James at Men with Pens has a great post today. He asks, “Are Bloggers Creating Their Own Sweatshop?” and wonders aloud why bloggers give away so much good stuff for free.
“Can you walk into your local garage and ask them to teach you mechanics for nothing? Can you go to a lawyer’s office and become his apprentice without paying a dime? Could you walk into any business in your town and say, ‘Hey, will you teach me what you know for free? So I can do it myself and not have to pay you to do it for me?’ Of course not. Yet blogs do just that.”
I posted this response in a comment:
This is exactly why I’ve been reluctant to embrace blogging, James. My entire career has been spent in writing, broadcasting, advertising — the whole communications field. After 30 years, suddenly I’m supposed to work for free? Forever, with no end in sight? Gee, what an appealing proposition.
I agree with Michael Martine’s wise comment: blogging IS marketing. Just like handing out free samples of your latest candy or cookie. I view my own blogging as (1) a demonstration of my ability, and (2) a free sample of my paid info-products.
Marketing is necessary and good. But there are limits. Even television restricts the number of commercials you can broadcast per hour.
This constant firehose of free content — good and bad — has increased the noise, the static. The good stuff gets harder and harder to find, while the “same old stuff” is repeated, in slightly different form, ad nauseum.
A big part of the problem, I think, is the blog format itself. First, it’s a crappy way to organize content. Reverse order by date? Huh? Imagine if your library organized its books that way. Good luck finding anything…
Second, the blog format subtly increases the pressure to produce frequently — even if your content is lame. “Gee, James posts 3X per week, maybe I better do that, too.” NO! Please don’t — unless you have something new and/or worthwhile to contribute. If you do, fine. Go for it. Otherwise, please sit down.
Maybe we should impose limits — like hunters and fishermen have– on how many posts a blogger can add per week. (High-value contributors like James and Remarkablogger and Seth get a pass, natch.)
For the rest of us, once we’ve “bagged our limit” of, let’s say, one really great, thoughtful post per week, we should shut up and let others have the floor.
What an idea! I think I’ll go blog about it right away. /irony
[And now I have, thus doing my small part to keep the noise pollution high.] 😉