There’s a great article over on ReadWriteWeb about the new social expectation of “everything for FREE”.
Just a few decades ago, people had low expectations and worked hard to make living. They did not know free and never expected it. Now, the opposite trend is happening, with free becoming expected online. Will the new generation, the one that expects something for nothing, work as hard to maintain the high standards of living that we created?
Good question! As a new father this is an issues I’ve already pondered and questioned. How I will raise my child to values and respect the same things I do? It’s a question I have yet to answer.
But, as a web developer I see “FREE” happening almost every day. Customer’s endlessly question paying for our services and expect that most things should be done for free, or at extremely cheap rates. The articles points to a number of factors why the “FREE expectation” has been taking hold however one thing not discussed is the perception of the internet. Many people still see the internet as a “toy”, or perhaps some “computer thing” that their eight year old niece is “really good at”. They don’t understand that anyone can use the internet and do interesting things but it takes professionals, people who’ve been educated, trained and work in the industry, to advance it and make it better. Those professional have earned and deserve the same respect that any other professional deserves and shouldn’t be compared to someone who isn’t qualified. How many times have you heard something like:
“Oh, well my son says he can code my business’s web site in a few hours so why are you going to take weeks and charge me all this money?”
Well, I could build you a small house in a few days out of scrap wood but would you really want to live in it? Probably not. I’m not a building professional, the same way some kid is not a web professional. It takes experience, effort and a lot of sweat and tears to make all those “FREE” things happen and it’s frustrating that most people fail to understand that. How would you like it if everyone expected your talents and hard work for free?