A former colleague of mine, Ia Lucero, posts on the perils of problogging. While problogging has been a respectable career and source of income in some circles, there are still people who don’t think highly of problogging and professional bloggers.
There seems to be a rift between personal blogging and professional blogging (aka problogging). In Shari’s recent post, where she compares blogging in the past and present, commenters seem to imply that running advertisements on their blogs as well as people who start blogs for the sole purpose of blogging is a miserable example of how desperate people are to earn money. Worse, at least one commenter believes blogging is not hard work, and that if you don’t exert (physical?) effort into a job, then the money isn’t well-earned.
I share Ia’s and Shari’s sentiments. In fact, I myself sometimes find it difficult to explain to people that I make a living mostly out of blogs and other online activities. From where I come from, blogging for a living has yet to be recognized as a viable career or source of income. There is a prevailing culture where corporate work is preferred over entrepreneurial exploits.
Ia goes on to dissect the common pitfalls of problogging, like tacky (and sometimes malware-filled) advertisements, boring and insensitive content, and even ethics. For instance, being a designer, she thinks ads that are attractive and easy on the eyes are good for blogs (think advertisements in fashion magazines). As for content, there is the oft-cited echo chamber, which tends to dilute the value of content. And as for ethics, what’s worse for your credibility than being paid for posting about or reviewing something you don’t really use or know about?
The popularity of blogs, coupled with its potential to draw convert visitor traffic into profit, has also led to the make-money-online bubble. This is becoming a turn-off for those who believe blogs are better defined as online personas rather than money mills. Art for art’s sake versus all about the benjamins. Idealism versus practicality. Good versus evil…?
There’s nothing wrong with earning a few bucks (or even big bucks) off blogs and blogging. But I’ll go with Ia in saying that “Blogging smart is blogging useful and ethical entries, not misleading or lazy ones.” The great probloggers are those who add value to the web and the blogosphere.