Saturday, August 4, 2007

Passive Discussion and Gumtree Classifieds

For a fantastic discussion on writing well, check out this thread on The Velvet. The end veers off-topic but the first two thirds addresses why the passive voice isn't necessarily a bad thing and how to avoid boring your readers to tears. Not in so many words, of course, but the discussion addresses the difference between the passive voice and using “to be” words to clarify verb tense and the sequence of events. I had to share because I was so impressed with the strength of the analysis here.

You can ignore the rest of this post or just use it for informational purposes if you happen to live in the UK and are looking for a job or on-line classified listings. I was sent a link to a page of jobs in Edinburgh, Scotland. That page is specific to the town but the main Gumtree site offers similar listings for London with links to a pretty impressive list of cities.

When I was sent the link, I was hoping that Gumtree would be along the lines of craigslist, which is the gold standard for on-line classifieds so in the US far as I'm concerned. If they can get enough interest from both advertisers and searchers, I think they could be the UK-centric version. They have built a long reach already, including Australia, Ireland, and South Africa in at least a limited way.

For an example, I went to the page for jobs in Edinburgh. All of the jobs listed are actual, physical jobs that you need to be in Edinburgh, Scotland to perform. While that's a fantastic resource for people who live there, it doesn't really help people looking for an on-line job (such as, say, freelance writing) where work and payment are very often conducted electronically. At this point Gumtree doesn't offer a “gigs” section although there were a couple of on-line jobs in the “media jobs” section.

I will check these folks out in a few weeks to see if they are building more freelance options and possibilities. I'll also keep an eye out for listings from them on other freelance job sites. If it turns out that they are going to be a source for freelance opportunities I'll let you know.