Paul Hines | paulhines

Nope, I Am Not Required To Work For Free

Aug 14th 2010 at 1:30 PM

On Sunday nights, Mack Collier runs a Twitter-based group chat called #blogchat,

which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about blogging while

hobnobbing with their peers.

But, based on the defensive reaction to some of my comments from several of the

#blogchat participants, I’ve realized that #blogchat is strictly a place for

sunshine and puppies, and I rarely come armed with either.  So I thought I’d take

the time to do some much-needed bubble-bursting here, rather than continuing to

ruin the #blogchat vibe.

NOTE: If you cry at the sight of anything other than unicorns, hugs and kittens,

please close this window now.  You’ll only depress yourself, and you’ll spend the

next hour telling me why I’m wrong, when I don’t really care.

Still here?  Great.  Because…

1. There’s no rule that says you have to be nice in social media.

I know, all the important people are.  But I’m not important, so I don’t have to

be.  And even if I was important, I’d probably still be an asshole.

(In fact, most people become assholes after they’re important, so the fact that

I’m an asshole before becoming important means my assholishness is actually

authentic.  And isn’t authenticity one of the social media cornerstones?)

2. All social media is not created equal.

Yes, the tools are “democratic,” inasmuch as anyone with an Internet connection

can use Twitter.  But you are not Chris Brogan, nor are you Sara Schaefer.  You

are you.  And you matter exactly as much as you matter, to whomever is counting.

To say that there’s “no social media hierarchy” or “no social media pecking

order” is ludicrous.  Just because there isn’t an officially accredited list of

A, B, C and Z-list bloggers doesn’t mean we don’t all know who they are, give or

take a rung.

(And yes, you can be a Z-list blogger and still produce A-list work, and vice

versa.  Quality and reach are two separate factors.  In the end, we’re judged

according to other people’s criteria, not our own.)

3. I am not required to help you for free.

Granted, some people do it really badly, but yes, social media is a business. 

Not for everyone, but for some people.  And no, they don’t have to help you, or

give you free advice, or even be nice to you (see above).  Some of the nicest

ones do; others don’t.  (Hell, I charge $200 for a lunch.)

Being nice is wonderful, but to anyone for whom social media is a business, what

matters to them is paying the bills.  If they have time to be nice, or if being

nice is part of their brand — and, therefore, their business — they’ll do it. 

And, in general, social media people tend to be overly nice, almost to a fault

(usually because they want you to talk about them).

But if you’re waiting for Seth Godin to write a guest post on your Blogger blog

that has 2 subscribers because “helping people is the right thing to do,” don’t

hold your breath.

Your two readers will be heartbroken if you asphyxiate.

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Possibly Related Posts:

    * Twitter Lists: Proof That Social Media Misunderstands Itself
    * Are You Waiting Until You’re Popular Before You Start Being Relevant?
    * Why I Need You to Be a Better Audience
    * 10 Ways to Be a Social Media Asshole
    * A Rising Tide Sinks All Boats: Why The Social Media Fishbowl Needs to

Demand More from Itself

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