About Digital Sharecropping

After hearing the term “digital sharecropping” and “digital sharecropper” several times over a short span of time on both podcasts and blogs, I became intrigued. Although the term was almost always mentioned in a negative context, I still decided to look into it.

My research lead me to several articles explaining that digital sharecropping was a negative thing. Most of those articles mentioned social media sites as the main culprit, but anyone relying on search traffic, an email marketing service, web hosting, a payment processor, WordPress, etc., all also guilty of digital sharecropping.

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I’d like to introduce an alternative viewpoint. I’ve observed nearly everyone online to be digital sharecropping to some degree, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

So you can better understand my views on this subject, let’s first start with the basic definition of each word:

digital – [dij-i-tl] – adjective
Pertaining to, noting, or making use of computers and computerized technologies, including the Internet.

sharecropper – [shair-krop-er] – noun
A tenant farmer who pays as rent a share of the crop.

Basically, it is renting a piece of virtual real estate, or your own piece of the Internet. This is usually done with the hope of growing a following and earning an income. Nothing wrong with this, so far..

The danger, or course, is that you may be building your business on someone else’s land. At any point, the rules could change, the prices could rise, or it could disappear altogether, taking your business with it.

Rather than splitting hairs on whether or not you are digital sharecropping, I’d like to instead make the assumption that we are all at risk, and instead focus on the traits needed to minimize this risk while maximizing on the upside.

If we are to succeed online, we must become efficient, agile, and independent.

I’ve written a blog post going into this subject in more detail below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Although most sources I’ve come across seem to paint digital sharecropping in a negative light, if you dig a bit deeper you’ll likely come to the opposite conclusion.

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