While other high-profile bloggers can get free Ferrari laptops from Microsoft and then debate about the ethics of it, lowly 100-visitor-a-day blogs like mine get no such love. And so when I saw a post on Youth.sg dangling a chance to win a PSP in return for a blog post, I decided to jump, coz you’d never know if the planetary alignment today is favorable to good fortune, or if the gods are particularly choosing to bless you today. What’s the deal?
All you need to do is write a blog entry, in your own blog, on the theme “I Am @ Youth.SG”. You decide what “I Am @ Youth.SG” means to you, and you are free to interpret it any way you wish. Title the blog entry “I Am @ Youth.SG”, link it to us at www.youth.sg, and send an email to email@example.com to submit your entry.
So I thought – how difficult can it get – I mean, it’s just writing some random paragraphs on your own blog. But I realized that when incentives are thrown in, the balance tips. When I was just writing for my own curatorial sake, for leisure, and with no profit, there were no pressure on my back. It was really easy writing those entries day in and out, because I didn’t have to crank my head in my posts too much to make them a little funnier, or the comments that much wittier, because in a way, I did not have obligations to please anybody on this blog.
In this case however, I spent the last hour trying to think of something witty, something clever, maybe something that deserves publication and glorification – I started to wonder how the people on Best of Craigslist do it. Or even local Singaporean favorite bloggers like Mr. Brown who have gone pro in producing amusing podcasts and blogposts.
I came to realise that churning good reads on a daily basis is definitely not easy – and when your livelihood depends on it, as in the case of pro-bloggers, it is perhaps even more difficult because every step you take does affect the readership, and eventually the bottom line. (And to think I once, and at times actually still do, harbor aspirations of being a pro-blogger). Bloggers, podcasters, news media, even aggregators and portals like Digg, Reddit and of course Youth.sg definitely have to keep scratching their heads to engage and involve their communities, or they’d simply fade out of relevance.
Perhaps an analogy would be between a job interview and a chat with a buddy. With an incentive, the nature of the conversation changes. In this post, I am interviewing with Youth.SG (albeit a Youth.SG with a big PSP face – damn to me who can’t see beyond materialistic possessions – though I think I do get excused because I’m an industrial designer, so I’m supposed to be into gadgets and all!).
Anyway, Youth.sg is a Singapore-based portal with content and links catering to youths – I (sadly) discovered that I am probably at the upper spectrum of “youthfulness” given that I am not quite captivated by either Superstars or the latest teen idols featured on their front page. Kinda like the adult-proof ringtone – you know you’ve “arrived” when you’re deaf to these. But that’s just the old crummy me speaking – you may discover your cup of tea there!
For now, I’d just have to pray for an email to arrive in my inbox bearing good news.