Are You a Consumer or a Producer?

10:26 pm PHT

Read this post by Tim O’Reilly on the O’Reilly Radar about the seeming renaissance of amateurism in the creative processes. The last paragraph strongly resonated with what I have been contemplating for quite some time now.

I find myself to be a really different person than most of my peers. All of my three siblings watch anime and read scanned manga during most of their spare time. Several of my officemates regularly play DoTA-All Stars during weekends. Even a few of my online friends seem to be hooked to Internet gaming or consoles.

I don’t watch much anime. I don’t play computer games. I don’t do Digg or even Slashdot. I don’t view endless amounts of video on YouTube. And I don’t watch much TV (well, except for the occasional Bituing Walang Ningning and Kapamilya, Deal or No Deal). In other words, I don’t classify myself as a passive consumer (of intellectual property, that is).

That’s not to say that I’m not a consumer at all. I do watch plenty of movies. I read dozens of blogs. I find entertainment value in many of Kottke’s Remaindered Links. I buy music CDs and listen to the radio. The difference is that I consciously balance that with a healthy dose of “creationism.”

An example of what I mean can be found in my workplace. In the office during breaks, you will see a lot of people playing basic computer games. What’s interesting is that some of the games these people play were developed by me. Of the four games I’ve developed, two of them—an adaptation of the card game Set and a version of Text Twist—have been runaway successes. They’ve been so successful that I was forced to put restrictions on the games so that no one can play them outside of the break period. In the office, I’ve gained the reputation of the gamemaster.

I guess I’m not just content with playing games; I’d rather be the one who creates the games. There’s just something extremely rewarding when you see that people really enjoy what you’ve created, and I wouldn’t trade that for the fleeting feeling of beating your officemates over a game of network KBattleship or GnomeTetris.

It is this role of “intellectual producer” that I find the most affinity with, and the personal computer has been the single most enpowering thing I have ever used. You could say that the Internet-connected-computer is now far more mightier than the simple pen.

The really great problem I have right now in relation to all these is that there is never really enough time to create all the things you want to do. Already, I have several projects in the pipeline and I’m agonizing over the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day. (I’m trying to reorganize my life a bit so the things of value are prioritized more.)

So are you a consumer or a producer?

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