money off of ad revenue...based on collective theft.
Then what happens is the platform keeps the ad-rev, for Pinterest that was all $2.5 billion dollars of it as of 2021, the user base gets nothing
but to see and share what they've collected and hold the sole risk for any DMCA violations, while the original creators of the content being shared,
have their ideas jacked, shared and recreated...for nothing.
To make things easier, Pinterest allows an extension so that every single item that the user comes across has an easy push-button option;
just click on the button, and voila! sent to a board.
Some see this as a good way to get some of their art out, but I don't think it is. It is, however, in my opinion, a sure-fire way
to get your original art stolen. I remember some years back this woman had created these adorable little gnomes with big hats covering
their eyes. Yeah. Saw them in the dollar store this month.
Do you wonder where these places get their ideas for cheap knock-offs?
The dollar store industry is dominated by two companies: Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which also owns Family Dollar.
China is the source of a substantial majority of these company’s imports. Ironically, now many Pinterest users are saying that their
pinboards are being stolen and redirected to spam sites. Aww. That's a shame.
Some people defend the site, saying that when you share on the internet, you run the risk of somebody stealing your ideas anyway and that
most people on these sites are there to buy something. Bullshit. Most people are on those sites to collect ideas because they don't
have a creatively unique thought in their heads. They don't go there to buy, they go there to "be inspired", and then turn around and
make it themselves. All the while, companies are seeing these things trending, jacking the idea, and making cheap Chinese knock-offs of it
to sell in your local dollar store.
"Well, if nobody sees your work, you can't sell it either". That's true, but I sure as hell would rather it be seen legitimately by seriously
interested parties than thrown in the goodie-bag of generic dollar market or influencer opportunity. Not to mention most people who make
the stuff they promote on little Tiktok moments, are doing it as a means to get rich quickly. And I would bet more than half the time,
they gathered those creative tidbits from Pinterest.
Pinterest gets shared via other social media platforms, and vice-versa, and before you know it, a great idea has been seen hundreds
of billions of times. what does the original creator get? jack and shit, while the platforms make billions of dollars on the advertising
revenue between these posts, not to mention personal data...and if items such as photos are public, the risk of them showing up in ads
for in other country happens.
I remember about 10 or so years ago, a woman posted a family photo up on a social media platform, and then that photo ended up on some
grocery market ad billboard in Asia somewhere. She herself, her husband, and her children...on a market poster thousands of miles away.
Somebody saw it and told her about it, but I'm not sure there was anything she could do about it. I tried looking for the article,
but I couldn't find it.See what I'm saying?
"Most people are there to buy!" my ass. No, they're not.
Another artist I knew posted the tarot cards she had made upon her Facebook, which was promptly hijacked by an artist for a "witch kit"
sold by Sephora. She was able to strike up a deal with them AFTER we all told her about it, but that's only because the infringer got caught,
and was willing to play fair after that.
I've had many of my ideas stolen from platforms like Second Life. Back in 2009 or so, I made a collection of Holiday ornaments featuring
deer antlers, pearls, and glitter. I saw them 3 years later in a Big Lots store. Saw a similar design last year in my local Dollar store.
Target, Michael's, Pottery Barn, Alibaba, etc. the list goes on. Corporations, one upon the other, totally guilty of design piracy,
but getting away with it. No, it's not new, however, it makes it a hell of a lot harder for ideas to be stolen when it's safely placed
on a shelf in a Mom & Pop shop.
Back in the 70s, my sister and I got the idea to make fringed t-shirts.
We liked the fringe leather look that so many of the hippies were wearing and got inspired to make something similar from t-shirts.
My Grandmother got the idea to "v" the bottoms, leaving the sides to show off a bit more fringe, and then we could draw our art on them.
We would tie the ends into knots or add beads to make the fringies look a bit prettier. They also made a nice sound when you'd move.
A few neighbors saw us wearing them and wanted to know if we could do that to their shirts. Being children, we said, "of course!"
One woman wore hers to Ocean City. Before we knew it, we were seeing a lot of people coming back from beach vacations wearing this
kind of design. When we asked where they got it, they said "down ne ooshun, hon", aka on the boardwalk, in Ocean City. Apparently,
someone saw our neighbor wearing it, got "inspired" and started making the same exact thing, and sold it in their t-shirt stand...
ripping off a couple of 11-year-olds, who under the right circumstances could have possibly sold them.
So basically, our fringe got in-fringed upon.
What would it have hurt the proprietor of the store to stop our neighbor and ask where she had gotten it? She could have given us a note
or something with an offer of partnership or design sale. But no...easier to gran and run, right? And that's what a huge amount of
social media base is doing right now. How else would these places make such a huge amount of money when they don't even offer a
product for sale? Platforms are "free to use" because they're stealing what you post to them.
And here we are, innocently sharing the cute little doll we made for our kid, or a pretty ornament we made to try to sell so we could
buy the things we need, while some corporate assplug comes along, sees it, takes it, has a bunch of old people and child slaves make
it in a Chinese basement, and then sell it back at us.
Yeah, that is the norm. At least the way I see it. It's happened to me repeatedly.
"But people care about the artist". No, they don't. They care about what other people think about them, by liking and reposting a
particular item or piece of art. They like that the idea can generate attention for them, by trading the psychological effects of
"pretty" for a like and a little instant gratification. Will it generate a sale? Not usually.
"Organic Lead". Do you know what that means? It means that people come to your shop out of their own free will. It means that they saw
something that you made, and liked it so much that they looked you up, found your store, and stayed for a little while.
These "leads" are the holy grail in marketing because you can't replicate them. It's natural, innocent, and organic.
It's the same as back in the day, going Main Street hopping to all of the little crafty shops looking for something pretty to
give as a birthday gift. A lot of money is generated by handmade items...especially when the experience of walking around, having a
bite to eat, carrying a few bags, and spending time with friends is thrown in the mix. It becomes a fun outing, not just mindless
media surfing and online sales.
As creators, we up the anty by making something we feel is new. We see an untapped idea or potential and before we can do anything
about selling it, we have to pay 4 or 5 gatekeepers to get it out there, and then hope it's seen. Frequently, it is...and then jacked,
and sold as an opportunity to an outside agency who collected the info and studied it to make a cheap knock-off.
Generating little or no income, and a bunch of "friends" who don't share it out of love or support...because it isn't in sync
with their aesthetic.
We've been conditioned to think that the only way to be seen is to put our stuff up online.
When it comes to books and things like that, it makes sense, but what is sold online at a book retailer is sold on their shelves in
their physical book stores as well.
People just need to reorganize themselves and give a big think as to how they really want to spend the rest of their lives.
Shopping is a social outlet as much as it is a need. We have to buy things we can't make or grow, and enjoy looking around for pretty
and interesting things that our neighbors in town have made.
How much money can be made? Enough to send you to the Moon and back...for real.
Enough to buy a yacht, and then a yacht for your yacht..which you can go play on after you get back from a funsies trip to outer space
with your friends...and then another yacht because you got bored with the first one. Enough to have a historical landmark removed to get
your new yacht out of harbor because it's too big to go underneath of it.This is a sarcastic, albeit true, example.
There are plenty of examples...all of them because thoughts are the greatest resource. "Human resources".
We really are batteries, aren't we? Maybe not the goopy in a bubble kind of way, like in the matrix movies, but our thoughts and dreams
really are the generative power that keeps things going. Harnessing that power has been easy for corporations, and all they had to do
was make us feel scared and alone, throw some fun and color and convenience into our lives,
and the simplicity of putting it all into our back pockets.
Why send birthday cards when you can instant message?
Why visit when you can video chat?
Why be bothered at all?
Perfect excuses live in that thing too: "I didn't get the message", "Must have gone to the spam folder".
We don't even inform each other personally when someone close to us dies. We have to read it on social media, and if you don't have Facebook,
good luck finding out. One of my best friends overdosed and went brain dead and his partner was getting ready to pull the plug after two days.
I read it on Facebook. My sister died, and my daughter saw it on my nephew's Facebook feed and told me. MY SISTER.
A close friend and business associate killed himself, and I found out about it a year later...through a post on a birthday message that
said how much he was missed...a year later.
It's sick -what we've become.
None of us want it, but we don't know how to get out of it, and if we are out of it, what about everyone else?
It took a bit to get into this mess, it'll take a little bit to get back out. A little bit at a time, like taking attention back
to nice little shops, spending an afternoon at a book store, getting coffee and a brownie from a little bakery. "But it's expensive!"
Yeah, it is right now because we've bought the cheap and easy and entered into a value decline.
If one company can lose several billion dollars in an afternoon because people said "fuck you" and deleted their platform,
think about how much can be gained by walking away from this dog and pony show altogether.
People might actually come to your kid's birthday parties again, or show up at your baby and bridal showers.
They might actually be honored to have 'that friend who makes cool stuff " and show it off. We might be able to support each other again,
and actually live and enjoy it, instead of when we do leave the house it's just racing to the job, down the highway, to school, and to the
market to get back home to sit...some more.
We've been reduced to nothing but hurt necks and backs from staring down at a device, that ruins our eyes, drives up our blood pressure,
and makes us fat by our sitting more and moving less. We're confused, sad, and stressed out.
We've lost friends and family over stupid shit, and lost years of time from this "way of the future".
It isn't the way of the future. It's corporates easy ticket at our expense and they want us to believe there's no other way.
They want us to believe that if we don't buy shit, download shit, upgrade, and upload our souls to this shit, the Earth is going
to burn like some evangelical hell storm and we're going to miss out, be left behind...lost.
It's fear-mongering and psychological manipulation at the boss level.
It's not an absolute, but a fucking choice because you can turn off the game.
And thus I rant from atop my digital soapbox, yelling through an empty toilet paper roll because there's no more newspaper to roll up,
"Take back your health by going outside! Take back your family by spending time! Take back the market by shopping local!"
But, as I said...this is all just my opinion -and like my Mom says- "opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one."
Back to Blog Main
Member of the Wintermoon Collective
All content copyright ©2022 ravynmoon.com. All rights reserved. Site Design by Arijah Ankh Khalid-Zyn.