Hello, dear English-speaking readers! Some of you may know me from Twitter and others from FriendFeed, not to mention those who actually regularly read this blog (even though almost all content is written in Portuguese ;-)). As some of you may already know, my name is Miguel Caetano and I’m a Portuguese journalist/blogger from Lisbon.
I’ve been regularly publishing posts here about copyright, file sharing, remix culture and digital/online music since October of 2006 and I’m very proud of my solo work here. Until very recently, I used to write five full long-length articles a day and it was very satisfying, even if not in a monetary way.
During these years I got interviewed by the National news agency (LUSA) and by one of Portugal’s quality newspapers (Público), wrote an op-ed for this same newspaper, appeared in a five minute feature for the sunday night news show of one of the four broadcast TV stations (SIC) and participated in a talk show for a women’s cable TV channel (SIC Mulher).
I’d like to think that I’m not your average “citizen journalist”: my educational and professional background has always been in media, particulary online media. I graduated in Media Studies at the Portuguese Catholic University in 2000 and for the next three years I worked as a technology journalist, first for Focus (a Portuguese version of the German newsmagazine), then for an online content business which has, among others, the Tech news site of the biggest Portuguese Web portal for its client.
After that, I enrolled on a Master’s program in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies at ISCTE and wrote a thesis (PDF here; abstract in English here) about online activism and the (re)appropriation of technology for social goals, particularly in the Brazilian context. Next, I opened this WordPress blog with the goal of creating an online think tank on copyright, intellectual property and the commons by myself and with no support whatsoever. Judging by the number of quotes in the mainstream media, feed subscribers (more than 1,500 at its best, which by itself is notable for the Portuguese market) and the Page Rank of 5, I think it was a worthwhile effort.
The problem is that I’m stuck in a dead end. I want to be able to apply at least some of the knowledge and skills that I’ve learned in music marketing, online marketing, social media, SEO, blogging, community management, etc. in a professional way but, quite frankly, the Portuguese online market is too small to make a living. The advertising revenues are too negligible and despite the goodwill of the readers (some from Portugal but many more from Brazil), the donations that I’ve asked weren’t enough to keep the blog on full steam.
A year ago, I announced a pack of Freemium services directed towards media businesses, NGOs and Universities that included the selling of articles concerning specific issues about online entertainment (music, video, TV, media and publishing), as well as consulting services to help record labels adapt to the new digital ecossystem and to give advice to music tech startups. However, the reaction was tepid, to say the least. I ended up being insulted by “anonymous cowards” and trolls That’s why I decided to ask for your help.
Now, you may think that what I should do is to get a day job in a bakery, a supermarket, a cell phone shop or something like that. And I’m willing to do that but not here in Portugal. You see, the situation here has been very rough for people of my age during the last years. Once you get a job at a call center, you can’t move anywhere up because you’re expected to have no expectations regarding the future. And speaking sincerely, I rather move abroad and have at least a minimum degree of hope than to have no hope at all. Furhermore, I’m afraid I’m too much into social media, blogging and online communities to just give up so easily of making a career of it. All the friendships and relationships that I have were made possible only because of the Web and the Net.
Being a big believer in open source and free software (Linux user/evangelist since 1997), I’ve always strived for excellence, perfectionism, honesty, transparency and passion in everything that I do – whatever the costs may be and I really think that my skills can be helpful, even in a commercial context.
Judging by my profile and CV, I think the United Kingdom is the wisest choice for me at the moment. To tell you the truth, I’ve already thought of moving to the UK twice before. I even took the TOEFL IBT, where I scored 105/120. But at the time I didn’t knew anyone there and I wasn’t in a very healthy shape. Since them, I got on Twitter and on FriendFeed, where I managed to make several new friends and acquaintances from all over the world, which was quite a feat for such an introvert/shy guy like me. I guess you can say that social media made an extrovert out of me ;-). While engaging in conversation and following several musicians, journalists, bloggers, students, researchers and others living in the UK, I became aware that it – still – is the best European country for someone who values entrepeneurship, innovation, creativity and collaboration (social capital), even taking in consideration the present economic crisis.
Right now, I have no plans but I really made up my mind. I don’t care if I’ll have to sleep on the streets; I just feel it’s past time for me to go away. I’m willing to work on anything that is available during the first few months until something better comes along. But I need to be paid. Moving more into my background, I know a thing or too of SEO and online marketing, to say nothing about social media, community management, blogging and journalism (you can always dream ;-)).
That said, for now I would be very happy with a paid internship. Being London the social media capital of the world as it is, I’m betting that it may not be extremely difficult to find an offer like that. But any help of your part will be highly appreciated. To be clear: It’s not my intention to end the work I’ve been doing in Remixtures concerning online music, file sharing, copyright, intellectual property and the Commons. I love music too much to stop writing about it, even if only once a week.