On Twitter, I follow a gentleman named , who blogs in several places but most lately blew my mind today.
Over this past weekend, my youngest daughter (who is known as Scamp on Twitter) had to go to a birthday party. She’s nearly 12 now, and she wanted to get a Really Awesome Present for this kid. We wound up getting him a picture frame with a photo inside that she’d downloaded from Facebook. Digital picture frame prices have still not dropped to the point where they are good gifts for adolescents – but I realized…that time will come! Soon!
And then what? What will people get one another, besides iTunes/Amazon/BN/whatever gift cards? What will be a lovely personalized gift?
June is a crisis month for my family because in addition to the usual “outside the family” birthdays, there are three others – plus Father’s Day. Gifts are tough. And it’s useless to bemoan the physical book/CD/movie as a gift – increasingly, that just isn’t an option.
Hence the new homemade.
When books, movies, music become commoditized – and available on a streaming free-or-near-free basis – how do we acknowledge one another’s tastes, celebrate uniqueness, toast a point of view?
The reason Scamp and I got a picture frame is because our original idea didn’t work. That is because Mom is video-ignorant. Scamp had made a lovely video for her friend. Supportive, smart-ass, funny, motivational – it is a truly great little video. But I could not burn it to DVD because I am Fail Mom.
I will not, however, be Fail Mom forever. We will learn to do these things. Just as my mother learned to create her own greeting cards (and God help us all), I will learn to burn DVDs or upload YouTube videos to private accounts or do whatever. Just as my grandparents gave us generous gifts of homemade jams and pickles, we will inflict emotional generosity on our friends.
Yes, well, how many of us have books that are sort of embarrassing that we won’t get rid of because they are gifts?
This is why self-publishing is important. Because once “things” become streamed, we will find ourselves having to create in new ways to connect with people, acknowledge them and ourselves, have media conversations.
And naturally there will be metadata considerations to render this all multi-dimensional and searchable, but that is another conversation for another day.
Which, of course, I intend to have – eventually.