Uncategorized · Writing Stuff

Don’t Be Vocal – Read the Fine Print

close up of eyeglasses
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m a mercenary. I want to be paid to do things, and I’ll do a number of things to get paid.

One of the things I do is write content for various online sites. A lot of them are kind of wonky in how you get paid – page views, sales through Amazon affiliate links, all that kind of good stuff.

I thought I might add to my current sites, so I wandered around the interwebs, and I came across “Vocal.”

Interesting place, I thought. There seem to be a lot of users and a lot of user generated content. It seems to be good content, too. Stuff that will draw in readers.

Maybe I should sign up!

But then…I did what you should do. I read the fine print.

Terms of Use:
“You retain ownership of the intellectual property rights in your User Content, subject to the license you grant to the Company below and elsewhere in these Terms of Service.

By transmitting User Content on or through the Services, you grant the Company a nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid, assignable, transferable, sublicensable license to use, reproduce, store, modify, edit (e.g., fixing typos, making editorial changes), truncate, aggregate, display, perform, distribute, prepare derivative works based on, and transmit such User Content, in any medium that now exists or may arise in the future, and otherwise exploit your User Content (including, but not limited to, use of your name in association with your User Content to identify you as the “Creator”) in connection with the Services and the Company’s (and our successors’ and assigns’) businesses, including after your termination of your account or the Services, and you waive any and all moral rights and publicity rights in such User Content. You represent that you have all of the necessary rights to grant this license to the Company for all of your User Content, and that such license is granted without infringement or violation of any third party rights, including without limitation, any privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademarks, contract rights, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights. You agree that this license includes the right for other users of the Services to access and use your User Content, subject to our terms and conditions regarding such use and the right for the Company to allow its third party business partners (including social media services) to use your User Content and that this license has no restriction as to the medium, dissemination method, type of services the Company or its business partners may offer, or the type of systems or products that may be used in conjunction with your User Content.”

What does that mean?

You might “own” your content, but they can do whatever they feel like with it forever and ever, amen.

Well, at least they pay me, right?

How to Earn Money:

“You may be paid for user engagement with certain User Content that you submit to the Site. The Company determines amounts payable to users derived from User Content based on proprietary algorithms developed by the Company and subject to change in the Company’s sole discretion, without notice to the User. Generally, the algorithms measure and assign weight to such user engagement metrics as popularity of the content with visitors as measured by number of unique visitors; visitors’ interaction with the content; amount of time spent by visitors on the page; and shares on social media. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Company reserves the right to modify its algorithm at any time, which may result in decreased revenue to users for similar content, and to suspend monetization program altogether.”

So, let’s review, shall we?

You own your work, but they can use it as much as they want, however they want, in perpetuity, and you have no say over any of it.

That sounds fair.

And you get paid, but they figure out how much they pay you, unless they decide to stop paying you, and they can’t actually tell you exactly how they figure out how much they pay you.

Another totally fair aspect of writing for them.

Now, maybe I’m being harsh, and maybe you think that you’re digging this place and going to write for them.

Clearly, this one is not right for me: I don’t want people to use my stuff ad infinitum without having to pay me or get my approval to change and use, and I really don’t want them to stop paying me just because they don’t want to pay me.

But if you like them? Cool.

I will never tell someone that they should only write for money or that they should only write for free. As a writer, it is up to you to decide what you want for what you do. You have your reasons, and I’ll stay in my lane and let you make your own decisions.

But. Please. Read. The. Fine. Print.

Uncategorized

Stop. Calling. The. Police. Just. Because. Someone. Is. Black.

auto automobile blur buildings
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my neighbors, black, had an uncle come to visit to ensure that his nephew, who had gotten out of jail for stealing stuff, didn’t get in trouble again or start getting his brother in trouble.

One of my neighbors, white, murdered his wife and hid her body in the garage for at least a month.

Theft: not cool.

Murder: oh my god that is so beyond no cool and goes straight into burning in hell.

If you need to call the police on someone, maybe you need to be looking for a lighter skin tone. 

Uncategorized

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself *

close up photography of two starbucks disposable cups
“…so far away from me…”
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

*I actually wanted to name this blog “Rethink before you act like a bitch,” but that doesn’t rhyme or sound half as familiar or attractive as a blog title, amiright?

So no shit, there I was, standing in line at the Starbucks in the Target, mostly because I was too lazy to drive to the real Starbucks, and the line was insanely long. For some reason frappuccinos were on some random promotion, and everyone was buying them as if they were stocking their Trump-pocalypse bomb shelters.

It didn’t help that there was only a single barista. She rang up the order of the current customer, went off and made the drink, then came back and repeated the process. One person making half a dozen frappuccinos takes about as long as most people would expect it to. How long is that? Too long.

The group of three people in front of me were muttering, shooting daggers at the barista with their eyes, which she couldn’t see because she was busy running as many blenders as she could. I couldn’t help but think that she felt it, though. Even if she couldn’t, she probably at least knew that people in the line were pissed. Shuffling, grumbling, tapping on their carts. Not hard to figure out that people were getting pissed at her.

I was one of those people.

Frustrated. Caffeine deprived. Super bitchy.

I got to the front of the line.

A Regina George moment was coming on.

I took a deep breath…and I said, “Wow, did they seriously just leave you alone to deal with this line? That sucks.”

She explained that the other barista was on lunch, it hadn’t been that busy, and now she was swamped.

I smiled, asked for my drink, thanked her, and moved on.

I didn’t do it because of the old, stupid “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That’s bullshit.

You shouldn’t need a reason to be kind.

You shouldn’t have to imagine that a person is fighting a battle. They could be having the very best day of their life.

You should still be kind.

Even if you have been waiting for more than ten minutes for coffee.