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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Hot dates and hot chicks


A freind of mine recently told me that I should monetize my blog. In other words, I should make my blog make money, all the while that I am doing nothing more than I am doing now, uploading photos, sitting at my desk and writing. I'm not sure thought - I think I have too much integrity to do that.

I once read a book awritten by a bicultural author, which was based on some kind of bicultural charcater who had a mental breakdown. When I pick titles to read, I don't base my choices on the author's biography as it feels too subjective. But once I read the book (which wasn't very well written - it was just an OK story for me), I looked up her biography on the web and read to my astonishment that she liked tostay at home in her pyjamas all day and write stories. She was a little too smug for my liking. I despise the western culture that conjures up the mistaken belief that you can make money being a writer without leaving your house and just 'writing'. These days, anyone can write something and publish it, even if it is bad. It just gives you a bad name as a writer - and tehre may be a hint of truth that some people don't know how to pick a good writer.

I did use GoogleAds in the past, but I was bitterly disapoointed. It took me two years to collect something like 10 euros on my account, and Google wouldn't pay (in those days anyway) until you collected 70 euros! Worse still, the ads that kept coming up on my screen were to the likes of 'hot chicks' and 'hot dates' (have you seen many recipes on my blog with dates and chicken??!). I felt degraded - and I asked myself: what do my readers think about this?

I don't believe for a moment that people are seriously interested in clicking the ads on my blog. Most of my readers are regular readers, so they are here to 'see' me. So if I were to monetize the blog, it would have to have a completely different focus. For my blog to make money, I'd need to change it in a major way. It would need a huge makeover, something I can't do on my own. I'm a rather busy person; apart from the daily routine chores, I also have a paying day job, I cook something from scratch almost every day (good thing I remembered the fasolada at this moment!), I take my young kids to their activities, and at the weekends, if I don't join my husband in the garden, I am often working on work-related reading and writing, even after work hours. The last thing I want to do is write only 'nice' things to make people happy, which do not reveal my true feelings; people come here to hear the views of a Greek person, they like to see what a Greek person is cooking, they want to see Greek scenery as it is the moment I snapped the photo, without photoshopping it. That's what they come on for, so that's what I give them. They don't come for the ads.

I sometimes wish that I could make money from my blog, but more than that, I wish I could write the kind of things I want to write and make money by doing that. But I lead a privileged life already and I don't think I will get that lucky too soon. By privileged, I mean that I don't have debts, I have a healthy family, I don't have psychological problems, and I am happy living in the place where I am living. Maybe my life is not luxurious, I know that, but most people I know don't have all four of the above-mentioned.

You can't make money if you don't project a certain image, and the right person working behind your blog to maintain that image. And I don't want to tarnish my image by using ads that degrade me. GoogleAds did just that. Serisouly, do people really click on 'hot dates' ads??? And more importantly, how did hot dates become synonymous with my blog?!

Maybe Google has matured since those days. Maybe things have changed. But one thing hasn't and that is that huge businesses use insignificant blogs like my own to make money for other people. This is my silent protest against those monsters: to run a blog on my own lines, without succumbing to advertising pressures and disclaimers. If I decide to monetize my blog, then I will have to accept that I will lose a part of myself. I won't be free to write what I want and I will be under greater scrutiny.

It is pertinent to quote the famous Cretan writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, writer of Zorba the Greek:
Δεν ελπίζω τίποτα. Δε φοβούμαι τίποτα. Είμαι λεύτερος.
I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.

I am not as free as the quote suggests, as I have undertaken obligaitons and responsibilities, as a wife, mother and worker. But as I am now, I am my own person as much as I can be.

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