Earlier this week I was checking my Google Analytics and noticed more traffic than usual to my site. I clicked the links to discover that a blog I wrote on what to do if you get a pink slip that also appeared on The Huffington Post had been repurposed for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Brisbane Times and The Canberra Times. In Australia!
I was pretty excited. I was living one of those miracle moments of the digital world. My "sagely advice" was being quoted in Australia - literally halfway around the world! As a blogger and as a writer that is a very good day.
That evening I was having dinner with some friends. I was still bursting with my unexpected discovery when I arrived at the restaurant, so I shared.
The first response I got was "Are they paying you for that?"
I kept what I wanted to say inside of my head - which was - are you #@!##!! kidding me? I just tell you that my post is picked up in a major paper in Australia and all you want to know is if I got paid for it!!??
What I did let out of my mouth was this.
"No, they didn't pay me. But they certainly credited me. And really - I got picked up in Australia!"
"Yeah, but they should pay you for it."
I found myself starting to defend the whole thing. To explain to this man who spends his days locked inside a corporate office the value of exposure to an entirely new audience - for my writing and for my business. That allowing sharing on the web as long as it is attributable to the author can ultimately result in more money than being paid for the article. (Not that being paid wouldn't be nice). I told him in the world of marketing this is called earned media. I explained what a Creative Commons License meant. I tried to make him see that I get to do what I love, and someone on the far side of the globe noticed it's value.
But then I noticed the vacant look in his eyes.
He didn't get it. He wasn't going to get it. In fact I'm not sure he wanted to.
He is a part of the old way of doing business in which the cardinal rule is to never do anything unless there is a direct and clear money line attached. The idea of being generous with your ideas is foreign to them. They are not sure how to spell 'free' much less offer it. They don't understand the value of online connection unless they see immediate monetization. The only metric of success they value is money.
I took a long sip of my wine. I smiled and let the conversation go elsewhere. It didn't matter that he didn't get it. I do. And for that I am very grateful.
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