Social media is a funny thing. On one hand, how mad can we be about being able to use platforms to connect with people, including our favorite celebrities and other like-minded individuals, for free? On the other hand, we don’t know where media outlets would be without, say, Black Twitter and its hilariously brilliant content.
Yeah, there are A LOT of folks out here who are making GOOD MONEY off of others’ creativity (intellectual property, anyone?).
And while them using creative content isn’t illegal (it’s always a good idea to read the fine print of social media before posting anything), that doesn’t mean it’s fair. It also doesn’t mean that every creative is so thankful for the shout-out on blogs and sites that not receiving a dime is cool with them.
Matter of fact, we recently read an article that speaks to contrary.
Based on a study that was recently conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, when an employer has a creative employee whose work they respect and enjoy, they don’t need to give them a plaque or some form of social recognition. In the oh so wise words of Cuba Gooding’s character on Jerry Maguire, they would much rather have their boss "show them the money."
According to Science Daily:
“The experiments demonstrated that, within the context of creativity contingency, monetary rewards induce ‘a performance focus,’ while social-recognition rewards induce ‘a normative focus,’ according to the paper. The researchers found that the former enhances one's motivation to be original, thereby leading to more inventiveness in a creative task, while the latter hurts it.
‘We found that if you tell people to be creative and then give them monetary rewards, they will be more creative,’ Mehta said. ‘But wouldn't the same be true of all rewards? If you tell people to be creative and then give them a social-recognition reward instead of money, then they'll be just as creative as those you reward with money, right? We found no empirical evidence for that.’”
We already know that most creatives read this and were like, “Duh.” But if you’ve been trying to get a raise at the office (or even via someone who hired you to do contract work), you might be able to use this info as negotiating leverage.
As for social media? We’re not sure what it’s gonna take for folks to respect other people's creativity more. We’ll be the first to say that it’s ironic (and a bit insulting) that so many media outlets get paid to simply pull other people’s content and use it; especially without giving proper credit where credit is due. (We’ll do some research and keep you posted on steps that you can take to better protect your content/copy/comments.)
For now, we just wanted to say that you certainly shouldn't feel bad if your employer tells you “good job” with a $5 gift certificate to Panera and you’re low-key pissed.
You’re right on-target and certainly not alone.
The rest of us creatives are standing with you!