The New York Times set off a firestorm of criticism in the blogosphere this weekend with a snarky little piece titled, “Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand“.
The article, written by Jennifer Mendehlson (herself a mommyblogger), skewers moms who blog for being too focused on the professional potential of blogging and not focused enough on…something else. Maybe the social aspects? Maybe their kids?
Likening mommyblogs to the Tupperware parties of our mothers’ day, Jennifer breezily mocks the women who gather at conferences like Mom 2.0 and Bloggy Boot Camp to learn “the latest must-have skill set for the minivan crowd.”
Mommybloggers didn’t hold back on letting The Times know what they really think of this assessment.
Mom 101 offers a brilliant summation of the Times piece, followed by a list of the useful, creative, powerful things mommybloggers are doing. Kelby Carr argues that the Times has had it in for moms who blog for a long time. She also breaks down the gender politics behind the bias pretty persuasively.
On Twitter, Finslippy encouraged everyone to follow her example and send angry letters to the Times editors. Her Bad Mother pointed out that while the article made passing mention of her recent road trip to Disney in a GM Canada sponsored van, the Times saw fit to link only to the major advertisers it mentioned, not to the charitable work she’s doing to raise awareness and research funds for a disease that is slowly killing her nephew.
Ultimately, as Mom 101 acknowledges in her excellent post, there’s some good stuff deeper in the Times article about the relationships between bloggers and advertisers. Like this gem from Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential.net:
It’s like we’re playing seven minutes in heaven. The brands know they need a blogger. The bloggers know they need a brand. When everyone gets in the closet, nobody knows what to do with each other. It’s like we’re all 13 again.
I’d love to see the Times do a story on how bloggers are figuring out who their markets are and where their income can come from without resorting to a lot of unnecessary snark.
I would also love to see less emphasis on the professional aspects of blogging and more on the social and creative aspects, within the blogosphere and in the media that reports on it. The truth is that for the vast majority of moms who blog, blogging is a hobby and a creative way to let off steam, express themselves and record the mundane and magical moments they encounter raising their kids.
The fact that most of them won’t make a living at it doesn’t mean their hard work should be diminshed or mocked, or that the few who do it professionally deserve anything less than respect.
For a look at some of the great work being done by blogging moms, check out Babble’s List of Top 50 Mommyblogs.
What do you think? Are you a mom who blogs? I’m betting you read parenting blogs, since you’re reading this.What do you look for in a blog?
Photo: Giovanni Gallucci
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