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Thursday, February 23, 2012

“Compensation” and “benefits” of blogging

By Linda Felaco

As is typical of blogs that cover controversial subjects, we get our share of comments here on Progressive Charlestown that are argumentative and combative. But yesterday, one came in over the transom—unsigned—that was laugh-out-loud funny. In case you missed it, I’ll quote it in full here:

You say this site is "independent." In order to validate such a claim, you should identify all sources of funds and all sources of contributions of resources, such as laptops, internet service. And you should also disclose whether the bloggers who write about Charlestown receive any form of compensation or benefits (Linda Felaco has identified herself as a freelance writer, so it's hard to believe she would be spending all that time going to certain meetings and writing about them and other comments for free). What are the names of the people who provide funding and other resources for the blog, and I'm not talking about the blog posts that you simply adopt from other sources?

Thanks, Anonymous, for making sure I got in my 18 minutes of belly laughing for the day to achieve optimal health. Heck, I'm laughing now just thinking about it. Because of course everybody knows only Google makes any money off of blogging. People blog for the sheer joy of seeing their name out there on the interwebs, and because you can do it in your pajamas.

I honestly don’t recall ever identifying myself as a “freelance writer,” though I suppose when I first started writing for the blog it would have been the simplest way to identify myself in relation to the blog. And anyway, everybody knows that even before the Great Recession, “freelance” was a euphemism for “unemployed.”

As for the amount of time I spend at meetings, I’ll grant you, it does feel an awful lot like a form of masochism. But you miss too much on Clerkbase. And of course it is a lot easier to attend when it doesn’t require a 3-hour round-trip drive down from Boston.

Besides, if it’s so “hard to believe” that I would “spend all that time going to certain meetings and writing about them and other comments for free,” what about Mike Chambers? He’s been attending all the Charter Revision Commission meetings—the minutes refer to him as “the member of our Public”—and writing voluminous postings on the CCA web site.

Leaving aside the rich irony of a person lurking in the shadows of anonymity demanding that we “name names,” I decided in the interests of disclosure, I’d make a list of all the “compensation” and “benefits” I’ve received for writing here at Progressive Charlestown:
  1. In order to induce me to begin writing for the blog, Tom and Suzanne Ferrio invited my husband and me to their lovely home for homemade pizza prepared in their own pizza oven. And let me tell you, it was some *really* good pizza, especially after having spent 16 years in the D.C. metro area eating the kitchen sponges that pass for pizza down there.
  2. Later in the summer, Tom and Suzanne were going to be traveling and gave me a bag of tomatillos from their garden that otherwise would’ve rotted on the vines while they were gone, along with some recipes for tomatillo salsa.
  3. Suzanne taught me how to make homemade pickles and gave me nine jars of them.
  4. In December, Will Collette treated me to a sushi lunch at Kabuki in Wakefield.
  5. Monday night, Will and Cathy treated me to a chicken sandwich and a martini at The Cove. Although come to think of it, it was two-for-one night, so maybe my sandwich was the free one and they only bought me the martini. Guess I’m a cheap date.
Whew, what a relief to have gotten that off my chest.