The Odyssey Online: What's It Really Like Being A Content Creator?
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The Odyssey Online: What's It Really Like Being A Content Creator?

What's it really like being a writer (oops, I mean "content creator")

The Odyssey Online: What's It Really Like Being A Content Creator?

An article was posted recently to Buzzfeed about what it is like to be a “content creator” for The Odyssey Online. It’s been a year since I started writing for The Odyssey Online, and I have to say that the author of that article is 100% correct in everything they stated. The Odyssey chapter that I write for used to have a Facebook page that had over 300 likes and was consistently getting 10 likes a post. However, since mid-March, we have not been allowed to utilize that page and were told to shut it down. This was part of The Odyssey’s rebranding technique. This later came with news that they had gotten millions of dollars in funding ($25 million to be exact) and were re-doing their website with that money.

However, the writers for the page (or “content creators”) were given $0 of this. Instead we were sent an email that included this:

Which means that if we gave The Odyssey 40,000 page views, they were giving us $25. Yikes.

Furthermore, we are told to send our articles to The Odyssey’s social media director, and will in turn have our schools articles posted on The Odyssey’s Facebook page. However, after sending countless emails to this individual with the UCSC chapters best work, none of our articles were ever posted there. Instead they share articles that are more likely to get shared on Facebook; “15 Things You Realize As Your Baby Brother Grows Up”, “Why I’m Glad I Did Rush”). While, yes, the point of The Odyssey Online is to generate revenue and they presumably do so when articles that are #relatable get tons of shares, does that mean that they should continue to just share pointless listicles with no substance?

Each week content creators are told to write a 500+ word article about whatever they would like. This can be a listicle, informative article, persuasive piece, etc. These articles then are submitted and edited by editors. At the end of each week, the writer (or should I say, content creator) who has the most shares of each chapter is rewarded $20. However, that’s only if the chapter has 12+ writers. And since hiring more writers is delegated to each individual chapter, this encourages the chapter to have as many writers as they can get – this means rejecting very few. Hence where the idea that writers for The Odyssey are not skilled or talented (as shown below).

But it’s the writers that some would say are “unskilled” that tend to make money from this website. Instead of being denied a position, they are encouraged to write their articles with no substance, knowing that they will get shares, and they are rewarded with money for doing so. Yet, when one writes an article with journalistic substance, it rarely gets shares.

As I mentioned, I’ve been writing for The Odyssey for a year now, and I’ve made less than $100. Does that mean my articles aren’t that great? Honestly, maybe. But it also means that our chapter at UCSC, has 23+ writers, which realistically means we all earn about $40 a year (some more than others). Due to this, several of our writers leave and instead start their own blogs or write for other sites.

Do I think that we should be paid a lump sum of money? No. But is $40 a year really compensation? Instead of accepting everyone who applies, there should be a more rigorous process. Thus allowing for the writers to receive higher compensation while simultaneously boosting the publics view of the website. However, that will not happen, as it is the poorly written listicles that get shares – and shares = $$$$$.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like writing for The Odyssey. I love the people that I write with and the little community that we have created. However, I think the organization, while they had good intentions, is not being run as efficiently as they could.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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