It's a chilly old climate we're living in - and I don't mean the weather. The other day I had a sad little email from a local parenting magazine I occasionally write for; they are calling it a day due to the harsh economic conditions. Meanwhile, at the magazine publishing empire where I once worked, titles are closing left, right and centre, with titles that have been carefully nurtured for 20 odd years unceremoniously consigned to the dustbin.
But there is light at the end of the media tunnel. Online and 'social' media - that's us bloggers too - is flourishing, and advertisers are starting to plough their cash into the internet. And so I was pleased to be asked by a new local website to contribute some of my bloggy musings to their content.
(Well, I think they had to ask me really - the name of the site is www.nappyvalleynet.com....)
Anyway, if you're a southwest Londoner, take a look, as it's full of useful information for parents about babysitters, birthday parties and even reviews of all the local schools - the sort of information that, if you're me, you never actually know about but pick up from earwigging on other mummies' conversations.
All this is for free - which brings me to another thing I've been writing, an article about free media for an industry magazine. (Bear with me....it may sound dull, but it's actually more interesting than you think).
Think about it. A generation ago, you bought your daily or local newspaper, and that was how you got your news and information. You bought your records in a shop, you paid your TV licence to watch telly.
But now, we are living in a generation that expects everything for free: from free newspapers on the tubes and buses (yes I know much of it is dross, but it's helpful if you've forgotten your book, stops you from having to avoid eye contact with the creepy sales boy opposite) to hundreds of digital channels via Freeview (hurrah for CBeebies - our parents just had Playschool to entertain us with).
You can look at virtually any newspaper online for free. Whether this is good for me is debatable (I'd never buy the Mail, but I sometimes take a guilty peek at their website to get the gossip) but, even so. There are brilliant sites where you can listen to music for free - I listened to the whole of the new Lily Allen album online the other day while working (so if my media feature ends up full of cheeky sexual innuendoes, blame Lily). There's all the video on demand, which is great for entertaining both us and the kids - Littleboy 1 is especially fond of getting me to search YouTube for clips from Madagascar. And, of course, we have all these fantastic blogs to read - so much better than the majority of articles in women's magazines.
Of course, somebody's ultimately paying, usually advertisers, but hey, who cares? Most of us can spot an ad a mile off anyway. So I say a big hurray for free. Let's make the most of it, before someone starts asking us to pay.