Well the answer to this intelligible question is a YES and a NO. The attempt here is not to sound obtuse, rather to self question our identity in the world of 'digital puppetry'. Knowingly or unknowingly every Web user gets intertwined in this Augean Stables-styled roulette.
Digital sharecropping is fast emerging as a term of common parlance in cyber circles. Before taking this any further, let us get our basics right. What does the word mean!
Digital Sharecropping was coined by American writer Nicholas Carr to characterize a peculiar phenomena of Web 2.O. In his words it is
“the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few”
That sure has a prudishly Economic ring to it. While the idea is an accepted reality, it comes with its own baggage of use and abuse. To read the finer print, “T&C”, is what most of us miss out on.
Its not as if the industry is totally unaware of this monster in its backyard, yet follow a pacifist attitude towards it. Why?
Now visualize this just for a second. Its sure to give you some feudal jitters.
A landless peasant sweats it out day in and day out to produce an agricultural output. But who gets the maximum returns: the Landlord of course, who is an incognito entity in the production process. The peasant meekly settles for a livelihood.
The contemporary reality is not far from this.
Social media big guns like Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and so on function solely by providing webspace to customers to post and share content, free of cost. While they might be making million of bucks by using this data and earn a reputation as good business strategists, what happens to that faceless writer germinating such fantastic ideas!
Well, a lot follows actually, don't they say there are two sides to a coin. And here, it is all about cashing in the maximum bucks after all.
With the small businesses jumping head-on into the fray of social content, the accepted adage stands to be rethought seriously. To rise above the convenient lull is the need of the hour.
On the greener side of the fence, while these sites are a great promotion tool in the hands of any entrepreneur due to its free usability factor, to bank on them solely to build your business architecture is well, literally suicide!!
Without much ado, these sites playact as good hosts to present you to an audience that might be interested in what you are selling. Visibility is the catchword here. That's that!
Implicit in this narrative is that social media sites represent a paradox of modernity.
We are connected yet unconnected with the immediate world around us. Traditional forms of media - public and private, have fused into the quintessential SOCIAL MEDIA, as we know. It is more conversational, allowing professionals and ordinary folks to interact about products and concerns.
However, the promotional tangent is still an idea-in-the-making. Businesses have realized that more than marketing their product, creating a brand name through social networking is what holds the key for them.
To achieve real success, however strengthening your home base is what keeps you in the race in the long shot. Social Media sites have arbitrary control over the content that you share. What stands relevant in your perspective may not always gel with their commercial mindset.
Asset building should be centered on three aspects :
1. Quality content with relevant keywords for the SEO to index you higher.
2. A well-designed website with your own hosting account.
3. An opt-in email list, ideally with a high-quality auto-responder.
One simply cannot be a business tool for another, in other words quit being a sharecropper and try to be the owner of your own means of production. Develop your own business model, innovate, share and lead.
We wrap up this discussion with resounding questions for you to think over.
Is Digital Sharecropping a reflection of sound business acumen? Or is it a beau geste tool in the melee of marketing strategies?
Remember there are no right or wrong answers here. In a nutshell, it comes down to Mind over Matter. The road does not end here.
Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!