When I was at high school a million years ago, I dreamed of being a journalist. Life being what it is, that didn't happen and I ended up studying education instead.
Today I am glad. I have learned yet again that I am simply not thick skinned enough. I am in fact quite a sensitive soul it would appear, and I'll not apologise for that. I am quite capable of firing up when need be to support and advocate for the needs of my children, but generally I'm pretty easy going and open to new ideas, discussion and open debate.
My letter to PR's from earlier in the week was picked up by another site yesterday, and Twitter decided to give me hell about it. Naivete your name is Kate.
Once I'd recovered my composure a little (sensitive, like I said) a quite interesting discussion eventuated about the terminology gap between mainstream media and blogging. Out of this came the suggestion that the blogosphere needs a regulatory body similar to ACMA, an idea I absolutely support and that has been discussed fairly regularly around the traps of late although to the best of my knowledge nothing is actually in the works as yet.
I do want to address a couple of issues that came up repeatedly.
Yes, I incur costs in running this blog although the platform I use in itself is free. I paid for the design of the blog itself, I pay a monthly fee to a number of businesses for services including the program I use for scheduling updates across my social media networks, the third party app I use for Facebook and promotion of posts and the blog itself.
Generally speaking, in any given month the income I receive related to administration will go close to covering these fees. Occasionally it will fall short, other times it will exceed. Swings and roundabouts. If I were to expect it to also cover the time I spent writing posts, promoting them, communicating with the PR's involved and curating entries I'd be working for about $1 an hour. I don't expect that because I choose to work with brands and that is part and parcel of it.
Again speaking generally, sponsored post fees (which are tiered very differently) are income and I declare them as such.
The term 'admin fee' appears to be the crux of the issue. If I were to call it something else (bearing in mind that I disclose ALL payments and my readers are fully aware of them) would that solve the issue? Maybe. Maybe not. If all reviews were labelled as 'advertorial' would that be clearer, even though I do not use or regurgitate press releases and include our own experiences?
It is an area worthy of discussion. Civil debate is possible and valuable.
I would be genuinely interested in taking the discussion further, but given the endless circular argument about disclosure and bloggers that always seems to degenerate into stone throwing, it would be nice to think this could happen without anyone feeling belittled or attacked. Which is exactly how I have felt.
I do not blog as a money making venture, but I do appreciate the opportunity to cover my expenses and occasionally add to the family income.
I blog because I love the community I have here. I blog because I am motivated and inspired by my fellow #OperationMOVE crew and I'm proud to provide a space for that. I blog because without the support of the blogosphere I do not know how I would have coped with my son's diagnosis last year, and I hope that sharing our story and the foundation of Autism: In Our Own Words provides the same support to others in the same situation.
If any of you who read here often have felt misled or confused at any time regarding payments/products that have been received please tell me, because transparency is important to me.