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Dilemmas of a content marketing freelancer: My morning as a Luddite

February 16, 2011

No one ever said being a content marketing freelancer was all cake and sunshine. As I sit here looking at the one blinking eye on my wireless internet modem after a trying week of having my old laptop decide it is a lavalamp before its motor finally stopping and crossing over on the new laptop to Windows 7, arguably the worst release in the history of operating systems for “known problems” and “software conflicts”, I am acutely aware of just how much my business is at the mercy of technology.

Marketing without the internet feels like I have turned into a luddite. 

But this is not just because the tools of my trade in computer and internet are causing consternation. Beyond the frustration of having to troubleshoot my way through a seemingly endless parade of glitches, problems, patches and downloads through the new computer and operating system, by far the biggest impact is felt through my current lack of internet and just how completely disconnected from the outside world I feel.

I am the epitome of routine around starting the day on both a personal and professional level. Working for myself, mornings begin with the alarm, followed by the laptop being started and then a show. Outlook downloads as I go to the local coffee shop or to the kitchen to get my daily caffeine injection. I check off the TO DO LIST I wrote the night before against any new emails before launching into Facebook and Twitter for the first pieces of morning titillation before answering emails and beginning work in earnest.

A lost content marketing freelancer

Because it is just myself and Gibson the faithful Labrador, or even just myself, social networking, the internet news portals, articles thrown up by internet contacts and my own research and study to meet my clients requirements all require the internet. It helps me feel connected, do my job and stay in touch with everyone I work and socialise with. Today without it, things feel very different indeed.

This is my replacement cigarette, my pretend human co-worker. This is my research library, my client courier service. It is an alternative to face-to-face meetings and my secretary in one. I find myself looking at the modem in hope it’s one blinking bung eye will finally focus and let me back into paradise. When it doesn’t, I hear “a watched pot never boils” playing in my head so I turn my neck to one side to make sure I don’t look at it accidentally.

What’s a girl to do?

I toy with the idea of going for a walk in the hope of giving the modem some time alone to sort itself out only to chastise myself for trying to make bargains with a non-sentient electronic device. I am angry at the appearance of the brighter, unfamiliar yellow light at the end of the modem which heralds my current problems. I reset, restart and regurgitate my mental bargains with my technology. Finally I unplug it because I can take no more of its apparent torture.

I was not a content marketing freelancer in the era before the internet changed things, but I did study at school and university before it rose up and remodelled the landscape. It is so different being in communication without the ability to use the internet. It has changed us in so many ways, created so many more avenues of how to do things and most importantly made us reliant on the technology to the point where some people find it impossible to do a day’s work without it. I have worked at places where if the internet goes down, younger workers don’t know what to do with themselves and I kid you not, ask to go home.

I have been in situations where colleagues know delivery of scheduled work will not be made due to the absence of the internet and yet have not informed the client because they can’t- because email is down- all whilst surrounded by telephones and mobiles that are still operational. But beyond the whole idea of not knowing how to do work without the internet being present (because let’s face it, this article wouldn’t be getting written if I didn’t know how to) it is interesting to note I feel uneasy, challenged and odd this morning, all because my usual reliance on the internet has been curtailed.

My routine is disrupted, my isolation compounded and it’s moments like these I have to laugh a little at my cyber-addiction.

Dear reader, you can be happy in the knowledge by reading this my service has been restored or I am snuggled up in the internet joy that is the local wireless hot-spot. You can rejoice with me at the ability to quip and link all over social media again.

You can marvel at the hours I have used productively in preparation for my beloved internet’s return. You can safely assume that wasn’t me sitting on the corner with a cardboard sign stating “WILL DROP PANTS FOR INTERNET ACCESS”. Now if you will excuse me, this content marketing freelancer has a modem to cuddle up to.

Content marketing freelancer dilemmas: My morning as a Luddite

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