I stumbled onto ‘Lede’ vs. ‘Lead’ and had to stop to read it if for no other reason than it fits a million discussions I have had with friends and family about our proclivity as people to romanticize certain periods of life.
In spite of how some people interpreted Once We Were Kings you can also count me among those who are capable of living in the present while periodically visiting the past.
If you have been a part of social media and the blogosphere for more than a week it is hard not to think about these things because the same posts are written ten thousand times by ten thousand different bloggers.
And in response ten thousand more write about how there is nothing new under the sun and share their jaded commentary about how we should all just give up because all that needs to be said has been said.
I get it, I really do because I have been on both sides. Been the new guy and the grizzled veteran and so take these words any way you want.
69 Ways To Prostitute Yourself While Building Your Blog & Brand
You can blame that subhead on my participation in a half dozen recent discussions about the current state of blogging/social media and where we see the future taking us.
Well we had the standard conversation about how review and giveaway bloggers don’t have real readers. Their visitors only show up because they hope to win a prize.
Can’t say I completely disagree with that. I am sure if you dig through all of my posts you’ll find one or more in which I talked about it.
FWIW, I no longer care one whit about whether the review/giveaway blogs have authors that call themselves writers or bloggers. There was a time when it bothered me because I didn’t like someone who didn’t produce important content to call themselves either because I felt it devalued my work.
I don’t worry about that anymore, but I am still bothered by the hacks and cut rate artists who work for free because they do devalue the work of real writers.
Sure everyone needs to make a living but it is hard to be supportive of the people that make it twice as hard for you to charge reasonable rates. But then again if you are not interested in paying for professional work you might not be the right person to work with.
Anyhoo, let’s circle back for a moment to the whole “prostitution” thing or in less friendly terms, talk about bloggers who whore themselves out for their blog.
Most bloggers don’t claim to be journalists and even fewer are trained as such so the conversation about treating blogs/bloggers by professional journalistic standards is questionable.
Should bloggers be responsible for fact checking and content on their blogs?
I would say yes but acknowledge that the comment section might fall into some shade or shades of gray.
None of this relieves the readers of their responsibility and obligation to question what they read. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post are not error free and neither are the talking heads we see on television. David Gregory, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw can all attest to that.
You should read and watch critically because it is the smart thing to do, but put that aside for a moment and focus on the topic of whether it is ethical for bloggers to receive free products and services in exchange for content or publish sponsored content.
Again if you ask me I don’t have a problem with it provided full disclosure is provided. After that it is up to the reader to decide whether they believe what the blogger has shared about product XYZ.
It all comes down to personal standards.
But What About Prostituting Yourself To Build Your Blog
If you are among those bloggers that run giveaways because you like getting free stuff and it helps you drive traffic I would suggest you ask yourself a few questions.
- If you didn’t host a giveaway would people still visit your blog? Is there real content there or is every post about the $5 gift card for Bialy’s Bagels?
Because if you never provide real content besides free crap the traffic will disappear just as soon as you stop giving stuff away. That might not be a bad thing, it depends on you.
- How many hours did you work to get that $5 gift card for Bialy’s Bagels?
More than a few bloggers have learned the hard way that you can end up working for free. If you are not careful that free $5 gift card the agency promised for hosting the giveaway doesn’t hold the same value because you put in 25 hours of your time.
I thought about writing more about this and tying in some snarky comment about how this post describes the people in Job Titles Are Not Impressive but it really doesn’t. There is a much bigger range of ages and experience here.
Frankly that is a separate post but the good news is that if you feel shortchanged here you need not worry because I can guarantee you’ll come across another ten thousand posts about these very same topics because the more things change, the more they stay the same.
What do you think?