Today I received an email with an offer to become a paid blogger for Wide Open Education (I’m sure they approached a few people simultaneously). They, very wisely, want to raise their profile in the blogosphere and were happy to pay someone a reasonable sum to do this. It would be impolite to say how much, not a full salary certainly, but a reasonable amount for someone who could do it as a by-product of their day job. I said no, because although I post on open content and open source, it isn’t my main field of interest and so to keep up the volume of posts required I felt it would interfere with my regular job too much. They’ve got someone now (so don’t go sending your CV off), who they probably approached before me as he is a much better choice (I’m not being coy about who it is, but I think they should be allowed to announce it first).
Anyway, this made me realise two things:
i) there is actual, real spendable money to be had in blogging, but you wouldn’t set out on it as a career path.
ii) More interestingly the figure they offered gives me at least a benchmark as to how much an organisation values getting a presence in the blogosphere. And they recognise this doesn’t come about by just posting lots of corporate news items, but by having thoughtful, interesting pieces that people want to link to (I know what you’re thinking – so why’d they go to you then?).
This second point has the virtue of good timing – next week I have my annual work review. I am intent on establishing blogging as a valid academic activity and also one that has strategic and reputational value for the university. I now have a hard figure I can take to my review (they like such things) and say ‘look, this is how much someone is willing to pay for the level of blogging activity I currently provide for free’ (well, sort of free, it isn’t part of my workplan and as such isn’t accounted for in my time, but it does arise from work I am paid to do, and sometimes during work hours). It’s not so much that I want financial recompense for it (although, I don’t sniff at such things), but more the recognition that it’s an activity that should be acknowledged and not something with a vague whiff of ‘not doing proper work’ about it.
I’ll let you know how my ‘make blogging valid’ campaign goes.