I Am Baker

Anonymous Comments

I read an article in the New York Times about anonymous comments.  News Sites Rethink Anonymous Online Comments. (its from April 2010)

It was pleasantly surprising to know that I am not the only one who does not think anonymity is always great in cyber space.

Anonymous Comments on WebSites: Why its should not be allowed

My experience with anonymous comments has not been good.  I have been attacked for the color pancakes I make, for the choice to homeschool, for my faith, and for my cake decorating choices among other things.

How I handle it on my blog is like this: If your comment is a personal attack its deleted.  If the comment is constructive criticism I will post it and try to address the issues with the commentor.  If people simply have different opinions than me, but choose to express themselves in an intelligent way, their comments stay.  I have filters in place and my readers are usually not exposed to the hate that people are so willing to spew.

From the NYT article, “Leonard Pitts Jr., a Miami Herald columnist, wrote recently that anonymity has made comment streams “havens for a level of crudity, bigotry, meanness and plain nastiness that shocks the tattered remnants of our propriety.” (emphasis mine)

This is by no means an overstatement.  In the safe confines of anonymity I have seen the most vile of words written.  People feel impervious by the ‘anonymous’ label sprawled next to their words.  They are saying and doing things they would never dream of saying and doing to someones face.  Its as if they feel their words are without consequence and that it is their right to say whatever they want.

I think that news sites are on the right track if they are considering doing away with anonymous comments.  Force people to stand behind their opinions, or at the very least think before they say something that may cause harm.  I am not foolish enough to believe that people will not find ways to hide behind fake identities and persona’s.  But I am hugely comforted by the fact that people are recognizing that nothing good comes from the anonymous attack.

If it is not constructive  it does not make you ponder and re-evaluate, it is simply an evil distraction.

There may be a decrease in the quantity of comments on sites, the positive side is that there will be a surplus of quality interactions.

Quality Over Quantity

What say you?  Do you support peoples right to say what they want with identity attached?  Do you think there is any good to having anonymity online?  If anonymous comments were to be taken away, do you think that would make a positive impact?

 

 

 

I Am Baker

Blogging 101: The Pitch

Alternatively titled: The Ugly Truth about Pitches

Lately I have been getting numerous emails from random public relations firms.  I am talking 3-4 a day.  I am convinced I ended up on someone’s “list” and am now considered fair game to the ‘pitch artists’.

What I am experiencing is nothing new.  I have read about this onslaught before.  Basically since social media began making waves in public influence, public relations agencies have been pitching to bloggers.  Admittedly, their tactics have improved.  They now typically include a sentence about your most recent blog post and use your correct name.

But the goal has not changed.

In my opinion, they are seeking you out to use you.  They want your twitter followers, your facebook fans, and your blog readers.

And they want it for free.

Check out this site, which actively helps PR companies pitch.  Even if you haven’t received a pitch yet, mostly likely you will.  Its just a matter of time.*

 

 

An example of what I am getting:

Hi Manda,

We’re currently working with xxxxxx promoting their video for a new line of producs; you can watch the video here: videolink . The products on show are ideal for people with a passion for food but no time for cleaning, and we feel i am baker would be the perfect place to reach our audience.

If you would be interested in featuring the video on your site please get back to us and we can sort something out.

*******

So I responded to this company:

Hi xxx

Thank you so much for the kind words!

I like your product (already use it!) and would be happy to feature your video on my site.  My normal fee for that is $x.  Please let me know if I can provide you any further details!

 

*******

I received this back:

Hi Amanda,

Unfortunately we do not have any remaining budget for this campaign. 

We’ll keep you in mind for future endeavors.

*******

Even my 3 year old knows that she doesnt want to do somethin for nothin, as evidenced by the fact I recently had to bribe her to pick up her princess shoes.

Here is one way I describe it: (usually to people who are not bloggers)

Its like going into a car dealership and saying, “I have a radio I think would be great in your car.  Can you install my radio in your car, advertise about my radio for me, make sure the radio is on all the time, and get all your existing customers more interested in my radio?  Oh, and this would be for free, since I am letting you use my radio.”

Just because a company contacts you and says, “We think your site is a great fit for our brand.  Please tweet, facebook, google +, blog, and pin our newest product and we will then consider you for future endeavors,” doesn’t mean you need to do what they ask!

You have worth.  Negotiate with them!  Dont accept the first offer as the final offer.

I dont know about you, but I was completely flattered the first time I got a pitch.  I was willing to do whatever they asked and then some.

 

I think they are banking on that.  Like, literally.

And in my experience, they actually do have a budget.  They just dont want to spend it where they dont have too.  Why pay when some bloggers are willing to do it for free, just to build a “relationship”?

 

WHAT PR AGENCIES NEED TO KNOW

Doing a blog post takes work.

Tweeting about a company that we do not know affects our twitter relationships.

Sharing a company on facebook affects our reputation.

Pinterest is still fairly new, but if a blogger has followers, their pins have value.

If a blogger chooses to work hard to promote your client and put their reputation on the line then they deserve compensation.

 

 

 

WHAT BLOGGERS NEED TO KNOW

Your social media package (your blog, facebook, twitter, pinterest, google +, etc) has value.

Monetary value.

No matter what size your blog is, I encourage you to place a value on certain functions.

It is my opinion that you are the best judge of what that value is.  For instance, say JimBob has 1,000 fans on facebook.  JimBob shares daily on facebook and typically has at least 50% (if not more) of his fans interacting with him.  Susie Q has 10,000 fans on FB.  She doesnt have as much interaction and on average only 10% of her fans comment, like, and share.

(twitter, blog readers, pinterst followers, etc. are all interchangeable with facebook in that paragraph)

Please observe my very technical and high end graph.

Even though SusieQ has more fans, JimBob would probably run a more successful campaign.  Sadly, most PR agencies are not taking the time to determine this.  You need to be the one to tell them!

You know your fanbase, you know the interaction, you know your klout.  Base your fees on that, not on what someone else is charging.

In my best Norma Rae voice I want to say,

“Do not sell yourself short!  Have a fee and prepared statement in mind!  Take a stand against abuse of social media power!”

Or, ahhhh, something like that.

Did you know companies exist with the sole purpose of telling PR reps how to pitch to bloggers?  It is my hope that we, as bloggers, can challenge them.  Force them to pay bloggers an appropriate sum for our time, our influence, and our hard work!

ALL bloggers.  Even if you feel you have a small audience, you have a voice.  I just hope they can respect that.

#justsayin

 

*There is nothing wrong with getting a pitch!  My next post will be on how to discern if a company is right for you and how to make sure they keep coming back for more. :)

Disclaimer: I have been contacted by companies I love and admittedly, I will work for them for free.  If I already use their product, have previously promoted their product, and think others can benefit from using their products, I am excited to share that through all social media avenues.  Sometimes, for me, its not about what I can gain from it, but how can I help others by sharing.