On Mommy Blogging
About a week ago, the NY Times stepped in it with the mommy blogger community. In a rather condescending article, the Times alluded that Mommy was busy branding herself and that mommy blogging (and the subsequent conferences, etc) were maybe just a little trite and silly.
I’ve spent the last few days thinking about this article at length. On the surface, I didn’t enjoy the condescension, but there were point sin the article I did agree with.
First, let’s be honest; not all “mommy bloggers” are in the mommy blogging business for altruistic purposes. There are bloggers who gain popularity (fame? Notriaty) who then NEED to work on a business plan, a brand, revenue, etc. (Okay, like Dooce even though I don’t read her because I don’t think she’s that good of a writer or that funny, so bring on the Dooce hate, I guess) then there are people who recognize a pretty “easy” way of making money who see the blogging process as a business first and not a hobby that’s become a business opportunity. You can tell who’s counting clicks and pennies and who’s getting pennies and clicks because of their writing and content and ability to story tell.
I’m getting neither pennies OR clicks. ;) So you can take this as you will.
It has been my experience that when a hobby (and I consider blogging a hobby) begins to become lucrative for people the market becomes flooded with people trying to make the same “easy buck”. Now, I’m not saying that writing and maintaining a blog is “easy”. It’s not. But for some people, putting up a neat blog, monetizing, finding readers, networking, etc seems like an easier path to some extra coin than traditional jobs. I think consistently putting out good blog content week after week, month after month and year after year isn’t easy at all (and the pay per hour unless your Dooce is pretty shitty too). But, like it happens when all hobbies make that leap from hobby to business, people are waiting to copy, to put their finger in the pie (and admittedly, it’s a huge pie with the NY times reporting an avialble 750 million dollars PLUS in ad revenue floating around by 2012). Then you see the serious people get a little bit indignant. Because the people who are business people first and bloggers second change the tone of the blog-o-sphere.
This of course segues into something I think is a HUGE concern facing at least North American mothers. The real lack of available, well paying part time work. It’s why a few years ago EVERYONE was a “life artist” and scrapbooking for money. It’s why a few years before that everyone was an edgey knitter trying to sell a pattern book. It’s why everyone’s a foodie and why everyone’s a blogger. It’s money, yo! While writing this blog post I held the baby, oversaw Littlebit using the ottoman as a tumbling aid and watched Inspector Gadget. I even changed a diaper. And just now broke up a fight over remote controls. A lot of moms are looking for something they can do at home or while their husband is at home for monetary gain without using daycare. In the past, home parties, scrapbooking and knitting fit the bill. Now it’s blogging.
When you add into this that blogging, really, is a narcissistic pursuit (because it is. I’m doing it, so I’m not being judgey about it, but it IS) and I think that opens the group up to ridicule. It allows us to be open for condescension. An the fact that we’re branding ourselves as Moms? Well, it crosses that Madonna/whore, we’re supposed to be pure as the driven snow and no one would EVER “exploit”the antics of their kids for a few bucks, would they line, doesn’t it?