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Riser's avatar

Will the non-productive use of the internet one day be productive?

Asked by Riser (3485points) March 30th, 2008

It’s 1:17 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. I still haven’t showered and I’m in martial arts bottoms and a thick robe. My fiance has started his day, occasionally checking in to see if I have made it past the bedroom door; I haven’t, thanks to Fluther.

I have a plethora (thank you three amigos) of work to complete, so why have Sunday’s accomplishments not yet surpassed refeshing my browser every five minutes? Survey says: Fluther.

Obviously I’m addicted to something that is non-productive, in that it doesn’t pay the bills but what if it did? Could it be that within the next ten years forums, blogs and their liknesses will be legitimate vocations?

Will I, one day, become a full time “jelly” receiving payment from (choose fictional name of magical entity)? Is this out of the realm of possibility because there is still a strong enough percentage of technologically illiterate people in conventional business?

What scenario would have to be implemented that could make this tangible? Is this becoming an evolution in human behavior and work ethic? Perhaps we can force our laziness into submission by adapting business around our weaknesses. That begs the question: If Fluthering was our job would we enjoy it as much or would our psyche begin to develop feelings of resentment because we suddenly “have to” Fluther?

Your thoughts?

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14 Answers

sharl's avatar

That’s fascinating post in its own right Riser, and deserves a “Great Question”. For my part I already know a number of people who’ve turned blogging into a paid activity, and systems like Amazon Mechanical Turk are extremely interesting (though the most interesting uses so far have been charitable IMO). For most though, there’s a less direct route to making this time worthwhile, and it involves treating it as a necessary ‘tending’ to the long-term health of our networks. In the same way we surely pay attention to the niceties of social interaction, though of themselves they don’t have a direct evolutionary or economic imperative.

Riser's avatar


Thank you for your contribution (*Dan clicks “great answer.”) but might I ask, in regards to your blogging friends, are they getting paid to respond to established blogs or is their money coming from advertisers of their own blogs?

Highest Regards,


kevbo's avatar

I don’t at all want to let the air out of your balloon, Riser, because I think this is a good question. If I had a dollar for every point…, for example.

It strikes me as funny, though, because if I remember correctly, you employ a virtual assistant, which is what I’d call a good portion of what we flutherers do on a regular basis. I guess the other two thirds would be “life coach” and “tutor.” I think it would be brilliant, though, if we could pick and choose our tasks based on our likes and dislikes and whether we were busy doing something else or not. Perhaps virtual assistant companies already have a way to trade tasks among assistants based on areas of expertise. Then, of course, there are sites like Your question also makes me think of work I did with a company that employed people to score the essay and short answer portions of standardized tests. They sit you in front of a computer and just the answer for the question you are scoring pops up on the screen. When you score one, the next response to the same question pops up, and so on. People are paid per score and you’re monitored for accuracy, so you can’t just click through mindlessly. It’s mind numbing work after awhile.

I think some blogs already function as vocations for some folks. is a good example, and they’ve already spun off their content into two books. Our biggest local blog, works more like a labor of love (as far as I can tell) with a team of regular contributors, a number of open community forums, and revenues that probably just cover expenses.

If it makes you feel better, it’s about 3:30 p.m. here, and I’ve managed to take a shower.

Riser's avatar


Yes I do have a virtual assistant who handles many mundane tasks for me like scheduling, phone calls, email, bills, meetings, flower delivery to my fiance’s work, research, politics, locating the cheapest place to get my car detailed, and the list continues…

The work he can’t do for me, web design, publishing and advertising, is delegated to the more educated staff of his firm and I am charged an additional fee.

Something I’m working on right now has to do with this question about where the future of business is headed. Personally, I love my career and do not desire to switch hats but the thought of business evolving to suit our laziness instead of force our laziness into submission, interests me.

Thank you for your contribution Kevbo, as always.

sharl's avatar

Riser, the people I’m thinking of fall into a couple of categories:

1. Paid to maintain blogs they’ve established. This might be sponsored by a company/organisation or maintained through public funds. It’s mostly for a set number of hours a week, and the projects might come to a natural end, morph into something else, or find alternative funding.

2. Guest bloggers paid to contribute to an established blog/project on a topic/period basis.

3. Employees who have a set proportion of their time allocated to the upkeep of organisational blogs. Again, this might be re-evaluated after a given time.

There’s so much to talk about here, it might usefully find a blog of its own. Does it already?

crackerjack's avatar

If you look at sites like myspace and facebook, they are types of blogs and forums and get paid to maintain them by either advertisements on their adds or sometimes contributions from users.

Yes, I do believe that in a few years it will increase in the number of people who get paid to blog. Look at fluther, imagine if the world realizes what a usefull tool this is, they would begin to pay people who seem to have very good and well-researched answers in order to help the community

scamp's avatar

I used to love grooming dogs. I did it for close to 20 years working for other people. I decided to go into business for myself, so I rigged a van with all the necessary equipment, took out an ad in the local paper, and hit the road. I even bought a magnetic sign that read Canine Care – A -Van. (I thought that was a real snazzy name) I was very happy for the first couple of years. But the calls kept coming, and I became overwhelmed with the load.

If I hadn’t been so young and dumb, I would have invested in a second van and hired a groomer. But I kept telling myself I was doing what I loved, so I just worked harder and longer. By the fifth year, I didn’t even want to look at a set of clippers again, so I shut down the business. Now it’s like pulling a tooth to get me to simply bathe my little dog, which only takes 10 minutes or so. I learned then that doing what you love for a living is important, but it sure takes the fun out of it.

I also enjoyed talking to friends on a message board, but once I was made an Admin, and had to be on the board alot, it wasn’t as much fun. so for me anyway the old adage of not mixing business with pleasure is a good one.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Does it need to be? If there’s one thing I’ve grown to love about living in Europe it’s been developing a healthy sense of under achievement. Do we constantly need to be doing things that are profitable in some way? Can’t we just have days where there are no obligations, nothing gets done, and we’re not looking at ourselves skeptically because of it?

Riser's avatar

Sorry DeezerQueue,

I’m an American and thus struggle with your concept of relaxed living. That isn’t spoken even with a tinge of offense intended, but rather vehement envy.

I was in Paris for about six weeks on a project awhile back. The people and general atmosphere forced me to relax. I hadn’t been as serene since so I understand what you’re saying, the problem is it isn’t about the individual and his choices, it’s about a society as a whole that permits a relaxed atmosphere like the one you described.

For example: In France a local told me he could easily take a month off from work to travel the world. If I did that in America I would return from my adventure a jobless and panicked man.

I do not consider myself a revolutionary, except perhaps in my writing. Therefore, I have no intention of trying to get my American society to evolve for the sake of my needs and desires (besides the whole marriage issue :D )

Thank you for your input, it makes me miss Europe all the more.

crackerjack's avatar

I am also an american and therefore have to agree with riser and say I cannot even imagine a world like that. I have never been to Europe so I can not even relate to a life like that. It sounds like a better life, because more relaxed people probably means happier which would more than likely turn to better productivity

DeezerQueue's avatar

In fact it generally leads to a decrease in quality here. I’m an American, by the way, I’ve been living in Europe for eight years. The relaxed people I meet aren’t happier, they just don’t feel guilty about not working when they’re not working.

A person doesn’t have to be “on” all the time.

crackerjack's avatar

Oh, ok I believe that it would make me happier, and usually I work better when teachers aren’t breathing down my kneck but instead allow me to work the problems at my pace. Shouldn’t have assumed that was how all people were I am sorry and thank you for the correction.

steelmarket's avatar

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon, I am feeling philosophical, my eyes take on a faraway look….. In the not too distant future, the net will become so much more than clicks and messages and blogs. It will be a sea of virtual experiences that we will swim in. Your job will become your hobby but your hobby may become a job. Your thoughts will be your keyboard but may not be your own. Your ideas will be precious but your sweat will become meaningless. Your dreams will become reality, but reality may only exist in your dreams.

kevbo's avatar

An article about how blog-topia ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yikes!

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