The Economics of Blogging Redux

I just finished my blogging course offered through the Writer’s Studio section of Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program.  I’m discouraged.  Blogging takes time.  Unpaid time.

A few of my blogging classmates were able to write short and sweet blog posts, why not me?  Obviously their comments didn’t take hours to put together.  I microblog on Twitter, there must be some way for me to also post quickly about market and economic trends, right?  And yet I’ve spent more than forty-five minutes here at this post …

The blogging course readings reinforced my view that blogging takes a lot of upaid time, time which I know could be spent on client projects that generate revenue (I charge by the hour).  Technorati has a State of the Blogosphere Report with a post saying “More bloggers than ever are making money from blogs, however they are not the majority.”  I can’t post the author’s estimate of the percent of bloggers who are hobbyists (i.e., “they report no income related to blogging”):  Apparently a survey was taken, but I am not able to find out how or when the survey was conducted, nor can I find how many people were surveyed.  Also, is there a revenue threshold I must meet before I can proclaim myself a professional blogger?  $5? $50? $500/year?  Surveys can easily be very poorly designed, and it’s especially hard to get a randomly selected group to represent the population you’re trying to learn about.   I spent an unsuccessful 10 minutes trying to find out the particulars of the State of the Blogosphere survey to see if I could trust the survey results.  Which just goes to prove to me (again) that quick blogging is an oxymoron.

I entitle this post “Redux” because WomanistMusings posted “Mostly  Unpaid Labor:  The Economics of Blogging” at BlogHer last April:

Blogging is work. What’s more — it is unpaid labor for most of us that do it. This may not mean much to you, but I ask you to consider that most of the work women do in this world is unpaid and this largely contributes to the economic gender imbalance. …

A good blog takes time and energy and though women are very active in the blogosphere, they have yet to reach the same kind of success as men; this is even more true if you are a WOC [Woman of Color]. …

Many think that blogging has created this brave new world because voices that have traditionally been silenced now have the opportunity to speak their truth. But the reality is that this truth costs the marginalized more than ever. Not only do we have to deal with over-privileged bodies who are full of resistance, but the lack of remuneration also reaffirms the economic divide in the real world, thus once again devaluing our contributions.

High and long lasting unemployment, combined with the current low to no out of pocket cost of launching a blog, has lowered the opportunity cost of blogging for some, definitely.  But I’m not unemployed, I have “paid” work sitting there, and yet here I am, blogging.

So why am I launching a blog now that I’m convinced the economics of blogging are so bad?  I’m writing a book, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Market Research, and I am convinced (in my gut) that blogging will be a great way to promote my book once it’s published in 2012. For now, I’m warming up.  Eventually I’ll be writing about the book launch and inviting readers to book signings.  I’ll not blog more than once a week until then, though, unless I can figure out how to post quick and insightful blog posts.

About Anne Ramstetter Wenzel

Economist & Market Researcher, Certified Business Advisor for the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center.
This entry was posted in Life as an Entrepreneur and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Economics of Blogging Redux

  1. marcys says:

    Like you, I don’t know how to post short blogs. Mine can take as much as three hours to write; sometimes I even do time-consuming research. Reading this, however, didn’t depress me–it made me feel better even. That’s because much of the time I labor under the impression that I’m the only blogger out here who hasn’t figured out how to make money from it. At least I know I’m not alone. The feminist angle on it, the women’s economics, is something I was unaware of, and it’s very interesting. So thanks for this post.

    One more thing: Money is not the only reason to do things in this lifetime. It’s just too bad the rest of the world doesn’t feel that way, and everything revolves around making a buck. This makes it hard to go on doing work for love and pleasure.

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