What Gives You the Right to Criticize?
Loyalty to a writing site.
I've been troubled by this for some time, and it's been difficult to formulate exactly what I want to say about it. I had kind of decided I wasn't going to bother after all, but then today I was told by a fellow writer that I was “avoiding” a specific writing site. Between that and the fact that Bubblews saw a minor surge in traffic after the engineering upgrade, I guess it's back on my mind again.
Writers Jumping Ship
Around the time that Persona Paper started up, there were a lot of people leaving Bubblews because they were having payment issues. They ended up a little bit all over, including paid to click sites, survey sites, etc.
And then word got out that this site was addressing issues that Bubblews had been leaving on the back burner – issues that would later result in Bubblews cancelling a huge number of payments owing – and of course, people flocked here in droves hoping that they'd found the next way to get rich quick by keeping an online journal of their lives. Those who believed that, all jumped ship when the exchange rate was lowered unexpectedly. And a lot of the same people who had been criticizing Bubblews bitterly over non-payment, were suddenly singing their praises from every rooftop.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one put off – if not surprised – by the fickleness and hypocrisy.
Writers Demanding Loyalty
When EliteVisitors started up, there were a number of writers who wrote posts encouraging or even demanding loyalty to that site. I'd like to say they were just trying to encourage people to write, but these posts were pretty much saying it was disloyal to write for any other site.
And then one owner absconded with all the site profits, and all the writers who had accumulated earnings there lost everything. And then the site went through a couple more incarnations, started asking users to write for free, and as World Famous Writers, finally closed its doors . This happened because yet another owner made a unilateral decision to take the contents of the site off the server. Without first ensuring there was a backup.
I had issues with the way all of this went down, but taken against the backdrop of all these earlier pleas for site loyalty, it was even more irksome.
We All Need to Get By
Whatever some social writers say about the earnings, there are always a good number of folks for whom the money matters. Whether it pays the internet bill, gets saved for a rainy day, or puts food on the table, there are a significant number of people for whom it really does matter whether a site can be trusted to pay what they promise.
I know it can be frustrating for whole writing communities, and not just to site owners, when traffic falls or not very many people are writing. But I want to echo the words of one social writing site owner: “This is not our job.”
We all need to get by. We'll make the best decisions we can to that end, and yes we will probably favour sites where the money can be had now. Because web writing is very uncertain, and it doesn't often pay to invest in a site long term.
It's fine for site owners or fellow writers to encourage a stronger presence on a certain site, or to express disappointment when that doesn't happen. But it's disrespectful for anyone to criticize a writer for expressing disappointment when earnings drop. And it's even worse to shame someone for not being active enough on a given site.
When writing for a given site becomes a salaried position, or we sign a contract promising a given number of articles in a specified time, writing sites can reasonably expect writing product to be delivered on time. Until then, there is no basis to expect anything of the writer other than that she'll abide by the site rules.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/insecurity-fear-isolated-worried-440229/ by johnhain