Problogging Hype or Reality?

Filed as News on October 29, 2006 9:36 pm

There’s an article published courtesy of FastCompany.com which highlights the benefits of blogging to one’s career. The article highlights a number of individuals and their blogs, from Jeff Jarvis and BuzzMachine to Hugh McLeod and the Gaping Void, describing how blogging allowed some to quit their jobs, allowed others to extend their own services (such as consulting), or market other products (books).  For example:

Blogs can also lead to full-time conventional employment, particularly for people who work in media. Blogs can provide a talent pool, from which mainstream media outlets recruit staff. In the past month, two bloggers were hired for high-profile positions in mainstream media because they earned reputations for their unique approaches to writing celebrity gossip. Corynne Steindler, editor of the media gossip blog, Jossip, was hired to write for the New York Post‘s Page Six and Gawker‘s Jessica Coen was hired to be deputy online editor for Vanity Fair.

I guess the bigger question is — does the FastCompany article give the false impression about how easy blogging is?

I think it does.

The blogs it profiles are the equivalent of mega superstars in the blogosphere; many either had fame, fortune or connections before they blogged, or, worked their collective assess off, or got lucky enough with the salacious writings that someone felt it would sell.

The unfortunate reality for many bloggers is that many toil in complete obscurity, some producing actually some pretty good stuff, never really reaching the lofty heights that the FastCompany article suggests.  Of course they may produce ancillary benefits to some, but I think to not incude how the vast majority of bloggers work — and without discussing the requisite amount of work it takes for some bloggers to “go pro” is entirely disingenuous.  And perhaps, a little dangerous.

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  1. By Robyn Tippins posted on October 29, 2006 at 10:22 pm
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    Blogging is hard. I mean, it’s fun, but it’s not an easy paycheck. It’s taken me a year to get decent traffic and still I have to supplement my income with network gigs. The article makes it sound much easier than it is.

  2. By Tony Hung posted on October 29, 2006 at 10:35 pm
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    I agree Robyn. Its so one-sided it borders on a fluff piece.

  3. By Mikey posted on October 30, 2006 at 12:47 am
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    It is not an easy jump. I know some people who quit their corporate jobs and made a rather difficult transition to problogging and believe it or not, they find themselves working as much if not more than they have been when they were nine to fivin. I mean of course you’re working form home and all but when you weigh everything, you’re workload is practically the same.

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  5. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on October 30, 2006 at 5:21 am
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    Sensible piece, Tony.

    It’s really like everything else. If someone’s got that special something, they’ll succeed whatever they do. Blogging is a cheap and cheerful way into pro journalism, but the large majority of bloggers wouldn’t make it if they went the hard way of applying for an intern’s job at a magazine or newspaper.

  6. By Tony posted on October 30, 2006 at 8:27 am
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    The Pasadena Star (the Pasadena Star?!) has a much more sensible piece of journalism John. Web2.0-existing-only-in-San-Francisco indeed … :D

  7. By Paul Chaney posted on October 31, 2006 at 10:48 pm
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    About two years ago I got some folks excited about creating an industry organization focused on professional blogging, called the Professional Bloggers Association. Even though it never took off, largely due to my need to make a living leaving little time to devote to its development, I felt problogging would eventually become a career track.

    I’ve since changed my mind. While some companies, like Stonyfield Farms, hire full-time bloggers, most add blogging to the job description or merely encourage employees to blog, even though they’re not compensated for it. I recall even Scoble mentioning that he didn’t blog on company time. I never believed that, but I recall him saying it at the Blog Business Summit in January 2005.

    (BTW, don’t you think it interesting we still refer to Stonyfield as an example of a company hiring someone to blog; perhaps that’s further evidence that problogging really hasn’t taken off.)

    I’ve earned my living thanks to blogging since November 2004, but it is hard work. I do hope the landscape changes and we see more companies (Fortune 500s included) bringing on full-time bloggers. For now, most are relegated to part-time income blogging on networks like this one.

  8. By Robyn Tippins posted on November 1, 2006 at 12:22 am
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    Just one of the dozens of jobs I see every day:

    http://jobsearch.monster.com/getjob.asp?JobID=49578925

    It’s not that there aren’t blogger jobs to be had, it’s that they aren’t news anymore.

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