Why are you sharing things online?


It’s 2023, and I think it’s a fair question… Why are you sharing things online?

If I look back to when I started sharing things online, which was probably around 1995 or so, it was because I was learning a lot from the Internet. I remember printing out this file at work that was probably 25 pages which was some Perl documentation. (Remember, this is before people had laptops or phones that could access the Internet.) I read those Perl docs when I was “offline” and when I would get back to a computer I would try things out. This is how I learned Perl, and I learned it because people were willing to write up documentation and post it online. Because others shared, I was able to learn, and from that point on I felt that sharing information and knowledge was something I wanted to do.

Of course this blog started in 1997, but I had been sharing a bit before that. A weblog (or “blog” as it was later named) seemed a perfect fit for me. I entered the publishing world as a hobby around 1986, and professionally in 1994. Moving from zines and magazines to electronic publishing seemed like the thing to do at the time. I also ended up working in book publishing for a bit, and the reason I got those gigs was due to publishing my work electronically on the Internet.

So for me, those two aspects; wanting to share what I learned so other could learn, and being involved in (and enjoying) publishing for most of my life… are the reasons I share.


Photo… Published!

If you pick up the April 2011 issue of Milwaukee Magazine, and flip to page 60, you’ll see one of my photos.


It’s neat, but it’s also weird for me. You see, I interned at Milwaukee Magazine in 1993, and ended up working for QuadCreative (and while at QC I also did work for Milwaukee Magazine, in fact I’m pretty sure I built the first web sites for both organizations.)

So anyway, in the process of working at QuadCreative I met Cory Zimmermann, who is part of Z2 Marketing and Z2 Photo, and one of the big reasons I know what I do about photography.

To clarify, this isn’t some inside job… The person at Milwaukee Magazine had no idea who I was, and it was just a coincidence that I once worked there (I left in 2000) and just happened to stumble across the photo on Flickr and thought it would work for the article.

I don’t know if it’s becoming less cool to see your work in print now that (almost) everything is digital, but hey, I come from the publishing world (of paper!) and I still think it’s cool to see an actual printed magazine with one of my photos in it.


Green Day vs. The Knack

Through a strange set of circumstances (isn’t it always that way on the Internet) I came across this archive of zines, which included a PDF of Massive Zine #1, which I contributed to…

Here’s the piece I wrote, in all it’s scanner and JPG’d glory…

Massive Zine

I also contributed a bunch of full-page graphics to Massive Zine #2 (PDF) which I won’t show here because they aren’t nearly as funny…


Musings on publishing and copyrights

I’m never sure if I think about these issues more because I’ve been involved in publishing for over 20 years, or if it’s because I’m a big fan of Creative Commons, or because I create music and images… or maybe it’s a combination of all those things…

Chances are, if you are reading this blog, that you are a publisher too. Most us are nowadays… If you have a blog, or a Flickr account, or upload videos to the web, you are a publisher. So my question to you is, do you think about the rights of others when you publish something you created, and incorporate their work?

I’ve seen it too many times in videos… someone puts together the visuals, the part they created, and then grabs some artist’s song to drop on top of it. Often it will be a song from a well known artist, used without permission. People often say “I’m not making money from it” or “It’s just for fun, no one is really going to see it” but saying those things dismisses the value of the artist’s work, and missed the fact that by publishing, you are showing it to the world.

Worse yet, is when people do this and re-license the work. Sorry, but you can’t just grab some Foo Fighter’s song, use it in your video, and put it under a Creative Commons license… or can you?

This is where I think things get a little gray. I mean, my old pal Dave Slusher of the Evil Genius Chronicles often uses material in his shows that have different licenses, and makes note of it in the show. So while the portions of his show he creates are under a specific license of his choosing, other parts (often songs) are not.

So the question is, can you create a work, put it under a license, and use material from different licenses in it? We start to see that whole “infection” thing they talk about in the software world.

I don’t have the answer to this, and it’s one of the continually nagging parts of licensing, and copyright, and Creative Commons I think about.