My friend and colleague Omar Gallaga's 2010 essay on the costs of presenting to people for free has stayed with me for a little while. The same is true for Courtney Martin's column about misconceptions about the costs of online feminism. They each reminded me that there's no such thing as free work.
As a corollary to Wednesday's discussion of role models, I thought this was a fine time to advance my theory that there are precious few opportunities to make your digital bones as a female blogger. If you aren't willing to open an emotional vein or cannibalize your life for blog material, and if you can't leverage an offline profile a la Ariana Huffington or Michelle Malkin, good luck building a reputation as an expert and/or a readership outside of the niche. You can mine your personal life for story gold, you can focus your attention on issues traditionally associated (for better or worse) with women (feminism, fashion, celebrity news) or you can be famous offline first. Those seem to be the sum total of your choices. Or you can pretend to be a man, I suppose.