As a freelance writer, I spend a fair amount of time perusing Writing Gigs on craigslist.org and various other web sites, where there are always a lot of people trying to get something for nothing. Depending on my mood–and current workload–my response to these would-be slave drivers ranges from highly amused to moderately annoyed. The more ridiculous the request for free labor, the more likely another freelancer will write a post that: (a) blasts the original poster and (b) appeals to freelance virgins not to “give it away.”
If you own a pickup truck, at some point, somebody is going to ask you to help him move in exchange for beer, and, chances are, he plans to drink the beer while he watches you move his stuff.
People will try to get you to part with your creative talents for far less, because they know that you might say yes. And you might; only you can judge whether you are prostituting yourself or filling up your goodwill account.
Worse than those seeking something for nothing are those who pay people to write term papers, either for themselves or for resale. Frankly, it amazes me that students even consider such plagiarism in the age of Google-savvy teachers. I just hope that poetic justice will reign in the end.
Tonight I came across something that struck me like the give-it-away posts strike those who rally against them. shorttask.com sounded like a neat way to find quick gigs. I was dubious that a “beta” site would really have 66,566 tasks available, but I signed up to check it out. Clicking on the task “Provide Comments on a WordPress Blog” brought me to this:
In a word: Ick.
It was the parenthetical suggestion that the Name and/or email address “could be made up” that prompted me to write this post. Click here to see how following these folks on Twitter can land you three cents.
Further inquiries suggested that any buzz about job-search sites employmentcrossing.com, sellingcrossing.com, marketingcrossing.com (and probably ANYTHINGcrossing.com) is as worthless as those “10,000 new followers” promised by Twitter-spammers.
Waking up famous–being excellent–brings its own reward. The people who follow you because you have added value to their lives are worth something; you have a reciprocal relationship. Nobody respects the kid who says, “I’ll give you a dollar if you’ll be my friend.” Nobody respects the kid who takes the dollar, either.
I’d love to hear your comments. Of course, if you’re short on time and have an extra dime, you might find somebody on shorttask.com to write them for you.