How incredibly serendipitous to speak at one of the biggest conferences of parent bloggers just weeks before my family craft book comes out. The timing couldn’t be better. I felt like Macklemore at the Goodwill, what with an entire audience of the web’s most powerful, influential, entrepreneurial women (and men) — all in one convenient place. It was simply too good to be true. Having been to other blogging conferences, I have absolutely no doubt that other people interested in business or marketing were thinking the exact same thing.
So how bizarre and jaw-droppingly sad to see the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Mom 2.0 conference not as an important business moment for anyone working on the web but as escapist leisure time for barefoot-and-pregnant housewives — or, as Charlie over at Night of the Living Dads so eloquently summed up the WSJ’s vision of the event: “magical slumber parties.”
Yes, the coverage was that bad.
Find me a company that, after just one year, suddenly has accounts with Tide, Target, Honda, Dove, Ikea, and Forget You and tell me the WSJ wouldn’t write that up as a major business coup for an entrepreneur on the move.
But because it’s a “mommy blogger” with these accounts, it’s all about tweeting at parties, amiright? Come on, everyone knows men go to conferences to get stuff done. While women clearly go to raid the mini bar and have control over the TV remote.
But what irks me at almost the same level is how the nation’s top business newspaper can have absolutely zero idea of what goes on at some of the nation’s top business conferences, and we’ve reached a point when that’s exactly how you have to categorize parent blogging conferences. If anything good comes out of this debacle, I hope it’s a larger realization that web sites, social media … they’re not going anywhere. And that there is an entire field of experts in these areas, who also just happen to be parents. Having been to a few of these gigs, businesses and marketing agencies seem to get this and send hordes of representatives to make coveted connections with bloggers who can make or break a product.
This is the new reality. It’s simply how our society functions now. You’re thinking about buying something and you google that thing and sometimes find reviews online from bloggers you trust.
Business knows it. Social media users know it.
Hmm … is it any wonder newspapers are still dying, what with reporting that is obnoxiously sexist but also ridiculously out of touch with how businesses operate in the modern age?
Look, do parents enjoy a little time away, as the article says? Yes. Of course. I’m a stay-at-home dad and, honestly, I was looking forward to sleeping in and, perhaps, using the hotel gym — small perks of not having to care for anyone else for a day or two. But like so many other professional bloggers who attend these conferences, those small perks pale in comparison to making new connections and strengthening existing ones, to finding new contacts and making new deals. My wife, a kick-ass lawyer, goes to conferences and kicks said asses in the day and then goes and blows off steam in the night. Maybe sleeps in.
That’s not what mommy bloggers do. That’s what all people do.
In the end, I had to bail out of the Mom 2.0 conference because the horse farm where we’re holding my daughter’s party had to suddenly move the date. I gave serious thought to skipping her 7th birthday party not so I could go mingle it up with Instagramarazzi but so that I could make much-needed new business and media connections just before the book comes out. In the end, family wins and I had to bail on my speaking gig. It almost physically pains to me think of what I’m missing out on professionally — that’s how important these conferences are. So when I saw the Journal’s coverage, I couldn’t help but shake my head and think, “What reality are they covering?”
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