A story in the current Newsweek says that interest in amateur (non-profit) blogging and contributing to Wikipedia is falling off rapidly as, frankly, people get tired of working for free. The story mentions, in passing, that according to Technorati, professional bloggers are “a rising class.”


Welcome to reality, or, rather, back to reality. People don’t do things for very long if they don’t get a payback, whether it be emotional, entertainment, financial, etc. Editing encyclopedia entries in Wikipedia is no doubt fun and satisfying if you care about the specific topic, but without a financial incentive there’s no way to guarantee every entry about every subject, no matter how unpopular, is correct. The story also notes that “citizen journalism,” in which everyday people cover the local news, is also in decline. Sitting through a local sewer district meeting ain’t thrilling, and explaining what happened in plain terms is difficult. But try going without a working toilet for a week and you’ll know why tracking the workings of the sewer district is important.


Because some work is valuable but dull, society pays people to do it. The same is true in creating content to sell IT products and services. Doing it well is important and takes effort but isn’t always fascinating. That’s why, in at least some cases, you have to pay for quality content rather than leaving it up to your employees (who have other skills) or your customers (who have day jobs or may have other agendas.)


When can you afford to leave B2B content to the crowd and when should you call in the pros? Watch this space for many more details, soon. But the fact that people won’t blog or edit or tweet or whatever for free forever is a good sign. Looks like we might be starting to figure out this whole “New Media/Social Web” thing.



Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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