I think it was well over a decade ago that I bought my first copy of Martha Stewart Living. I wasn’t a cook or a crafter or a maker of things so it never appealed to me, but some girlfriends and I were having a holiday ornament making party and the cover promised some tutorials on fancy ornaments.
But when I got home and actually began reading the magazine it became clear that her idea of “handmade” was way out of the skill set of my friends and the budget for the materials alone was more than any of us could afford.
These days it would never occur to me or, frankly, almost anyone I know to look anywhere outside of the internet for handmade ornament tutorials. And for those of us that have no desire to craft at the level of Martha Stewart, there are hundreds (if not hundreds of thousands) of women like me that have learned how to make fabulously adorable things and have shared how to do it on their blogs. The internet has provided a stage for, well, everyone, and women in particular have made use of it when it comes to lifestyle things such as crafting and cooking. Superstars such as Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, have been birthed from the blogging community. I imagine this is part of what drew Martha Stewart to speak at BlogHer in New York in 2012.
So you can imagine my surprise when a video of Ms. Stewart trashing bloggers surfaced today. Here’s the money quote, and be sure when you read that you do so in the super sarcastic and dismissive tone of voice that Ms. Stewart uses, m’kay?
“Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine. There are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of what really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create a kind of a popularity but they are not the experts. We have to understand that.”
According the Business Insider in 2012, Martha Stewart Omnimedia has seen a 40% decline in revenue, has laid off 10% of staff, and the stock has plunged from trading at almost $40 in 2002 to a mere $2.29 today. Don’t worry: Martha Stewart herself has managed to collect over $20 million from her company in the last few years, even though the company has failed to turn a profit.
In other words, bloggers are slaying her cash cow.
The critical mistake that Ms. Stewart is making in her statement above is this: bloggers, actually, ARE experts. One does not need to be an editor at Vogue (um, does Vogue offer a lot of Martha Stewart type content? I mean, I haven’t seen a copy in years, but last I checked not so much) to know how to make a wreath for your door. And, frankly, if Martha Stewart hasn’t tried out her recipe on a house full of picky kids, well, she’s not an expert recipe builder who is going to be any help to my family at all.
If you’ve read BlogHer’s Women and Social Media Report, you’ll see that time and time again, above and beyond all other information sources traditional media, Facebook, Twitter women trust bloggers the most. Why? Because unlike Martha Stewart, their lives look like ours. Instead of feeding our dogs at the table at The Plaza in NYC, bloggers are more likely to be posting on their blogs while nursing a baby, wearing dirty yoga pants, and helping with homework.
So it’s no huge surprise that Martha Stewart is trash talking bloggers. Becoming irrelevant has to suck.