It would be impossible to count exactly how many lifestyle blogs there are, but there are thousands and thousands of them, all posting about parties, fashion, decorating, travel, and cooking tips. And I would have to argue that a large amount of them look to the one and only Martha Stewart as an icon and inspiration, and that her Martha-ness was something that they aspire to. But she totally just went and dissed all those who may be trying to follow in her well-heeled footsteps in the lifestyle genre online.
Martha Stewart did an interview with Bloomberg News this week, and besides talking about her respect for Ralph Lauren, Macy’s, and Amazon and the joys of being a grandmother, she decided to start a war with lifestyle bloggers everywhere. The verbal bomb she threw came after talking about Twitter and social media. Martha started to talk about “bloggers,” saying in a very elitist tone, “Who are these bloggers? They aren’t trained editors at Vogue magazine.” (Note: neither was Martha.)
“Bloggers are writing recipes that aren’t tested, aren’t necessarily very good or are copies of things that really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create a kind of …umm…popularity but they are not the experts. We have to understand that.”
Blogger Kimberly Grabinski from What’s That Smell responded, saying: “Apparently someone who has children cannot possibly have learned anything about parenting without schooling. Someone who has spent years cooking cannot possibly be considered an expert without formal education. Someone who has learned to sew or craft and has created great new, creative things is not an expert without a degree from the Martha Stewart school of trained pretentious wax figures.” We are all experts in lifestyle topics in our own way. This is not rocket science or brain surgery. This is making a cupcake, creating a new quilt design, or knowing just which flowers to mix together. We can all be experts in the topic of ‘lifestyle’.”
One other aspect of Martha’s comments that has really rubbed people the wrong way is the hypocrisy of her statements. Martha was the keynote at the 2012 BlogHer event, the premiere conference for bloggers. Oh! And there is this — Martha’s Circle, “a community of the Web’s leading lifestyle blogs, chosen by Martha Stewart editors.” Yes, it’s a whole network of bloggers being totally embraced by Martha. But it looks as if Martha’s Circle isn’t a perfect circle and has a couple of dents and squiggly lines. Sure, not all lifestyle blogs are worthwhile of praise and some recipes may be questionable, but to belittle such a large community, a community that she profits from, wasn’t very nice. And for someone who is all about things that are pretty, these comments come off as rather ugly.
What do you think? Do you think Martha is just speaking her mind and being honest, or should she have edited her words a bit more? And can bloggers be “experts?”
Update 10/16/2013 7:15 PST : I had been checking Martha’s twitter feed for hours to see if you felt compelled to address her “bloggers aren’t experts” comment. After hours of tweets like, “The manufacturing home of the
@Toyota Corolla is in Blue Springs Mississippi!” and “Thank you @jcrew for providing @AmericanMadeMSL all the stylish clothes for all of our demos, she finally – at 4:35 pm – addressed the topic. She wrote, “Big hubbub about me not supporting bloggers. Martha Stewart loves most bloggers who are great friends and trusted allies.” Oh, those hubbubs, they can be so messy. Do you think that her (sort of) apology via Twitter is enough?
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