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This is not a brothel... | by Tom Coates
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This is not a brothel...

I think I'm going to get in trouble for expressing my opinion so stridently, but I'm going to put up a page on my site for people who want to send me Press Releases. It's going to have this picture on it.


It really pisses me off that press people consider me an outlet to push their marketing messages. It upsets me that people in the world can look at me and only see ways that they can scavenge some limited advantage through which to push their agendas. They see my personal expression, my unadulterated opinion and they think they can use it as a host for their parasitic bullshit.


Worse still, I'm not sure they understand how revolting I find the whole thing. I'm not sure they get that I don't consider it part of my life's mission to carry the messaging they want to distribute. I don't think they understand that it's an insult to me for them to think that my voice is so apparently for sale. I find it degrading, patronising, cynical. It makes me want to hurl.


One of the absolute worst things that has ever happened to my blog was an article last year that named one of the UK's most influential blogs. I think it was on The amount of crap I received from people who now viewed me as a useful and exploitable commodity put me off writing for months. Longer maybe. Being viewed like a piece of meat by people who wanted somehow to carve off a little of my feeble authenticity. Disgusting.


Anyway, it would be difficult for me to say that getting sent lots of press releases consituted a real invasion of my life, or that it compromised my existence. But it did spoil a pleasure. It did sour a joy. It made me come to dislike one of the things that had been a particular pleasure in my life, and for that I'm furious.


So I'm putting up a page for people who want to send me press releases. And it will say this on it. For as long as I have it up, will never display anything that I'm asked to display. I will write about my employer only when I want to, when I'm proud of something they or I have done, not when I'm asked. And I will absolutely never talk about something that I receive through a press release, or as a consequence of someone giving me a freebie.


There has to be one place in your life where you're absolutely resolutely not for sale. For me, that place is my personal site, the representation of me online. I'd no more let someone else compromise that voice than I'd let them tattoo their logo on my children.

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Taken on August 20, 2007