Month: February 2011

Should Corporations Be Afraid of Mommy Bloggers?

There’s a lot of good to be said for the phenomena that is commonly referred to as “Mommy Blogging”. I’ve never liked that all-inclusive title, by the way. It seems denigrating to those mothers whose minds and words are not fixated solely on children, but that’s another story and has nothing to do with the sour taste in my mouth today.

I read quite a few “mommy blogs” — daddy blogs, too. Even though my children are grown, I still relate to the tales of other parents, not only in their role as nurturers, but as people. Several mommy bloggers write eloquently not only about parenting, but about many varied subjects and I enjoy the sense of community I find on their sites.

What I haven’t enjoyed is seeing how pretentious the field of “mommy blogging” is becoming.

“It’s a business for me,” some insist. Yet businesses do not post their bad pitches online and seek to humiliate potential clients. When they receive an undesirable offer, they respond in private or throw the proposal into the circular file.

“I’m a professional,” some say. I’ve yet to meet a professional in any other business who dedicates part of their website to grousing about how very hard their job is, how undervalued they are, or how little respect they get from other professionals and corporations. Most professionals simply do their jobs. They take the offers they want to take and negotiate or decline other offers. They don’t go on the defensive and start attacking the businesses that didn’t offer enough, or who offered the wrong type of compensation.

“I deserve to be paid.” Maybe and maybe not—but that’s an issue that should be between the blogger and the business in question. As a reader, I don’t care about your brand, your monetization, your review opportunities, or your compensation. I’m not there to hear your tale of how so-and-so offended you with a lowball offer.

(Hand to the forehead) “Oh, but it’s such hard work!”  Really, bloggers, really? I’ve been blogging for several years.  I have a decent Google page rank (four) and a respectable number of page views per month. I went on a nine-month road trip with two wonderful sponsors. I’ve done reviews and at least a couple of giveaways and “hard” is not a word I would use to describe those efforts. Then again, I wouldn’t choose to write about a product I wasn’t interested in, and I wouldn’t approach a sponsor if I didn’t feel they were a good match for my blog. I also believe strongly in value-for-value: in giving at least as much as I receive. That’s not “hard work” but common business sense.

“If I don’t get my way I’m going to smash things and tell everyone I know to smash them with me.”  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but exaggeration and melodrama are becoming much more common in the mommy blogging community. Someone doesn’t get their way or has a bad experience and all of the sudden it gets blown up on Twitter, Facebook, and other blogs. A gang mentality sets in and a business finds itself under siege from those who would act as judge, jury, and hangman in a one-sided trial. No defense that the company might have, or reasonable explanation they might offer, is going to be good enough until the perceived “wrong” is righted with apologies and bucks or freebies to spare.

Worse? Sometimes it’s not even the correct company under assault. Sometimes bloggers are misinformed. Yet I’ve rarely seen them go out of their way to apologize or to properly inform the herd that blindly followed them into outrage.

I’ve also seen instances where it was a blogger’s own mistake that precipitated a poor experience, yet they seem to have all sorts of excuses for their own shortcomings while allowing virtually none to the companies they attack online.

No, I’m not naming names. I’m not out to start a war with the mommy bloggers, most of whom I know to be genuinely good people with a lot to offer in the way of storytelling, education, and opinions. I just believe that there has been a steadily increasing disintegration in the mom blogging community by way of misuse, misappropriation, foot-stomping, and temper tantrums — none of which seems at all professional or conducive to making positive changes. Besides, I suspect that most people reading this will either vehemently disagree for their own reasons, or nod their heads because they recall seeing similar things and being as disgusted by them as I am.

Also, as a woman I find the kind of manufactured mommy blogging dramas I see online to be especially off-putting. It plays into stereotypes that I’m uncomfortable with, yet that seem to be ongoing enough to give them some basis in reality. The portrayal of women in popular media as complainers, naggers, backstabbers, gossips, and poor business people is bad enough, but when we do it to ourselves it just seems especially counterproductive.

Lastly, if I were working in the corporate world — as I did for many years — I’d hesitate to send a query or a response to anyone in the mommy blogging community right now. I wouldn’t have felt that way just a couple of years ago, but the tone, the purpose, and the community seems to have changed. Someone on Twitter recently said, “doing anything with the mommyblogging set is like poking at alligators with sticks.”

Sadly, I found myself nodding in agreement.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

She Lives Close to the Bones

You know me.

I’m the one with a collection of mismatched suitcases and a collection of keys belonging to nothing I own. I’ve given away or lost so many things yet I still feel restless, as if there’s something I forgot to take leave of along the way — something that might be taken away by force or surprise. It’s a fear of mine. I assuage it by living close to the bones, nearer to starkness than satiety, yet there are times I’m still overwhelmed, even frightened, by how much I appreciate certain comforts: A hot bath, a warm towel, a soft bed, freshly laundered clothes, a sunny day, a hand that entwines with mine even if fleeting.

Everything goes away, eventually.  The only sturdy bricks in the foundation of any life are imaginary. The earth teeters and quakes, and shifting winds drive people in and out of hollow doors. Tomorrow may not be like any day we’ve ever known. It can bring tragedy or relief, laughter or pain, and there’s no way to accurately guess what might be on the horizon or in somebody else’s heart.

So I take the hot bath and grab the warm towel while they exist, while I can, and I’m filled with immense gratitude for the clean robe that hangs on the hook, even if the night is cold and my hands are empty.

Simple things are often the hardest to come by. I take nothing for granted except the transient nature of people, places, and things.

Prescience is a fool’s game, yet I keep one ear pinned to the earth, always, while the other stays aboveground. I feel a need to know what might come up from the surface as well as what might come crashing down.

Feel it, feel it, feel it. Close to the bones of the inner ear, vibrating down into the sternum, spreading across the ribs like a breath or a warning, it is the cadence of life on the farthest edge, with all of its unexpected twists and dull-eyed revelations. It’s the sparks that flare and burn, the silent revolutions, the wild heart, and the roar of every hope that’s ever been set free. It’s the seeds planted in the imagination, overgrown and uncultivated, left begging for the order of a tangible garden.

You know me.

I need a wide horizon and an endless day of sun. I need to hold a starfish in my hand and paint a mountain over my eyes. I need dirt and pine needles under my feet, and sagebrush that ambles across a barren desert, or cornflowers and daffodils that bloom in untouched valleys.

Nature never leaves. It cannot be lost or given away, and even its unpredictability comes as no surprise. It knows no malice or hunger. It doesn’t dream or love or hate or wish for better than what it has known. It wastes no time on tears, questions, ambitions, or fears. It simply exists, needing and wanting nothing more than it can provide itself.

Nature steadies the uneven plane of humanness.

I need a haircut, a rock, a bright day, and someone who knows me.

You do, don’t you?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter