When everything is free

Posted: July 28, 2009 in social media

When free is commonplace, it’s not special anymore.  It’s not sought after anymore.  It’s expected.

The web gives us a ton of information for free everyday.  Companies are doing free webinars to bait potential customers.  Right now, that information has value, because it’s still new.  So long as it’s still new, it’s not commonplace, and if we get it for free, it’s still special.  I see more and more folks thinking the ‘free information’ way.  I think we’re a ways off from the day where this is common practice, but I do believe we’ll get there one day.  We will find that place where free is expected.  People will have had it so long, and be so used to it, we won’t be able to take that away.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s yet another piece of the power shift from the company to the consumer.  Would any of the companies today be giving away any of their information if they could continue to make money without it?  Maybe – If they’re model isn’t driven by their bottom line.  So what motivates company to thrive and grow?  Many argue it will always be the bottom line.  I’ve seen a different belief system that says money is just a tool to accomplish a greater goal.  Acquiring money and wealth is a result of the true business driver – whether that be to create wellness, share knowledge, etc.  Is it even important?

It’s all in how we frame it.  Free may continue to be valuable to those who remember times when free was not the standard.  Revenue may be seen by some as the true indicator of success, to others it is a tool that helps them get where they want to go.  Giving something away can be seen as ludicrous sometimes, but what if the end goal is empowering others?  What will happen in a place where we expect everything to be free?  What kind of mindset will we fall into?  Will we expect free?  Will we appreciate the lack of expectation from the other end providing what is free?  For truly, if something is free, there aren’t any strings attached.  Or will free become something that makes us a little more jaded, a little more weary of what’s on the other end and what they hope to gain?

I’d like to think that we’ll be in a place to appreciate what is free.  The warm, sharing type attitude that still exists in most areas of social media, the connecting, sharing, empowering type energy that’s out there will thrive and we can all reach the goals we want to reach.  We can all win and be successful.  I’m afraid that with more people inundating the web every day, the little light of good we’ve been helping to spread will be harder to see again.  Everything that was free, will soon have strings attached.  Is the transparency of the web and social networks enough to keep that balance going?  Or will fear of saying or tweeting the wrong thing and some company on a power trip bring it all crashing down?

Are my idealistic dreams too idealistic?  Or do you think we can really keep this going?

  1. […] week, I was blogging about a day when everything is free.  No sooner had I pushed publish, then a tweet from @shel caught my eye pointing me to FREE.  […]

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