Jason Tryfon, a swell guy and app developer, writes on his blog about Entitlement and questions whether or not Social Media is furthering this mentality. You can read his full post here: The Culture of Entitlement, Is It Forming Thanks to Social Media Sites?
The sense of entitlement isn’t just confined to the Internet and Social Media. More over, especially American society, has gained a perspective of it is for me, my benefit and you need to make sure you do what ever it takes to make sure I stay happy. To the point that legal action gets taken, smearing across several avenues takes place, and generally ill will and the perception that it is okay to do whatever it takes to cause any type of harm because something did not work out as planned.
Far too often I think people feel that they have ownership in these services, products, companies, and even other people. That somehow by providing content, value, or time they have a vested “ownership” that is merited a return on investment. As the original article points out, most of the sites and services that are being questioned in creating a Culture of Entitlement are free and/or “freemium” services. In other words there generally is no cost, save with some advertising being shown.
That brings me to another point that was discussed in the comments over on Jason’s site. Fullbirdmusic states if people spend all this time creating content on these sites, putting time and sweat equity, there should be some form of return. Randy stats that members on these are not just membership numbers in a database, but are partners in these networks or apps. Which stands to reason – put something, get something out. Is that true of life in general?
If we voluntarily use a service, without paying for it save viewing some advertisements and the time we “opt” to put into it, should we have any expectations of return on it? When we go to work for the day, we expect that we will give an honest days work for an honest days pay. When we volunteer in our community, we expect that we will see betterment of that community. When we create content on a service or site of someone else, is it reasonable that we “expect” a return from that, even when they are providing us, the user, with the tools for free or next to free? Are we entitled to expect anything from a free tool when there are plenty of alternatives in any variety of locations, contexts to which we could still publish and push our content?
I used to always take advantage of the $4.95/month hosting specials. Hey, you got a free domain name, they setup all the DNS, MX mail records and everything. They even gave you a control panel so you could control any aspect of your account, your site, your email your everything online. Yet, frequently in the early years of doing web development I constantly found myself persuing open source scripts to speed up development time and to learn from and unfortunately many times this allowed me to find limitations on the hosting provider. Maybe I needed shell access, or root access. Maybe I needed a special Apache configuration. On these shared hosts, it just was not feasible. My solution? Instead of expecting them to fix my problem to better my return, I created my own solution and since 2004 have owned and operated my own web, email, dns and database servers. Sure I could have purchased a dedicated server from the same hosting company – well leased it – but now I own the hardware and pay for a certain amount of bandwidth and IP address, to which monetary value is exchanged for a certain guarantee of service.
So if you are not getting the expected return from what ever tool you are using, maybe it’s time to find a new tool, make your own tool or change what you are doing. Quite simply, you are getting a return – you are getting a free tool to use, free search traffic, free analytics, advertisement supported applications, services and more. If there are issues with any of these services, to which you are not paying for a dedicated service level, use a different one, make your own or stop all together.