GWAS (Birthday) Notes
On New Years Eve I went to a party planned by a beloved aunt who had all the best intentions to create a fun atmosphere for 100 or so people. Chairs were placed in an orderly arrangement, games were facilitated, the menu was full and appetising, the playlist was in tune... then only 20 people showed up.
Those 20 people (self included) gravitated towards the lounge room, rather than the festive BBQ area, because it was freakin' cold. We were also made to wait for what felt like YEARS for dinner, in her hope that more people would come to the party.
Eventually some more people did show up, the dedicated party-goers, but they had (rudely) grabbed pizza on their way. Grandiose plans sometimes get in the way of reality. Push your party plan too hard and you'll be sorely disappointed, because you can't dictate how people will behave... no matter how 'quality' your offering is.
Rupert Murdoch is my aunt.
Murdoch's push to get people to pay for the content offered by his various News Corp services has divided the media-consuming community. Some say no-one will pay because free content has been the norm and consumer habits are hard to change; others suggest that if he wants to attract paying consumers, his company will need to lift its game. In this scenario, Murdoch is rather like the Marie Antoinette of the media world, screaming "Let them eat cake!" from his ivory tower, when most people are content to nibble on the free canapes (and I admit, Media Musings does nibble at the News Corp cake, and I also borrow images from other sites and the glossies for commentary purposes).
We have all been to very excellent parties (like the one over at mamamia), taking away from them experiences we cherish – and they're not always the big, fancy ones. The most memorable parties I've been to have been the more intimate soirees where I've engaged in great conversations or had an unexpectedly fun time – like the 21st I went to not long ago where 50-odd people (young and old) wound up dancing around the backyard for HOURS... and not a single drop of alcohol had been consumed. Same goes for online content – I love to visit the sites on my blogroll, because they offer me something special or unique to talk about; to engage with. They give me some sort of enjoyment or, like the best magazines, insight into a world I am not a part of (thank you, Vogue, ELLE, et al), or connect me with people or ideas that suit my sensibility (thank you, Frankie).
Girl With A Satchel celebrates her 3-year blog birthday this weekend (whee!). Yep, three years and counting. The rewards of blogging have definitely not been financial – like Mia Freedman, this thing has never been about the money (even when I worked in mags, it was never about the money).
I am super-grateful to the sponsors who have come on board to help fund the blog (in particular Krista from My Look Book, Sassi Sam and Niki from Beloved, who have been with me almost from the beginning), and am even more grateful that I've never had to chase advertising – it has come to the blog. Most recently, it has been a treat to get iSubscribe on board, who supply me with more than a few magazine subscriptions (some publishers have cottoned onto the fact that supplying me with mags is a good way to get coverage, others have been less obliging).
I have been approached by ad networks, but have been reluctant to sign on because I want to protect the integrity of the blog's content, and because I generally like to run my own show. Call me a control freak, but some ads are just ugly, while other products clash with my values, and I have Pollyanna standards to maintain. I also have a lovely list of contributors who do not get paid for their work – and I would very much like to pay them their due.
I'm grateful that I still get the odd freelance writing commission to help pay the grocery bills (thank you, Cosmo, for giving me reign over your book page) and to my in-laws for supporting Husband and I by providing us with a home. This year I'm also returning to Queensland University of Technology to tutor aspiring young writerly types, which has a cash bonus.
Husband and I are responsible with the money we earn, yet we struggle... a lot. I am too embarrassed to tell you how much we collectively earned last financial year, so let's just say NOT MUCH. But this is our choice. We eschew fancy things and lead a simple life and go about our work because we feel we can contribute in some small way to God's grand plans. Simple as that.
So, dear reader, it's over to you. I am a mini player in this online world, but I would like to stay. If that means continuing to run sponsored adverts, so be it. If that means offering you some sort of 'quality' package to subscribe to for a small fee, great. If it means starting up a Girl With A Satchel Club, even better (Babysitter's Club dreams come true!). In short, the ball's in your court and the cake's there for eating - for free or a small fee.
Girl With a Satchel