No, this post is not about group sex. It is about a blogger. Or, rather, a beggar. You know the type. They follow your blog on the day they post some decent content. In fact, up to that point, most of their content is made up of stories, or poetry, or something contributing to the world. And little do you know, on that day they likely initiated the next step of their plan, by following hundreds or thousands of blogs in the hopes their blog will be followed back.
And since you always check out the blogs of people who follow you, and the posts you see are of some value, you make the fateful decision of hitting that Follow button. You are always looking for content that adds something, so why not?
And so it begins…
You check the “Blogs I Follow” page in your Reader, and suddenly it is littered with posts from this one blog. Multiple times a day. Sometimes every hour. And each post has a similar title. Something like, “Almost There”, or, “We Can Do It”. Out of curiosity, you check one of the posts and read a plea for money to fund the publishing of his latest book.
And you think, “That’s okay, if his readers want to help him publish, no harm in asking once every so often.” And so you click the next one, hoping for some original content. Nope, same thing. And you click down, and down, and down again in a vain search for something of value. And worse still, the other blogs you follow are now buried under a heaping pile of crowdfunding requests. This guy has become the fictional Nigerian Prince for your blog reader.
“Well, I’ll just give it a day or two. Maybe he’s just really excited.”
And the next day, there is a post of what appears to be actual content. But alas, it is just a quick reblog of a two line quote you don’t yet realize is not because he found the quote to be particularly meaningful, but just to keep you on the line. So you keep following. You scroll past his reblog and enjoy the original content or the meaningful reblogs of the bloggers who contribute.
And the next day, the pleas for your money are back. Sometimes every few minutes! This guy is worse than the awful ASPCA commercials showing you abused animals trying to guilt you into donating to them during a South Park episode! (As an aside, I am an animal lover, and supported animal charities whenever I had extra funds. I find that tactic appalling and liken it to showing abused children to help fund your local CPS.)
You decide to give him a week to possibly realize how annoying he is being. You debate with yourself over whether or not you should comment on one of the posts to suggest ways of asking his supporters for help without being so spammy. Perhaps linking to a crowdfunding site at the bottom of each post of worthwhile content with a tiny blurb like, “If you liked this post and my writing, please support my project if you can.” But you decide against it because, “Who the hell are you to tell someone how to run their blog.”
You have finally decided to unfollow their blog, but are still somewhat hesitant because that original content they once posted was interesting enough to follow them in the first place.
And as you hit unfollow you realize that the blogger is not a blogger at all. He is a marketer. He has chosen the wrong profession. He will likely hit his goal to publish his writing, but it will be devoid of any worthwhile content, unless it is merely a collection of the few pieces of material he posted on his blog, in order to bait people in.
The media touts crowdfunding as this great way for people to see the things they want done. In some cases, this is correct. Sometimes there are artificial barriers to worthwhile projects making it to the masses. But, I think, more often than not, if something is good enough to be seen, and someone is driven enough to make that happen, they can do it without begging for money. Especially in writing where it is so easy and cheap to self-publish. If this guy had good content, and self-published, he could use his marketing tricks to sell his books instead of begging for money to get them started.
I write to express myself. One day, if I feel I’ve developed my voice and gotten a cursory understanding of the craft, I’ll write my story, I’ll rewrite my story, I’ll retire it again, I’ll edit that rewrite, I’ll look for feedback, and, if I determine it is good, I’ll look to have it published or publish myself.
What I will not do, is spam anyone I come across and beg them for money.
And so now it is my turn to beg. If you follow this type of person, please do not give in to their tactics. They wouldn’t persist if it didn’t work.