Wikipedia surprised a lot of people, changed a lot of minds: Online collaboration can accomplish great things. Following Wikipedia, other interactive, collaborative, not-quite-commercial Web-based projects have offered more evidence that the Internet can transform everyday life.
One of the company’s three co-founders, Yancey Strickler, said that Kickstarter is on track to distribute over $150 million dollars to its users’ projects in 2012, or more than entire fiscal year 2012 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which was $146 million.
Lots of folks around the world — including shirttail acquaintances of mine — have successfully used the Internet service to fund outré projects. Basically, they drew up proposals and placed them on Kickstarter, and people the world over chipped in to get the projects off the ground. As Franzen explains, all sorts of projects find funding that way, “everything from iPod Nano watches to children’s books on reproduction.”
While I look at this as a great development, another way in which free peoples can get good things done without government, not everyone is so positive — the above-quoted Strickler, for instance: “Maybe there’s a reason for the state to strongly support the arts.”
Or maybe not. Maybe Kickstarter is pointing towards the right way to fund projects that, before the Internet, were hard to invest in or otherwise sponsor.
Maybe it’s about time.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.