Content. There is so much of us, most of us can’t seriously ingest let alone retain most of it. I subscribe to hundreds of blogs, there is no way I get to read all of them weekly. Sorry. Just ain’t gonna happen.But as a blogger, I try and support those who also contribute to the community at large by donating their time writing to educate, inspire or simply entertain. Further, I sincerely appreciate the time you, the reader, take on this blog. We share the time commitment, don’t we?

Why DO bloggers blog? For every blogger, there is a different reason to blog. There are four reasons I blog: 1) I simply can not keep my opinions to  myself. 2) I look at it as my contribution towards educating others 3) It gives potential clients some insight as to who I am and how I work.  4) I thrive on the energy and comments I get from this blog, both in real life and on the blog itself. And my blog is free. As in, almost no advertising and very few affiliated links jamming themselves down my reader’s throats. I did this on purpose, I very specifically decided that for this blog (I have two others), I wanted the experience to be as uninterrupted as possible.

That said, why is my blog free? Its free because I get my own satisfaction out of it. That’s why. Yes, I spend hours on this blog. Thinking about what to write. Researching it. Writing it. But its my own personal labor of love and my gift to the social media community. I really do look at it that way. My reward? Your readership and comments (yes, that’s a shameless request for comments).  On the other hand, this blog is filled with opinions and ideas that are mine. It is not a hard-hitting research and news blog.

I often discuss events and research on my blog. I adhere to a code of ethics that I take great pride in: attribute fairly and often. Also, when I mention someone or something, I always include a link to their site. It think its extremely important to honor the work of others accordingly. No matter what their reason for creating the (free) content.  But recently, I rightly was called out for failing my own code of ethics. After writing about the ComScore research released last month, I posted a link to the research I referred to in the post. Since I’d already downloaded the (free) research, I just created a link to my dropbox copy of it for my readers. Very quickly, ComScore contacted me and asked that I replace my dropbox link with THEIR link so my readers downloaded it from them directly. DOH! Of COURSE. The entire reason that information was given away was so that they could collect the names of those interested. I had completely failed in my own code of ethics to respect what OTHERS are publishing and why.

So it might surprise you to find that I think that paid content has a place in our society. Particularly for news and research. Although I often read sites like HuffingtonPost, as a writer, I am somewhat conflicted about these sites. They pay the writers very little (if anything) for the “honor” of being on their highly trafficked site. Yet, the writing is surprisingly good, most of the time. Locally, in Hawaii, we have CivilBeat.com which has spent the better part of the last year developing their voice and pushing quality paid content. These two sites couldn’t be more different. HuffingtonPost=free writers, CivilBeat=paid journalists.

There is a place in our world for journalism. We need it more than ever.  We don’t WANT every blogger to be a citizen journalist, although some are very good at it. This society needs journalists who are willing to dig deep, get the real story no matter how dangerous while still adhering to the ethics and responsibilities of journalism. There is a mighty big difference between my personal opinions on an issue and the hard facts that get exposed by journalists. And there is a place for research. It continues to be very important, particularly in our fast moving world of digital media. That’s why I was so embarrassed by my own personal gaffe.