Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is it Realistic to Think Bloggers Will Demand Fair Payment?

One thing about me: I'm very good at being passionate about how things SHOULD be done. I'm the best person to come to if you want a pep talk about asking for a raise, or demanding better treatment at work or from a partner. And occasionally I even rise to the occasion and take my own advice. But lots of times my bark is louder than my bite and I'm not good at asserting myself.

The One we trust...
Originally uploaded by Daniel*1977

I often find myself in trouble in blog world because of the strong way I voice my opinions--I come across WAY more strongly in writing than in person. Unless you count the times I had to go head-to-head with my ex mother-in-law and pulled Academy-winning performances....but I digress. But I'm the first to admit that many of my highest-traffic blog posts have been as a result of something I've blogged about in all innocence which was misconstrued as something more negative and all hell broke loose. Happened when I blogged about Chris Brogan's Twitter practices. Or how a mom blogger reality show is a horrible idea.

All of this is a long way of leading up to Deb Ng's post about why bloggers need to hold out for being paid in cash, not stuff. If you read this blog you know one of my pet issues is fair payment for blogging or working as a community/social media manager. So naturally I couldn't agree more with Deb on this post (or basically all her posts, for that matter); she asks if she's the only one who thinks bloggers are getting the crappy end of the stick in blogger/brand relationships that involve a blogger accepting a trip (that takes time away from her paid job) as compensation for being a brand evangelist and the work that entails. I found myself getting all fired up as I read her post--OF COURSE bloggers who are working for free are getting a raw deal and need to stick up for themselves.

But then I paused because I realize that while Deb is absolutely right and women SHOULD be asking for money to blog or do social media work for companies, the reality is that it's probably not going to happen much of the time because that's not the way women generally work. Women are notoriously bad about negotiating when it comes to money, and demanding what they're worth--because, in fact, we're often terrible at realizing our own worth. I know I am, despite years of work on this exact issue. And the group of women who is perhaps particularly bad at knowing their worth is stay-home moms; the group of women who, I'm assuming, make up a decent chunk of the mom blogger population. I know when I was a stay-home mom for 8 years and did some freelance writing, I was horrible at the money part. I'm still horrible at it, for the most part.

So while to a woman who is confident about herself and her professional abilities may have no problem approaching a brand as Deb did and asking to be a sponsor--for cash--I suspect many, many of the women (or men, I guess, but I think this is probably more of a female issue--feel free to correct me in the comments if you disagree) involved in the world of blogging for money or something approximating money wouldn't have that same confidence. Let's face it: this whole social media/cewebrity thing is all tied up with ego and drama and the thrill of feeling wanted or valued and for many women, they're just grateful to be picked. Even if it means having to pay money out of their own pocket at tax time for that giveaway or trip they accepted. Social media is so much about being a popularity contest--with it's "Top 50 This" and "Top 100 That" lists that there are plenty of people out there just so gratified to be playing in what they perceive to be the big leagues that asking for money too just won't happen.

I don't know what there is to be done about it, other than a mass consciousness-raising about women knowing their worth...but I don't know that us all getting together and looking at our lady parts with hand mirrors will accomplish that. Anyone have any better suggestions?

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