Are We Done With Free Yet?



are we done with free Free is synonymous with social media. Give first and then receive pay later, once you have proven you are worthy of being paid. It is the job interview that seems to never end. You have a website, a blog, an active Twitter account, a Facebook and are answering all questions on LinkedIn that garners you attention but it pays zero. It is the necessary evil steps that for small business helps and define themselves within a niche. Sometimes it feels like social media with the freemium structure is a hyperbole of fiction.

Social Media as a Hyperbole of Fiction

That statement in and of itself is an exaggeration of something that seems so outrageous as social media is not fiction until we step away and look at the blood, sweat and tears that is put into creating something that is not increasing the bank account. Sure, there are those that are laughing at me right now saying “Girl, I give nothin’ away for free and am making big money in social media and so you just channel your energy to your METS and you will do fine.”  That may be true but not many of them are reading this so let’s continue.

Is social media really a hyperbole of fiction to the extent that a profitable business model has been built around this medium? When it is said that way, it does seem a bit of a stretch that it is not. FREE FREE FREE is what social media boasts or has boasted. It was new but so was tv advertising back then as were billboards, newspapers, flyers, etc. All of them were not free so why is social media? Is social media really just coffee talk where we sit around and talk and give ideas that they can use but never pull the trigger and sign on the dotted line? If so, then it can be a hyperbole of fiction insofar as being a medium that cannot really be largely profitable .

Getting In Your Pants

Getting in your pants most think of the literal sense of getting in there and engendering some sort of sexual relations but there is more in your pants than those goods. Those frontal goods are not as protected as the back goods. The back goods being your wallet (ok for women it is the purse which is a side good but that is still more unprotected than the frontal goods). As some may gaffe and think that there is no way that the frontal goods are given up before the back good but, think of this: you are allowing people to get into your pants every single time you post great advice or allow your “brain to be picked” at that lunch, coffee or casual conversation. We let the back goods hang out and let people come and grab and grope as it will lead to business. But really, the frontal goods are more protected, right? With me now?

Are We Done With Free Yet?

Free in social media is listening, communicating, engaging, creating to listen more, communicate and engage. This is not to say that this is bad because it is not as there have been incredible relationships built due to social media that never would have been. That is a small part. Let’s go to the bigger part where FREE is synonymous with social media. There was incredible outrage when Chris Brogan was charging for blog topics. Um … wow. He is a business man and saw where no on else was fulfilling the need of giving hard topics to write about. Many have given advice (as have I) on how to write, what to write but never satisfied the biggest part of the topic/headline itself. Imagine someone sheltering and protecting the back goods?!

Funny part is that the outrage led to a ton of free press for Chris (the “how could he” posts led to more interest and bring more people to sign on), it showed that FREE is not the model is not always supported. It birthed something bigger: credible social media educational courses that instead of being free webinars that gave some, more and just not enough into where charging was giving the “more” that we have yearned for. It was not overwhelmingly accepted and those that were paying have been chastised and driven to not being socially accepted through trying to provoke the shame of not being able to write from your own mind into patching the potholes that created this hyperbole of fiction of freemium in social media.

Are WE Willing to Pay?

We are the social media folks and we know what we are doing so why are we going to pay? We probably are not unless we can get something out of it and let’s face it  … it is not advice. We want to know that they are doing as if it can helps us to better us and we can monetize that then we are contributing to the community. We like free but, yet, we want them to charge to see who is paying as it is not US paying or taking the leap. It is them, the clients that need help with social media. We are almost the elite as it took what, 24 hours for the Google+ invites to be the wanted? Same way that we feel that we should get the FREE but yet not want to give the FREE; as if they do, we have to. Contributing to the FREE.

Industry Of Free

Is social media the only industry that is free? Advertising is not free, marketing, well maybe but there is NO OTHER INDUSTRY THAT IS FREE. Yes I am saying that quite loudly. Everywhere you go you have to get into your pants and pull out the wallet and spend money. Food, drink, shelter, are all not free but yet social media advice is free. Nothing that we have ever seen is as free as social media. The platforms are free, the tools to manage are free (to an extent), but, as the internet suppliers laugh, we pay for the presence but yet try and prove ourselves regularly to try and become the one that can charge. I am not on an rant but a journey into why we are allowing the back of our wallets to be so exposed. It is necessary to garner the means of trust as if people trust what you are saying they will pay. Hmh. I trust Diet Pepsi and they never gave me free soda. Over 25 years in the making I have never had a rep from Diet Pepsi pull up the semi and drop off anything to me. So why in social media do we have to prove ourselves to make money?

Maybe sometimes in certain contexts social media is a hyperbole of fiction when it comes to a profitable business model?

photo credit: IrishFireside

  • Ben Lemery

    I forgot why you are one of the authorities in social media until I read this article.  This is a problem not only in social media but also conferences.  I personally have struggled on how to set the price for events that young adults or college students would attend.  If I made it free, would more attend?  How would I balance the book with the lost fees from the conference?  Etc.  People seem to feel entitled to free information. 

    This topic can spread across the board to so many present situations and it would be interesting to see how others are dealing with this in their spheres of activity.  Great stuff Suzanne and thanks for making it available for free.  😉

    • Ben

      You totally made my day yesterday and also today with your incredibly kind comment. I have not all that much experience with conferences but could see how it would roll over. The entitled to free was created within social media. It was new so to get people to jump in and then it just exploded with free. On one side, why should you pay if you are able to dig deep and find it for free? There is more advice on how to than there is if there is success in the how to.

      How do we change it? If we say everyone will go and add a shopping cart to all their products/ebooks, etc we know not everyone will do it. There is no real answer however I would kee charging for the confences. Even if it is 2 paying, it is better than 200 free.

  • Nice post!  I think that FREE elements will always be needed to entice people in.  Once hooked, it is then that you need to be cleaver to earn money from them.  But, as I say, it is the hooking that is the most important and often the hardest to do.

    • Matt

      I agree that they are there to entice however, I cannot stop seeing social media s a platform of free. We have become accustomed to the free ebooks that when we see a paid one, we run and go and find something free that we believe will be the equivalent.

      There is money to be made. However, the market is becoming over saturated and the smaller companies are learning that they can DIY or bring in someone that has some experience in social but are forgetting about the marketing part. Marketing experience is, I believe, essential in social media. That is where the money is and while we are having to entice with free, and are giving away tips, ideas, etc we are still not moving towards the crux of what social media is – marketing which encompasses advertising. Advertising is not free. We are trying to teach marketing is a how this platform works sort of way.

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