I’m alive! Sorry for releasing this a bit late; it was saved on the wrong computer, and I’d forgotten to send it to my e-mail account in a timely manner. Not to worry, I am still hard at work! -Scoota
Being noticed. Some people do crazy things to become noticed by others, sometimes for centuries, other times for a brief few moments of glory. It is a basic instinct to want to have our own existences acknowledged by other human beings, and many of us will do everything within our power to have even a few brief moments of limelight.
Within the fandom, popularity is a large part of what motivates bronies to communicate. Many hate to admit it, but they crave response and feedback over what they say and do very much. Look at standard procedure on any forum or imageboard site; there’s almost a formula to how to formulate a post or reply to most likely garner a response from the crowd. In the /mlp/ board of 4chan, there is a special procedure that needs to be taken that is similar to posting on any other imageboard. Learn this technique, and you’ll soon be one of the top posters of the site, getting hundreds of hits every day.
Is popularity the aim of every brony? For some, maybe. You would be hard-pressed to find a brony that doesn’t know who TheLivingTombstone is, but he doesn’t seem the type to crave the attention he gets any more than the average human being. This, of course, coming from the mindset of a person who knows very little about him. It’s usually a pretty marked difference between those who get attention for their work and those who work for attention because they crave it. No, I will not point any fingers.
What should be a brony’s motivator? Is popularity really what we should strive for? In all honesty, a craving popularity tends to put people into really awkward situations, where their lust for attention backfires on them and they fall from their pedestal because of their greed. So, no, popularity shouldn’t be a motivator, because it tends to tear down the creator, rather than esteem them.
Let’s try to put this into a more simple perspective. There are two categories of creators in the brony fandom: self-motivated and fan-driven. The self-motivated create works with the idea that even an exclusive group of bronies is reason enough for them to forge their works. The fan-driven are inspired by the hope of a future in which legions will see their works and love them for all of the time and effort that they put into it.
Both of these motivators are fine. The problem is that fan-driven inspiration can very easily be shot down. A few words of criticism here, a dislike there, and now all of the creator’s drive has dissipated.
Self-motivated bronies, on the other hand, will continue to create things for whoever is interested in them, whether it be one or one million. They may take criticism constructively or ignore it altogether, but they will continue as long as their motivation lasts. However, the increasing popularity of a project that they are working on will not affect them; once they run out of juice, they no longer attempt to continue.
Of course, in reality, every brony tends to be a mixture of these two things. The world isn’t black or white; it’s everything in-between. Many bronies will begin a work, then, after a few months with still very little following or noticeability, find themselves no longer inspired to continue. Many great, ambitious projects fall to the wayside as a fate.
Has anyone heard from Legends of Equestria as of late? Nope. Let’s use this as an example. Despite its massive popularity, the project seems to have gone on hiatus, and nobody seems to have an explanation as to why. Were the individuals working on the project inspired by popularity to continue, you can be certain that they would have finished this ambitious project.
More likely, however, Legends of Equestria was being made by more self-motivated bronies who ran out of inspiration. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s that they don’t want to work on it anymore. Forcing performance tends to create some of the worst material in the world, and they’d rather come out with no game at all than force themselves to make a game so far below hope and expectations. This is all extrapolation, of course; nobody has really heard much of anything from the Legends of Equestria team for quite a while now.
In all reality, things should be created simply because we want others to see them, not out of a hope for popularity or recognition; however, this is a discipline of the mind that is extremely difficult to attain. For the average brony, being recognized as influential is one of the greatest inspirations, and is something well worth striving for, even if not everyone gets a chance to make their voice heard. It’s well worth the struggle for the experience, not the end product, and giving up because not enough people listened to a song is definitely not something that is highly esteemed.
Bronies should continue to try and produce, even if they garner negative reception, because the best rewards are attained after a struggle to accomplish something. Free handouts are nice, sure… but they’re not meaningful. Continue to work for bronies, not for self-satisfaction or gratification, and you will find inspiration far easier to attain.
When it comes down to it, popularity is a temporary, fleeting thing. Why aim for something like that? Closeting selfish desires to give for all sounds delusional, sure, but it’s a better aim than “so people notice me.” Give up the delusion of being noticed by everybody ever and productivity will increase, guaranteed. Really, people want to read what you have to say; you just have to put it out there for them to find it. This is reward enough. Keep creating, bronies!