Monday, March 15, 2010

The New York Times: Friend or Foe to Mom Bloggers?

There has been a lot of discussion over the past few days about the New York Times article that came out on Friday. The headline was Honey, Don't Bother Mommy, I'm Too Busy Building My Brand. The NYT author was covering Bloggy Boot Camp, one of five blogging conferences being held in major cities around the country. The conference was created by the founders of SITS (The Secret Is In The Sauce), amazing women whose mission is to create a convenient, affordable way to teach other women about social media and blogging.

While its great to have your industry covered by a publication of that stature, the powerful facts were tempered by what many considered to be an underlying patronizing tone. Like when something sounds like a compliment but feels like an insult. And while my ego wants to get defensive and mad, a wiser part started to recognize it for something else. Something good.

A sign of progress.

I know, sounds crazy. But think about it. Every revolution, every significant wave of cultural progress in history did not come without controversy, misconceptions, and resistance.

Despite how it was packaged and spun, the facts remain undeniably clear. When there are 23 million women engaging in a technological wave (blogging) that has still yet to reach mainstream, they are a "cultural force to be reckoned with" (NYT quote). When women and moms take time from their families and jobs to sit in a room and study the policies of the Federal Trade Commission, the world better look out. There is change a-coming.

Call it what you want. Call it a market segment. Call it a demographic. Call it a fad, a trend, or NYT's media filler meant to bridge the attention span gap between the Olympics and March Madness Final Four. Me, I call it a movement. The cool thing about movements is they will happen whether you are on board or not. Movements are led by people who are tired of standing around waiting for someone else to step up so they take charge. Movements are led by people (in this case women) who are brave enough to take the criticism, the controversy, and misconceptions so those who come ahead won't have to. Movements are followed by those who make the challenge personal and contribute any way they can. Movements are resisted and criticized by those afraid of change, even when it is for the better. Starting to get the picture?

So whether you agree with the article or not, see it for the catalyst it is. It got people talking and debating. It got people so riled up that they could not help but be part of the conversation. And THAT is where the real influence it. THAT is where you as a blogger have way more power than any media conglomerate. The New York Times article was outdated 10 seconds after they published it. But the conversation about the article will be current for as long as bloggers, journalists, and the media keep it alive. If you want to change the perception many still have of mom bloggers and set the record straight, just keep being part of the conversation. Keep blogging and tweeting about it. Keep tracks about PR on your conference agendas. Keep making money from your traffic. Keep seeking out those who know more, learn from them, and then pass that knowledge on. Because real change will not come from engaging the people who already see it your way, it will come from engaging the people who don't.

If I were a newspaper losing millions of readers and paid subscribers to blogs (which I am not), would I be a bit resentful and tempted to package the stats in a pretty pink patronizing ribbon? Perhaps. If I were a women looking for smart, passionate women to break out of stereotypes and create real change in the world (which I am), than I say the NYT did us a favor.

What do you think of the article? Do you think it hurt the mom blogging segment more than it helped? If so, what do you plan to do about it? Come join the discussion in my BlogFrog forum here.

11 comments:

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Excellent follow up , Holly. Sometimes we are so quick to REact rather than respond, and you have responded to this SO well. :)

Lori Anderson said...

Well said Holly. I like the powerful response and conversation that is happening here. Thanks for articulating it so thoughtfully! :)

CFMama said...

I've not yet read the article. I will click over now. But just from reading your post, I agree a movement is coming!

Barb said...

Great post Holly. I wasn't sure how I felt about the article after reading it. I think it is interesting how we are belittled for 'creating a brand' when there are thousands of women who work outside the home. People need to realize that 'mom blogging' is a legitimate business for many of us just as heading out to the office is for many other women.

Lynn said...

I haven't read the article yet, but thought your post was really interesting. Fun topic.

Kristi @ Creative Kristi said...

This is a GREAT post in response! :)

C. Rose Fisher said...

Well written, it really is a movement and that is ALL GOOD!

背影 said...

很棒的分享~留言支持! ........................................

Shannon said...

I think the article was great for us blogging mama's..my blog is much more about life, than just being a mommy..I say the article was a good thing. It is getting the word out there about us mom's storming the blogging world!

Tim said...

Well put Holly, VERY well put.

Just dont forget that there are some Daddy bloggers out there too (even though we are the minority) and we fall under the blogging movement too. LOL

Love and Prayers,

Tim

texasholly said...

Amen!

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