There’s a row going on and I’ve got stuck in !
It goes like this:
Would you pay for exclusive access to online expertise ?
Would you pay for exclusive online expertise from those who you thought espoused the philosophy of giving away free tips, in order to create trust, which is then rewarded down the line as goodwill builds and reputation increases ?
The people behind The Third Tribe are social media and blogging superheros like Chris Brogan and Darren Rowse from Problogger who have undoubtedly helped many, many people with their free advice.
As far as I can see it the Third Tribe is about monetizing their kudos. It’s a half way house between the marketing of old in which selling was of the hard variety and the philosophy which is at the heart of social media; sharing freely with an open group. This new set-up is a paid for online community, with exclusive access to movers and shakers.
I certainly don’t disagree with charging for expertise. Everyone offering a service has to make a living. I trained for a post-graduate diploma in journalism and then spent 15 years at the BBC learning the craft of communication. That is not knowledge which should be thrown away.
I work hard at blogging three times a week and read everything I can on the subject so I can help people who are going on the same trip. I want to be paid for that and no one would argue that so should the blogging ‘stars’ – they should obviously be commanding the top rates.
But sharing knowledge online, posting on forums and using Twitter to connect with really interesting people should not become an exclusive event. I don’t want to see the velvet ropes go up. If the top thinkers are at the private after-party aren’t we all just a little bit worse off ?
What do you think ?
(By the way, this is an important debate and I don’t think anyone, whatever position they choose to take should be labelled whinger or whiner. Just thinker.)