I recently received another request for information about blogging. It could have been e-learning, Web 2.0 or some other area, but a freelance writer found me online and asked for my input for an upcoming article. For the past several years I have given free advice and comments to anyone who asks. Here are two examples:
- A few months back I received a well-worded request for an interview from Joe Horne, as part of a graduate class project of his. I consented to the interview, at a time of my choosing, and we had a great discussion. Joe followed-up with a handwritten thank you card. I must say that Joe’s extra effort was really appreciated.
- This week I answered a series of questions that had been e-mailed to me by a freelance writer for a business magazine, without any previous contact. There was an additional request that I respond within two days. I answered the questions almost immediately and sent off my response. So far, not even a thank-you in return.
After four years in the free information business I wonder if I should have a policy on being a source. I have no hesitation in helping any bloggers who also make their information available. I also don’t mind helping researchers and students who are disseminating their findings. However, I’m starting to feel used in providing free (and synthesized) information or advice to someone who is being paid to collect it.
This issue has reminded me of a story that I previously reported, in Good manners are still important. It was about an uninvited “professional” dropping in on some bloggers and expecting to be treated as an equal, or even a celebrity. This uninvited guest assumed, incorrectly, that the corporate hierarchy prevailed.
In a wirearchy, your position means much less than your value to the network. For instance, everything on this site is free and licensed for sharing and all of the content is searchable. This adds a certain amount of value to the overall network.
A few years back, Netiquette was about “NOT ALL CAPS” and enhancing communications. Netiquette 2.0 should focus on sharing and enhancing the network, not just drawing from it.