Fascinating discussion going on in the Pub (the Publications board) at Two Peas. At the time of this post, the discussion is 5 pages long and counting.
In the original post, Sharyn (aka "Torm") presented three "facts" (excerpted, a bit out of context, below):
Fact: When people ask how they can climb the ladder to success some have been coached to comment on big name blogs and praise their layouts as a way to be seen. This is a fact. People have been told this. It boggles my mind. This is how to achieve success??? This alone breeds ‘look at me’ and jealousy as one is taken under someone’s wing and someone else is not and people compete for attention. This is not the way to true success – but, it has worked for some.
Fact: Entitlement. There are a huge percentage of published scrapbookers who have a feeling of entitlement. To their credit, this is a feeling that has been bred and taught. But it’s eating the industry alive. The numbers of self-proclaimed entitled persons that go booth to booth at CHA, or that email distributors asking for product is so great now that the manufacturers as a whole are wondering how to go back in time and put a stop to this practice.
Fact: There are more and more and more contests than I ever remember. Competition while it can be fun at times…we are now drowning in it. The negativity and bad feelings come as we continually feel badly for those that lose over and over again. We carry their loss…and it drains us all. We also feel elated for those that won..but in the end, it’s all draining. We are flooded with it now.
The bottom line tho is…do we like what the industry is becoming. And if not…how can we get back what was? What do we really want from it all? My inbox tells me that not too many people like the direction that it’s heading.
But me? I’m in it for a creative outlet first, friends – 2nd, publication 3rd. Cuz in the end…it’s the first 2 that have lasting value and rewards.
But the other stuff...that's the reality. That's what everyone should be aware of...
Well. People on the business side of the scrapbooking industry do have an entirely different view of the hobby than the general consumer. I kow I have become more jaded about a lot of things, wary of "opportunities", and the reality of becoming "famous". Those are the things that immediately come to mind for me when I consider what's "wrong" with this industry.
Sharyn does bring up good points, and others obviously agree (evinced by the 5 pages of discussion, which also boiled over onto the Pink Martini board). I think the two main issues -- entitlement/donations and contests/cult of celebrity -- are definitely concerns that deeply affect the industry, and those wanting to get into the industry.
The first "fact" Sharyn brought up, about the commenting on blogs...that seems more of a symptom than a real problem to me. She said that " some [people] have been coached to comment on big name blogs and ...as a way to be seen". This is actually a standard response for a technique to build traffic to one's blog/website. Blog evangelists like Andy Wibbels, Darren Rouse, and "The Blog Squad" all offer that advice (as such, so do I, in my blog consulting). But here's the key distinction: if you go to a blog that addresses a similar niche (scrapbooking, in our case), leaving a comment accompanied by your URL can lead that blog's readers to visit your site. True. But generally, the readers will follow your link only if you leave RELEVANT and INSIGHTFUL comments on that blog. Generally, if you read the comments on a blog post, you don't follow the URL for a commenter who says, "Wow, great idea." You follow the URL for someone who says, "That's a great idea. I like it because it applies to me [this way]", or if they describe how they put the idea into effect, or if they offer another idea -- generally just contributing more to the conversation that just "me, too". Then, when the readers click over to that URL, that blog must also offer relevant and insightful content that gives people a reason to come back. If "wanna-be" designers comment on the "A-list" scrap-blogs as a means to get noticed, they must provide relevant and useful content on their own blogs/websites for the "notice" to stick. So, really, if people are posting "me, too" comments on "A-list celebrity" blogs, then don't have blog content to back up their talent or to indicate their interest in becoming a designer, the entire practice is a waste of time. So I guess part of the issue, as with any type of self-promotion, comes down to intention -- what's the intent behind the technique? Are you promoting yourself in a sleazy-used-car-salesman way, riding-someone's-coattails-to-success, with nothing to back it up? Or are you making honest comments on blogs, offering additional perspectives and insights, as well as posting other useful content on your end?
This post is long enough for now -- I'll post my thoughts on Facts Two and Three later this week. (Something to look forward to, I'm sure!)