Friday, August 1, 2014

Blogging for profit?

Soapbox rant commencing in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

The Hot Flash Homestead blog has been in existence now for just a couple of years but I've already realized that homestead blogging is something that should be done for free, rather than as a income-gathering activity.

Blogging is to writing what reality shows are to television -- in their ideal form, they are real-life, unscripted looks at how someone lives, what they think, or what they do with their time -- and while there are some reality shows which are educational (I think of the "Pioneer House" series and "Manor House" series on PBS that aired a few years ago), most are crap.  

And they're crap for the exact same reason blogging for profit produces crap:  because you need a constant stream of new "story lines" to keep the public interested.

My blog is not for profit.  My husband and I both work at regular jobs for money, which funds most of the stuff I write about. But by having my blog be a side thing I do for fun, I have more freedom. I can write about my crappy tomato harvest 17 times in a month without there being any consequences...pageview numbers and the ad revenue that depends on those pageviews isn't even on my radar screen.

Besides, why should I get paid for, basically, living my life?  When did that become a for-profit kind of thing?  And what would it do to my decision-making processes regarding my life if I had to factor in what "my audience" might think about what I'm doing?  Talk about a lack of freedom.  It's actually kind of a scary thought to imagine being beholden to a group of strangers who would judge my life and contribute, depending on whether or not they approved. Sounds more like a hostage situation to me.

And here's something else. A for-profit blog is actually nothing more than a business website in a thinly-veiled disguise. Who knows if you're mentioning your pellet stove because your pellet stove happens to be on your mind, or if maybe the company that manufactures them is cutting you a deal -- a discounted pellet stove for a certain number of blog mentions and some ad space.  And suddenly, there are pellet stove stories and mentions of it everywhere, camouflaged as "real life" stories, all crafted to get your readers thinking about that damn pellet stove and how nice it would be to have one. Seems a bit shady to me.

So if you're reading what you think is a blog, think carefully about the potential for-profit motivations that the author may have in mind as he or she is writing.  If it's homesteading information you are looking for, there are thousands of non-profit blogs like this one and YouTube videos out there, all made by people who just want to share their knowledge, their triumphs and their screw-ups, not get you to donate to them or buy something.  

And the next time you get sucked into a story line on a blog as well, consider whether or not the whole story is just a means to an end -- with the end being you writing a check to support that person, in one form or another.  If you are OK with this kind of blogging, that's great. But do keep your eyes open and know the difference between a "free read" and when you're being kept in the loop with your potential financial support, product purchases, or other business ventures in mind.

As a "word consumer" or reader, it's just something to think about.


  1. Mmmmmmhmmmm.
    It's funny because I originally thought I could make money blogging. Until I realized how demeaning it really is. I kept ads in my blog for a while after I gave up the hope of any income, figuring what harm could it be? Then one day I was reading my blog and accidentally clicked on one. So annoying. They were removed a while ago, and when I get back to blogging it will remain ad/delusion of income free.
    But you bring up an interesting point about blogging being someone's sole source of income. It creates a sort of neurotic second world, that I would think is downright miserable. Let the Kardashians worry about such things, I wouldn't have the patience or ability to include so many other people in my decisions! As always, a great post.

    1. Thank you. I'm glad your blog is ad-free, I must have come along after the ads were gone. With so many bloggers out there, I don't think there's anyone who can literally support themselves blogging, except when it's a business blog connected to a valid enterprise of some sort -- and then it's really just advertising in the form of blogging. (Like maybe Martha Stewart) I once had the newspaper I used to work for ask if I'd blog for them, and when I asked about those additional hours I'd spend writing paying an additional salary amount, they laughed. Apparently they figured I'd just love working for them for free. Nope! I will work for MYSELF for free on this blog though, happily.