What does Manic Expression mean to you?

As we approach our three year anniversary, thats a question I think it’s worth asking. Recently my friend Kyle (who apparently has no chin) and I were discussing that topic, and we reached a sad conclusion. Something has gone missing here in our community. Since our move off Webs our numbers have been great, our revenue never better. People are drawn to the site in greater numbers thanks to the benefits of being on Blue Host. All that said, the problem remains: Something has gone missing.

For newer members of this site this may seem an odd statement. After all, Manic Expression is just another web site where bloggers and video producers share content, right? There are a hundred sites like Manic Expression. We’re not the biggest. We’re not the most well known. The no trolling rule makes us somewhat unique, but how are we really any different than other hosting sites?

The answer: We are a community. Not just any community, but, as I always say, “the greatest community on the Web.”

At Manic Expression you could expect not just protection from trolls, but encouragement from fellow writers and performers, constructive criticism from like minded individuals, and friends willing to collaborate with you on a whole host of projects. When Channel Awesome put together it’s anniversary specials, I’m sure there was a whole formula to how they chose it’s stars. Who gets the most hits? Who do the fans most respond to? When we did our 100 member specials or our documentary, Creative Chaos, the only criteria was “who wants in?”

As Kyle and I were talking, we both agreed that some of that magic is gone. The collaborations have dried up a bit. Getting people to participate has become more challenging. Life happens, and I get that, but I think it goes beyond that. There is something about this new site that just doesn’t feel as special as what we had on Webs. Does that mean I regret moving us? No, I can’t say as I do. Webs was deleting the work of our members without consulting me, dumping and banning harmless content with no explanation given. If that continued we would have started losing members. As it was I was astonished that we ever survived on Webs at all, considering how glitchy and buggy it was. I thought the site would crash at any moment.

Yet when we moved to this professionally designed, much slicker site a few of the perks people liked about Manic Expression didn’t make it over. I’m the first to admit, our profiles suck now. There’s little in the way of customization, and they just aren’t as personal. Having lost the ability to comment on peoples profiles and friend each other has taken away the ability to be as close to each other as we used to be. That needs to change, and as soon as I can scrape together the cash (or we can finally get that Patreon campaign going) I’ll hire someone to fix up our profiles.

Speaking of Patreon, I wonder if that might be another issue some people have now. There is a business element to Manic Expression that wasn’t there before. Sure we always had ads and a store where we sold merchandise, but now there’s the Amazon partnership, the Crowd Ignite widget, the Springboard channel, the talk of an Indigogo campaign to raise money for the animated movie. Has Manic Expression sold out? Have we lost our indie roots and turned corporate?

If you combined all the money I’ve made from Manic Expression in the last year I might be able to go see a matinee and buy a small popcorn. Trust me, we haven’t sold out. However, we do need a cash flow. The site is no longer free to run, and while I’m not in danger of being overwhelmed by the cost (in part thanks to the help of a couple of generous Expressionists who contributed to our upgrade) it would be nice to have some money coming in not only to pay the bills but maybe, someday, provide me with an income. Not just me, but I am still determined to make Manic Expression an avenue for those who want to make money of their own. Our members who use Springboard get the profits from their videos, and the offer still stands for the bloggers to be able to place ads in their articles if they desire to make some money for themselves.

All that said, money without community doesn’t add up to much. Manic Expression was never going to be the biggest site on the Web, and I don’t think anyone signs up here for that. They sign up here because they know that their content will be prominently displayed on the front page, whether they are a first time blogger or the Internet personality with the best hair. They come here because they could end up featured in Spotlight or winning Outstanding Content of the Week. They come here because BigBlackHatMan and T-kun will tell them they did a great job, even if they are brand new members who don’t know who BigBlackHatMan and T-kun are. They come here because they’ll never be attacked or bullied for being different or having a controversial opinion. They come here for the friends that will happily reminisce about 80s sitcoms, or talk them down when the world has fallen apart around them.

Another anniversary is about to come and go, and our community has continued to grow, but lets never forget what made this site great. What is Manic Expression to me? Manic Expression is friends, family, and home.

If you have any suggestions on how we can make our community stronger, speak up in the comments section below or email me personally.

As Moviefan12 once said: “We’re all the stars here, so keep on shining.”

By Some Jerk From Boston

I make words fall from my brain into your eye holes. I also make swear words with my mouth that attack your ears. I like me. Twitter: @SomeJerkFB

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