So you’ve decided to invest some time, effort, and budget into your business’s online presence.
You’ve heard that social media is the way to go. While social media can play a big part in your marketing strategy, you need to be careful of one thing…digital sharecropping.
It’s easy for any business to fall victim to digital sharecropping because there’s an alarmingly low amount of awareness about it. Native English content writers in the industry know all too much about this shortfall. In fact, we think it’s high time that everyone gets a better idea of what digital sharecropping is and how best to avoid it.
Here’s what our native English content writers think about digital sharecropping and some advice on what not to do.
What is Digital Sharecropping?
The term ‘digital sharecropping’ was first used by the author Nicholas Carr. He used it to describe a common occurrence on the Web 2.0 (today’s internet). Being one of the knowledgeable native English content writers in the industry, he said:
“One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.”
Simply put, the more content that’s put onto free platforms, the more valuable those platforms become. So, the more you add to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. the richer you’re making them. To make matters more unfair, once you publish that content on the platform, it no longer belongs to you, even if you’ve created it.
The reason it’s called digital sharecropping is that it draws parallels to a form of agriculture called sharecropping. With this system, those who farm the land don’t actually own it. Instead, they work the land that is owned by a larger entity and receive a small portion of the profits of their labour.
So, if you imagine that Facebook is the landowner, your business would be the farmer doing the actual work. You work the ‘land’, producing content that brings traffic and attention to the site. What our native English content writers hate most about this is that, even after the effort, your content no longer belongs to you once it’s online. And, yes, you may get some customer interest out of it, but you have little control of what happens to it once it’s on there.
How We Can Tell if You’re Guilty of Digital Sharecropping
Our team native English content writers will tell you to stay far away from digital sharecropping. But that’s easier said than done. How do you even know if that’s what you’re doing?
The horrible truth is that tons of businesses are victims of digital sharecropping without even knowing it. For those that use PR teams and media managers that aren’t native English content writers, this is a travesty. Their teams should know better. But, alas, when you make content for so many different platforms, it’s easy to lose track and forget about who actually owns that content. It’s easy to assume that it’s still yours.
Here are some questions that our team of native English content writers use to determine their level of digital sharecropping:
Is the content credited to me?
Am I able to control when, where, and how my content is displayed?
Can I say when my content is deleted, edited, or taken offline?
Can I download or archive my content from the site it’s on?
If the answer to the question above is “no”, then you’re probably digital sharecropping. Yikes.
What’s SO Bad About Digital Sharecropping Anyway?
Unless, like us, you’re one of the native English content writers that understand the ins and outs of digital sharecropping, you may not see the downside. Sure, your content brings in money for the social media site. And sure, you may not have control over the content once it’s posted. What’s the harm in all that? You’re still getting your name out there, right? While that may be true, it’s not always for the best.