From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, social media subjects us to a bombardment of content. And whether it’s an infographic or a meme, good content is something we cling to. While creating content for established media outlets and brands can be profitable, those who create content independently work for free – except on Patreon.
Patreon is a platform that allows creators to operate a subscription service for the content they produce. This means that those who really love their work can support them financially via monthly membership in exchange for exclusive content. Ultimately, it gives creators the freedom to create their best work and the ability to develop an independent creative career.
We know the concept of actually paying for content can be startling when you’re accustomed to consuming it for free but – if you can afford it – it’s worth doing. Here are some Patreon creators to subscribe to now:
You are almost certainly familiar with Diet Prada, the Instagram titan known for exposing the fashion industry post by post. To support them in their independent irreverence, subscribe to their Patreon. It offers opinion pieces and fashion history far too meaty for a single Instagram caption, as well as the opportunity to discover more about the people behind it.
Perhaps better known for her Instagram account @ripannanicolesmith (in which she makes critical theory memes using popular cultural figures from media including reality television and “girls in pastel colours who are mean to each other and themselves but somehow find a positive revolution”), Kristen Cochrane is a doctoral researcher in the Film and Moving Image Studies program at Concordia University in Montreal. Her Patreon exists to help fund her research, an area of study she believes “has tremendous power in effecting (and affecting) social change” and asks questions such as “Why are we conditioned to see certain forms of culture as bad or as guilty pleasures (like reality television, soap operas, or sports)?”
The rightful receiver of many accolades, Charlie Craggs is a trans activist and author whose Instagram presence is as incisive as it is loving. Her Patreon was established to supplement her income when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Aside from content such as podcasts, videos and merchandise unavailable elsewhere, Charlie also offers mentoring on ‘whatever the hell you want’, but specifically: support with transitioning; advice on activism; guidance on publishing your first book; help with building your socials; and – most tantalizing of all – “advice from a bitch that you KNOW is gonna keep it real”.
Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente started The White Pube in 2015 as a joke because they “hated the way art was written about” and “who was getting to write about it”. Half a decade later, publishing reviews and fighting for a fairer art world is their actual occupation. Initially, they used Patreon to cover transport to exhibitions but it’s since grown enough that they can pay themselves a wage. With more reader funding, they hope to invest back into The White Pube itself.
Rachel Cargle – an activist, writer, public academic and philanthropic innovator – is the woman behind The Great Unlearn, a Patreon account devoted to “providing resources and critical discourse to aid in unlearning”. If you vowed to be actively anti-racist in 2020, supporting the work Rachel does via Patreon (or her PayPal) will go some way to honouring that commitment.
Few of us remain untouched by Humans of New York. While Brandon Stanton has tended to keep his own voice off the blog, Patreon is a space in which he shares his process and ideas for its future. It offers the ongoing story behind Humans of New York and an intimate conversation for those most invested in it that is not dependent on Facebook or Instagram algorithms.
If you’re keen to get a fresh perspective on a range of social issues from celebrity culture to prison abolition, we recommend supporting Lachrista Greco – the librarian and archivist responsible for @theguerillafeminist – on Patreon so she can freely continue the work she does on social media.