I am writing this aboard an aircraft thirty odd thousand feet above the atlantic, halfway to New York on a ticket bought for me by Seesmic.com
After podcasting for over two years and blogging for nearly 6, it looks like the subject of money is creeping into more and more of my online conversations.
And why not?
Recently I have found an increasing amount of my working life is being taken over by the two activities I had thought of only as passing interests or hobbies.
In January of this year I found myself sponsored by the United Nations to go to Jordan to photograph the plight of Iraqi Refugees fleeing the war in Iraq. I now see this trip as a turning point in my working life as up until then I had operated primarily as a photographer. With the assistance of people I had networked with online like Bill Cammack this project crossed over into new media on many social levels. It was compiled, edited, uploaded, to then be viewed online, downloaded, blogged and, podcasted about, all in the space of a few weeks.
I was no longer thinking solely about taking photos to deliver on a CD. My hobbies had suddenly become combined with my trade. Two months later I was being sponsored along with Phil Campbell to visit South By South West (SXSW) in Texas to produce video content for Pulver.tv. Once again I had to take a step back and think about my job title and where I needed to focus.
Although I am yet to make any real profit out of social/new media, I feel that day is not too far away as more and more often I am approached by people who are taking an interest in me and my skills as a content creator.
I feel I am standing hesitantly at a crossroads looking at a few different options, a few different directions, a little uncertain as to which way to head.
Can my integrity be kept intact as I rent my opinions and time out to the highest bidder?
As I write this I am thinking that perhaps my fears are unfounded.. If i eventually do start to get paid to talk about something, surely it’s fine as long as I am honest whist doing it. Honest, but tactful with it.
Transparency seems to be the key. It seems to be the magical ingredient that social media has over all other forms of media.
I am not saying you have to expose everything to everyone, warts and all. You can still keep personal stuff personal and still be professional.
Maintain your transparency and you maintain your integrity, this is the key.
Right now I am heading to Podcamp NYC with the loan of a Macbook Air and a plane ticket courtesy of Seesmic. I have been using Seesmic’s video conversation site since just after they started pre-alpha testing in 2007.
I approached Seesmic and asked if they had anyone going. Vin Vin said no, but he’d be happy to send me over if i Seesmic’ed what was going on.
“Anything else?” i asked.
“No, just be yourself and cover what you want.” He said.
Fantastic. That’s the best brief ever. I really appreciate their support in helping me get out to New York for this conference.
During SXSW Phil Campbell and myself spent a good few nights within Seesmic’s hospitality batting around ideas and chatting about this brave newmedia world.
There are so many new and amazing people arriving everyday into my social media circle but it’s the original contacts I made in the first few months on Seesmic and Twitter that I really want to hang onto.. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but perhaps it is more like a hope that these inspirational few survive to ‘cross the chasm‘ that Seesmic is on the edge of and the ‘early adopters’ can make it to the other side and continue the video conversation.
Reading this back, i think that Bloody Mary’s and Gin and Tonics at altitude have a tendency to make a blog post meander. Sat across the isle is Ali Bongo the famous Magician*. Sat intoxicated beside and behind me are two returning Iraq war vets, one with three purple hearts.
This is proving to be an interesting flight. I can’t wait for the next few days.
*Ali Bongo (in the feature photos) was a magician that played a big part in my childhood. He seemed to be always on TV and was one of the main reasons I spent a large part of my younger years playing with magic tricks. I thought he had died years ago. It was so nice to meet him today (aged 79) and hear stories about his long and magical life.