Ah exposure. It’s become a bit of a dirty term in the writing world at the moment, with numerous articles, social media posts and videos stating that working for it is a bad deal. So much so in fact that there’s even a Twitter account dedicated to nothing but call outs for companies offering work for exposure ‘deals’.
Yet despite all this, part of me thinks creators may be missing the point a bit here. Or at least, overlooking one factor about the whole ‘work for exposure’ gig.
And that’s that they already do it all the time.
Seriously. For as much as people love calling it out, they’re already working for exposure 24/7.
Namely, by using social media sites. Think about it for a minute. How much has Mark Zuckerberg paid you to use Facebook or promote your work there?
How much has Jack offered for your Twitter posts?
What about over on Instagram or Snapchat or Reddit? Again, no one’s paying for you to maintain profiles there or post content to your fans there. You’re just offering it all for free while some Silicon Valley ‘unicorn’ rakes in the cash from the nearby ads.
And for most part, even the sites that do let you make money aren’t much different. Oh sure, you can monetise your work on YouTube, but let’s face it. Does it really pay off for smaller creators?
Eh, not really. That’s why Patreon exists now. Then again, many people don’t monetise their work there at all.
Same goes for Medium too. For most users here, posting is done for ‘exposure’. Or social media marketing/SEO purposes if they’re running a business.
Exposure, exposure and more exposure.
Still, some people are probably gonna say it’s different because you’re posting of your own will. Or because you’re not forced to do anything for free.
But is that really the case? After all, over on YouTube there you need over 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of viewing time to get your videos monetised, among other things. So in essence, YouTube is basically forcing you to work for free to even be with a shot of making any cash.
Hmm, wonder how many people would sign up to that deal in real life? Probably very few.
Point is, you’ve already decided to work for exposure by putting your work on these platforms and social media services. You’ve already decided at a price point at which ‘exposure’ is worth it, at around 200 million users.
So before you go ranting about exposure and starving artists, maybe ask yourselves whether you truly aren’t working for exposure in some way or another. Or even whether those social media services you use so much are ripping you off worse than any of those BuzzFeeds or Huffington Posts the world is full off right now…