Mommy Blogging

I’ve been reading about the call to keyboard for authentic writing in the momosphere for the first week of August. It seems there are camps forming with two distinct themes. The one is that being courted by businesses with a variety of giveaway goodies for the purpose of honest assessment and word of blog publicity is a good thing for women who blog. The other side is decrying the takeover of real dialogue and community in favor of poorly written and arguably deceptive posts.

My eyes hurt from all the rolling.

Most of the commercial mom blogs I read, or have skimmed, are businesses. And there is nothing wrong with a blogger taking advantage of the commerciality of their work. The net is the last frontier as far as low cost start-ups go and more power to you if you can convince someone to pay you for doing something you enjoy.

But here is the problem I have. These women, as far as I can tell, aren’t getting paid. They are taking stuff. Maybe they sell it later on eBay to recoup expenses for their time and maybe not, but since when did “stuff” constitute a living? And when a blogger is willing (and plenty seem to be) to be compensated in goods what happens to the writers/bloggers who would rather have cash? I mean, not every mommy blogger has a daddy paycheck earner to take care of the pesky expenses, and last I heard, the people who hold your mortgage aren’t keen on barter.

Here’s the other thing that doesn’t compute for me. How are we a community, or cyber friends even, when you are writing to convince me to buy things. That’s almost as annoying as the friend who takes up Pampered Chef or Mary Kay or sex toy parties because now our friendship is threatened by an unspoken coersion that involves me feeling obligated to buy and you needing me to buy in order to maintain the flow of freebies and advertising. And now I am not a “dear reader” or a friend but rather a customer.

The bloggers at Momdot want moms to blog authentically for the first week of August. To just shut down the PR (it’s unclear to me if this includes all the ads in the sidebars which make pages load so slowly) and get back to basics. Which begs the question of what a mom is to do if she began blogging simply to milk the cash cow but that is a call for others to decide.

Some are not really down with this. They are proud of the businesses they have built and rightfully so. If you are blogging for profit and are good at it and your “friends” are totally cool with funding you, the fact that it is a quasi-ponzi scheme shouldn’t be an issue.

More and more I am uncomfortable in the momosphere – which, by the way, this space here is not part of – I have always been clear on the fact that I began blogging for me and it continues to be “all about me” which is probably too boring for most. And I am totally rethinking my connections with mom grogging because I am not allowed to be utterly me and write about women’s issues, wants, dreams, dilemmas, only some of which are mom-oriented. At my age, why should I care what companies think I need or should want? They are only interested in my money and will shill and wheedle and flatter their souls away to sell it to me. Their power? Lies in my willingness to buy and in someone else’s willingness to sell themselves cheaply enough to promote it to me.

I just don’t understand taking crap as payment – and if I have to dust, store, or pick it up and move it from one place to another – it’s crap. It’s like the white traders in the early days of North America buying land and goods from Native Americans with glass beads and cutlery. I don’t remember who wrote this, maybe it was Konrath, but the sincerest form of flattery for a writer, and I think blogging counts as writing, is a paycheck, and if you aren’t doing your bit to promote the idea of money as currency for writers then you are not a writer and you are hurting real writers with your posing. You are kind of like scabs who cross picket lines, under-cutting the common good for selfish gain. 

“But I am feeding my family!”

Really? With movie passes and WiiFit?

We (and when I say “we”, I mean “you”) will always be ghetto-ized as Mommybloggers so long as the majority of us are mesmerized by the sprinkles tossed our way like bootie shaped confetti decorating a table cloth at a baby shower. We will not be taken seriously as a group or a force. And the sad thing is – we (and by “we” I mean “all women”) would be a force if our more prominent members weren’t so content to be stereotypes.

11 responses to “Mommy Blogging

  1. I’m with you on this one, Annie. I don’t fit in with any of the “cool girls” so I’ve pieced together my own group, women whose writing I value and enjoy. I don’t know why I thought I could sit with the in crowd – it’s never worked out when I’ve tried it and I’m not authentic when I make the effort. I will check out the link and see what’s on deck for August.

  2. We’re associated with the same “mom grog,” but in different venues – and I’ve been thinking a lot about my own place within that community. I’m not sure I really have one – at least, not in any of the major subdivisions. I’m not quite ready to bail on it, but I haven’t made the connections I was hoping to within that space, and it’s disappointing.

    As far as the PR-blackout/”blog authentically” thing goes – it makes no difference to me. If you’re not blogging authentically, I probably am not reading your posts much anyway, and being over-solicited by PR types really hasn’t been an issue with my blog. Besides, I don’t want to review anything other than the books I read:-), and I have made some great connections – both online and off – in the book-blogging community.

    • The grog is a bit like high school. It has a hierarchy and in/not so in crowd. The benefits are clear for only a handful and the rest of us are about filler, a network like that needs as much content as it can get. It’s too big to be a real community and too much like a job (minus tangible benefits) to be fun for very long.

  3. I agree 100 %. I was recently approached by a company that said they would even write my post for me if I would pitch their product! Seeing that my blog is basically a family diary, I’m sure that posting stuff like that would stick out like a sore thumb. I blog for myself and my family and friends, and if I get some readers that I don’t know personally, well they are my friends too. I’m not going to try to give them some sales pitch!

    • I get the odd email from PR, but I ditched the idea of making money from the blog long ago. It would mean limiting my scope and the blog is just about me and my thoughts, hopes, frustrations, woes, quests, etc. It might someday be a platform for me as a writer, but nothing else.

  4. I had NO IDEA all this was going down in the momosphere. My gawd! It’s all sounds a bit tawdry. But, in this economy, any way you can make an honest buck or pick up a free movie pass is okay with me. Readers have a responsibility to run posts through a bullshit filter.

    • There was a Newsweek article this week too. Quoted women who I follow here and there (Twitter and FB mostly). The business aspect is fine but it carries consequence – you stop being “folk”.

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