Young white women taking a selfie, from Racked.com

PopSugar Stole Influencers’ Instagrams — Along With Their Profits by Hilary George-Parkin (Racked)
The lifestyle website stripped bloggers’ affiliate links from their posts and added the site’s own.

This has me thinking about the dangers of algorithms and the role of social media silos in the blogging economy. I have been watching hobby blogs become businesses for about 15 years. Affiliate links have always been one of the top ways to monetize a blog or website, but I think social media has changed how that traffic moves. (I haven’t paid as close attention to this sphere in the past 5 years or so but I’m sort of always a little bit aware of it.)

I’m thinking about the relationship between this phenomenon and the IndieWeb, of course. The thing is that all of the bloggers quoted in the article have their own domain names and seem to run their own independent blogs, but clearly get a lot of traffic from Instagram. Publishing on your own site and syndicating on Instagram wouldn’t protect you from this kind of content scraping. The way this affiliate economy seems to work, telling these creators to just wean themselves off Instagram seems like telling them to stop having their primary source of income.

If I were in a position to give them advice (as, say, a librarian whose job it is to advise young people on smart practices for information creation and dissemination), I’m not sure what advice I’d give them.

This has illuminated for me several issues I want to research/revisit, though:

  • The current state of affiliate marketing
  • The difference between a blogger and an influencer
  • The relationship between an influencer’s blog and social media presence (Is their content being syndicated or do they publish different things in each venue?)

My friend who is a fifth grade teacher told me that all her students are already YouTubers and expect to monetize their content and support themselves full-time. Once of the bloggers quoted in this Racked article, Nita of Next with Nita, finished law school and then moved to LA “to pursue [her] dream as an influencer.” (She has over 210,000 Instagram followers. I can’t imagine telling her to just quit Instagram would be good advice.)

Those jobs that didn’t exist yet that those of us who were teaching 10 or 15 years ago were preparing kids for? Influencer is one of them. YouTuber is one of them. Educators and technologists need to think about how to talk to youth about their creations, how they are monetized, and who gets to monetize them.

Songs by Librarians for Librarians - ALSC Blog by Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee (ALSC Blog)
In January 2018, the New York Public Library (NYPL) released their first-ever album of original children’s music, NYPL Sings!

I love this! I have long dreamed of being a children’s entertainer and I love the idea of librarians writing songs for other librarians and parents to listen to with kids. M. and I will be listening to this today!

When my mind is sharp, I work on my comprehensive exams. When it’s fuzzy but not dull, I work on IndieWeb stuff. When it’s dull, I work on my podcast. When my body has energy, I tidy. When I’m ready to trade outputs for inputs, I listen to podcasts. In any given moment, I check in with myself and let how I feel guide my next action.

Jenny Lawson is Very Fond of Creepy Smiling Dead Animals and Worries Quite a Bit from The Hilarious World of Depression
She’s the author of bestselling books and an incredibly popular blog, but Jenny Lawson showed up to our interview wondering, at least a little, if her appearance on this show and her whole career, really, was part of some delusion. It’s not. She’s the real thing: an incredibly funny and honest writer with a legion of fans, a very old decapitated and stuffed boar’s head named James Garfield, anxiety, depression, and a clear-eyed view of the world.

I’ve always enjoyed The Bloggess when she came across my radar (And that’s why you should learn to pick your battles is a particular favorite). For some reason, though, I’ve always resisted becoming fully obsessed with her. Maybe because she’s popular and I’m inappropriately contrarian? Well, no more. After listening to her episode of THWoD I’ve decided we should be BFFs, and you obviously can’t befriend someone without reading their books and blog, so off I go…