That is the question: whether it is nobler to support the hosting web manager directly or to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous advertisements that defray his costs. Or to take up arms against capitalism and occupy cyberspace, thereby ending it.
My apologies to the honorable Bard. I woke to a dilemma this morning when my sister noticed a “goofy” ad showing up on my blog that was totally incongruous to the serious, graceful tone that I’m trying to achieve. I found out that through the Terms of Service that I agreed to when I started this blog, I had given my permission for WordPress to run ads on my page to defray their costs. If I want to ensure that there will be no ads on my blog page, I can pay a yearly fee of about $30. So much for the idea of truly “free” hosting. To be fair, though, this is only the second time since August I have seen an ad on ANY blog that I’ve visited. I suppose I harbor a vain hope that there is a way to avoid capitalism in my daily life, and unfortunately, that is just not possible. What I do have is choices about how I will interact with this system.
What kind of choices do I get to make? Well, I can choose to avoid advertising by paying the fee, like I would do with Public Television (if I had a TV). I can choose to support local small businesses, like the family operations that fixed my car this week. I can choose “no ad” products at the market and avoid mega-stores and franchises. I can unsubscribe to all the junk mail I get online or through the Postal Service. Come to think of it, I need to find a better way of doing that. I am still getting junk mail in my late husband’s name at my current boyfriend’s address, which is kind of creepy in an absurd sort of way. It will be four years in February since he died. How do you turn that sewage off??
The fact that advertising is so ubiquitous is one of the things that makes it so objectionable. We are bombarded to the point that we stop paying attention. Our awareness is compromised, and that goes against the very thing I am trying to develop in my life. How many advertisements do you see in your average day? If someone came up with statistics about how many you encounter, how much time you spend reading them or viewing them in video, how much time you spend trying to dispose of them or avoid them, how much money you spend funding them (whether directly or indirectly), and how much noise and visual pollution they add to the environment, don’t you suppose you’d be surprised? Possibly appalled? Angry? Or wouldn’t you care?
I think that the sheer volume of advertising and the phoniness of it creates an atmosphere that is potentially damaging to the human spirit. I want to point my canoe in another direction entirely. My relationship with my blog host is not one that will allow me to get away from using currency, but I can get away from using advertising. I wish I could trade singing lessons or a home cooked meal for the use of cyberspace. … Yeah, that would be neat.