Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Welcome, Fellow Blockheads

WHAT NEW SOCIAL MEDIA TELLS US ABOUT OURSELVES

$ -  - _   No one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.
_. .. .. ... .. ................................................................$amuel Johnson

A very good article in the New York Times this week points out that
if Twitter is soon sold for maybe $10 Billion, give or take a few billion,
the writers who created the value for the Twitter will get exactly nothing.
When The Huffington Post sold for only $315 million, the writers got
nothing except the chance to provide their services free to AOL, a
large corporation rather than to the site itself.

In the article, David Carr tells of Mayhill Flower, a Huff Poster
who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the
Obama Campaign which appeared on The Huffington Post.  After
being nominated, she asked Ms. Huffington if having done so well,
there was a chance she might get paid for her work.  Huffington held
out hope to her and held out hope to her and held out hope to her for
two years before Ms. Flower decided to write on her own behalf
instead.

I can see The Huffington Post not wanting to pay:  if Jenny
McCarthy remains so popular spreading well intentioned ignorant
nonsense, why pay for good journalism?   But isn't it strange
that a journalist who had received a Pulitzer nomination wasn't
offered a paying job by ... anybody. 

It proves a sad point to all of us running all over ourselves to post
our writing for free on the internet:  our work has no value in
anyone's eyes but our own and that of a few other people who
want to be read and realize that if we,  the ignored, undervalued
writers of the world don't read each other's work, no one at all
will read it.   We read to be read.   Yes, there are too many writers -
as proven by the fact no one will pay to read us - but there are
too few readers to give us all the attention we covet, so we look
hungrily at the new writers springing up on the net, hoping
perhaps if we read their work, they'll read ours. 

Not that this is all bad.  The writers whom I like to read in exchange
for them occasionally reading my work are by and large a good
audience, well worth cultivating.   I am very happy to join with them in
deluding ourselves that we are creating value for anyone beside
the Internet entrepenurs preparing IPOs and selling advertising
at the click of a button.

3 comments:

Sheila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mairi said...

Glad to join the company of blockheads reading your work. Thanks for letting me know I'm creating tweets that contribute to a 10 billion dollar mega text. I missed that particular piece of news. What will they call the entire twitter opus?

GO-GO RACH said...

This is a great post and rings very true. The work I put into my blog is more than I've put into anything in my entire life, but I do not make a single cent from it. Sometimes, I wonder, what's the point? Then I remember, I am dependent on my writing to stay out of the nuthouse. The fact that I've met some great people (including you) along the way makes it worth it to me. Take care, Hurt. XXX