My intent is to present and critique my findings regarding my nascent career as an Associated Content producer. I will highlight my discovery of the Associated Content Group, present the key challenges facing beginners, and outline particular scenarios speculation upon the future developments of this site.
I discovered Associated Content upon executing a Google search for ‘freelance writing.’ Indeed, I had been interested in the freelance sector as a means to earn extra income in exchange for work that was already my duty to perform as a financial adviser: research, analysis, and the presentation of timely commentary pertaining to all things economic.
I have arrived with a catalogue of extensive writings that I had previously submitted to my clientele via U.S. Mail delivery, electronic publication, and throughout the blogosphere. I reasoned that my collection of financial literature, combined with my expertise in the field would be well suited to transition into writing for pay.
I was directed to an article detailing the ins and outs of freelance writing upon this very same Associated Content web site. I then rationalized that I should begin posting work to this AC portal, gain critical experience, and build towards generating a ‘feel’ for constructing popular literature, prior to drafting hundreds of query letters addressed to disinterested publications.
I immediately signed up and began to submit previously written articles. Delist General Motors from the Dow 30, Unconventional Financial Plan: Marrying into Money, and Alcoa: Dead Money Personified represent my earliest published material. A special $10 offer was awarded to new content producers that were to publish five articles by the end of the month. Although the AC editor’s review of my transcripts appeared to dawdle along in slow motion, I was able to complete this small mission and earn the $10.
Tommie Sandlin and Marin David (David Reinstein LCSW) were the first to extend a warm welcome to myself at AC. Also, a few other CPs quickly commented upon my General Motors article. However, following this brief flurry of activity, I received little to no attention. My first twenty publications languished beneath the abyss of an e-bridge to nowhere: No comments.
Other than publishing, I lacked any real knowledge of the means to operate within this space. My original playbook: post quality content concerning subject matter in which I maintain a high level of expertise. Go away.
I am hopeful that onlookers will not deem my beginning days to be the machinations of an arrogant writer. I simply was unaware that articles could be rated, subscriptions managed, or that private messages could be sent. I persisted ignorantly, toiling along this ‘if you build it, they will come,’ path of Darkness.
I recall growing increasingly frustrated with the system. First, all of my works were mockingly rated as a subpar 3 out of 5. Secondly, I was absolutely bewildered by the dearth of positive movement regarding my page views. I would frantically return to my computer terminal and personal CP page only to be reminded, yet again, that I had captured zero readership. My page views had apparently stalled at 387 for an excruciating period of roughly five days.
Silly me. I recently realized that content views are not calculated in real time!
As is typical of serendipity, for reasons unbeknownst to myself – I stumbled upon some random article and commented upon the work. I was at 573 views at the time, and then began to cruise the Associated Content site regularly, performing random searches, exploring the work of fellow producers, and commenting serially. Thankfully, my furious commenting paralleled an ‘explosion’ of readership and my page views were to surge upwards to 1287 by the next period.
I recognize that 1300 is a laughable amount to be mocked by a veteran. However, I would argue that the 1000 view threshold symbolizes Victory for the terribly inexperienced.
I began to take note of the screen names that appeared omnipresent: jcorn, samaira with the smiley faces, and 3lilangels. I analyzed the productivity of these individuals, recognizing that Corn and Angels operated within the very attainable sweet spot of six figure page views. The strategy: publish one to three articles per day, while posting comments religiously.
I must also recall the nameless, faceless content producers that were to constantly taunt my plebian existence with their mind numbing 1-5 million page views.
Who were these people?
I imagined frenzied, obsessive compulsive posters shuffling about dimly lit back offices, chain smoking, hysterically refilling coffee mugs, and glaring into a computer monitor for eighteen hours straight. Every Day.
What is the meaning behind this?
Are these people well rounded? Could these writers be as committed to all facets of their lives as they are to Associated Content?
If so, we must all pay homage as first-hand witnesses to Greatness. Perhaps we are analyzing the works of fit, marathon running, empire building, parent of the year, employee of the month, mogul-juggernauts!
I have three hypotheses addressing the emergence of the AC Super Producer. One – intense addiction to Associated Content and no outside life; two – a highly motivated machine-like individual that exudes exceptional talent and success within all important phases of life; or three – a carrot-like conspiracy forged by Big Brother AC to manufacture some unattainable goal of 1,000,000 page views – fostering cult-like engagement.
But I digress.
I am a weak, poverty-stricken, bottom feeding, zero-clout rookie producer constructing unwieldy material that is far from the AC bread and butter. Calls for Content focus upon celebrity gossip, MySpace pages, recipes, and various domestic chores. This is material fit for a housewife or househusband, not that of a bachelor financial adviser.
I became drawn to Maria Roth’s transcript, Calls for Content which expressed the similar aforementioned sentiment and have followed her work ever since. I have been attracted to her brutal honesty that is an anomaly within a realm that is always supportive – yet not always truthful.
I cannot fault my fellow content producers for safe avoidance of rocking the boat. That is the nature of the beast. One: do not antagonize Big Brother Associated Content. Two: Do not ostracize yourself from the group, unwittingly establishing the fateful reputation of a degenerate hack and the open target for drive-by ratings downgrades.
Let it be known that I welcome criticism. I accept thoughtful critique as a vital element of any apprenticeship.
Additionally, 3lilAngels lovely and clear profile picture is remarkable in contrast to the legions of grainy photographs which present the eerie feel of a captured American forced to recite ransom demands from the depths of a Taliban hideaway.
As a skeptic, I am curious as to whether this image indeed represents the popular ‘Patti.’ Is ‘Patti’ really this radiant mother of three little angels? Or could ‘Patti’ be the creation of Anthony ‘Razor’ Montgomery, slick tollbooth operator collecting coinage at the Exit 13 off-ramp exit from the New Jersey Turnpike?
I have also taken note of Kim Linton, my polar opposite. I, a city-dwelling, black male, democrat, obsessed with money making – thoroughly enjoy the works of Mrs. Linton, a white woman from rural Indiana, whose material is dominated by conservative thought.
On paper, we could not be more different. However, in reality, Dr. Jamie Y. Marable’s interview proves that we are nearly one in the same. We are all united as artists, concerned with illuminating our respective corners of the Universe while bearing the grandiose Torch of our ideas.
Going forward, I will continue to post relevant subject matter upon areas with which I carry the adequate expertise. At this stage, I am not terribly concerned with earning money. I dutifully execute in good faith as a personal, self-actualization project for the Love of the Art.