Hey social media types!
Gotta question for everyone here, and I’d like to hear what your opinions are:
I’ve been invited to a number of events and forums for the express purpose of live tweeting/providing online coverage for these events.
Some of these events are invitation only, some are paid events and some are public events.
At a number of these events, the presenters, organizers and staff working the event are being paid while I’ve been asked to volunteer my time, because after all, it’s suchgoodexposure.
If the event is something I am personally interested in and was planning on attending, regardless, I have no problem lending a hand and helping out. A number of events that I have live tweeted have trended both nationally in Canada and internationally due to the engagement and open conversation I was able to have with participants both in person and online.
However my conundrum is when I’ve been asked to attend an event I was not planning on attending (due to cost, time involved or lack of interest) and essentially work as an agent of promotion for free. If I’m not attending due to cost, I’d happily accept free admission in return for my time energy and support. However if I’m being asked to an event I am not attending due to scheduling conflicts or lack of interest, that is another matter.
Apparently being invited to do this by the event organizers should be payment enough. However when everyone else working this event is getting paid, I do take exception to this.
I’ve taken this question to twitter and engaged fellow social media types and have received the following general responses:
- Getting another business to sponsor me.
- Match sponsorship opportunities to event topics and keep offers available for a limited time after the event (in other words, asking a business to sponsor me)
- Bill as for a print review of the event (as a journalist – which I am certainly not – I’m simply an asshole with a big mouth and an active online presence) or bill for my time.
- Accept that being invited to an event that people are paying to attend is an honour and enjoy the exposure. (This was the most overwhelming response to my queries online)
Let’s take these in reverse order:
- Being invited to an event to publicize it online is all well and good. However if I had no intention of going in the first place as it is something I am either not interested or engaged in, how is my attendance going to be of benefit to me? It would be different if I was planning on going and had paid – having my attendance comped/refunded in exchange for whatever I can do to get people engaged on social media would be nice. But if I was not planning on attending, how is getting in in the first place of benefit for me when I’m expending my time and energy? Plus, let’s be realistic in my country of Canada, one can die from exposure
- Billing for as for a print review of the event (as a journalist) and/or billing for my time is all well and good, but at rates? I’m not privy to what more traditional journalists are getting, how should I value my time if I bill hourly? This is particularly what I was asking about, however none of the folks who replied to me were able to quantify what the services were worth. Do I get paid per tweet? Do I get a bonus if the event trends?
- The last two essentially end up as “get someone to sponsor me.” Ummm, if the organizers of the event are asking me to do this – shouldn’t they be the ones sponsoring me? Why should I have to run around finding someone to pay for my time, especially when I am uncomfortable in what seems like whoring myself for money. When I did endorse a musical instrument manufacturer, if they wanted me to attend an event – they essentially paid for me to attend the event – transportation, admission fees and branded clothing to wear in exchange for my time and energy in their booth, answering question. As they had asked me to attend, they did not leave it up to me to find someone else to sponsor me to attend…just saying.
However I’ve found this quite prevalent in social media fields. People going (or wanting to attend) conferences, essentially selling themselves for “sponsorships” and I’m not the only one who has noted this:
Sorry folks, I like to maintain my respectability, credibility and objectivity. I am not going to beg someone for sponsorship to an event, especially if I wasn’t planning on attending it in the first place! If an event organizer wants me to attend their event to publicize it, they are going to have to explain to me how I will benefit by this – beyond “think of all the exposure you’ll get!” Ummm you’ve invited me, so I can give your event exposure…just sayin’.
My question to the field was how to monetize this – do I bill per tweet, per event, an hourly rate, ask for a bonus if it trends, etc. My opinion on being requested to live tweet/online moderate for events is that if other event workers are being paid, so should I.
The question is how?