Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stepping On The Wrong Feet In The Mommy-verse Of Blogging

Picture me two years ago, blissfully unaware of bloggers except those of the political stripe. I seldom visited them but I when I did I would glance on posts from both sides of the political aisle. You are just as likely to find me on the Democratic Underground as you are to find me on the Free Republic. I am not a troll on either site and truly believe that both sides make valid points for their sides and are passionate about their beliefs. Somewhere in between the great divide lay the truth.

Then about a year ago I noticed all kinds of blog giveaways popping up on Online-Sweepstakes. I was curious and noticed that the odds of winning were better for me than a larger sweepstakes. I decided to give them a try. Many of them asked me for my blog's name and I had no blog. Well none unless you want to say my myspace diary was my blog.

So I dived into the world of blogging and decided to give it a try. I actually began winning some blog giveaways and for some reason, don't ask me why, I actually began to care if people showed up on my blog. At the time I was juggling work, sweeping, and three blogs. Craziness. If I wanted my blog to be successful I had to figure out where it was going, what it was going to be about, and how I would market it.

For one of my blogs, I have been surprised at its success. Well success in my opinion anyway. I have over 1,500 registered readers and over 9,000 page views per month. This still amazes me and began trying to figure out what other bloggers do to get their blogs in the major leagues.

It was not until I won my trip to BlogHer that I realized that there was a whole Mommy-verse out there. It seems that women write blogs that cover their baby's teething, first steps, diaper rash, and more.

What surprised me most of all was that there was a contingent of Mommy Bloggers who are superstars. They hold themselves out as Quasi-Rock Star, Reality-Show Moms who sometimes wonder just how much they should reveal about their lives and they are certain no matter where that line is drawn they are still leaving their followers begging for more.

Perhaps that is so. Maybe because I don't have any small children anymore, maybe I just don't "get it". While many of the women I met at BlogHer were very nice there were a few women who felt that not only was the pen mightier than the sword but that their Mommy blog controlled the universe.

For example, I stopped at one break-out where one Mommy blogger was complaining that she had been told that she would be test driving a new dishwasher but after waiting for almost a month the sponsor asked if she would please accept a new washer and dryer instead. She sighed that sigh of those who feel they have been incredibly inconvenienced and said, "I agreed but I think they should give me the dishwasher too for the inconvenience I have suffered." WHAT?

I realized very quickly that I was in the wrong kind of blogging business and I had missed the right one some 30 years ago. I slunk back to Georgia with my tail between my legs and decided to cut back a little on my work on this blog and focus more on my other blog. It seemed a better choice to work more on a successful blog than to plug away even more on one that seemed to have a small albeit, loyal following.

I think the thing I felt worse about was that I missed many of my old and dear friends at Online-Sweepstakes. There are so many of them whom I love and care for and it seemed like I had pulled back away from them. I felt so lonely.

This weekend I signed on to enter some sweeps and saw a post about a Mommy Blogger who is part of the "In Crowd" So Powerful that she called for a PR Blackout and there were lots of people jumping on the bandwagon.

Color me stupid but it just seems that if someone felt that doing reviews was overwhelming to them then perhaps, just perhaps, they should take a break from it for awhile. To me, the whole call for a Blackout seemed hypocritical and on the surface a blatant publicity effort for Oh wait, did you know that her PR Blackout was the same week she announced she was going to be blogging for Sam's Club???

So what you say? Am I immune from hypocrisy? Am I free to judge? Well I'm certain an extremely thorough examination of my life would discover instances of me not being the kind of person I would hope I would become. Fair enough.

Why then am I daring to step on the Toes of one of the Big Movers and Shakers in the Mommy-verse of Blogging?

This all goes back to OLS. This weekend I've been moving, unpacking, and other unpleasant chores. I decided to take a break to see what was going on in my home away from home OLS.

It turns out that the big controversy online involves none other than the owner of I almost didn't read the post. That was because I felt it would be another post talking about how some of the people on OLS don't like blog giveaways. I understand that. I really do. Something made me take a look though and I was shocked at what I learned.

Trisha, from decided to take some photos of people at an airport, post them on her site and mock them. Trisha is not a 15 year old girl, but one of the young women she chose to mock obviously is. We have young women in our country who have terrible body image. Some girls commit suicide or go to far to the other extreme by becoming anorexic.

This kind of behavior is grounds for writing a student up in most schools. Bullying is not acceptable. It reminds me of something Jr. High girls might do in the mall because they are so insecure about themselves.

It is very sad for me, a child of the sixties that a woman is still judged more by her outward beauty than any other aspect. My mother would say, "How do you know that this little girl might not grow up to discover the cure to breast cancer?" Even if she doesn't perhaps she will one day become a loving wife and parent and that is definitely saying something as far as I am concerned.

I couldn't imagine walking into my classroom and saying to a student "Oh Gosh you're fat." I've had a young lady in my class who was a "little Person". She was very sweet, very bright, and is now in college studying business (the class I taught her). What if instead of encouraging her I laughed and said "Oh my gosh you're way to small for those chairs in college?" I'd want to rip my own tongue out for such a thing.

By now, surely Trisha knows that there is a petition out there asking sponsors not to support her site. Someone has already informed her that people on OLS are contacting her sponsors. She claims she must now hide her personal posts because there has been a death threat. Really, a death threat? Well if that's true then that's wrong.

There are lots of people, like myself, that felt if we gathered in one place we could find sponsors for our sites. Like me they hear stories of women who are able to quit their day jobs and stay home with their family. They look at Trisha and say "Can you help me?" Some women reach out for the community of her site, but I suppose but I was never really part of that clique.

I've noticed that there are apologists for this particular post. One person said she was just trying to point out obesity is rampant in our country. True enough. Wouldn't it be better if you presented this information in a different way? Recently I posted a story about a 900 pound man who died on his anniversary. I didn't call him names. I didn't mock him. I pointed out that his wife felt that he needed medical attention that was out of his reach financially. I pointed out that people are wrong for mocking someone who is over weight while touching on the health crisis that the excess weight we carry as Americans has taxed our medical system.

So I stand now in solidarity with others from OLS who feel that poking fun of people you don't know is not acceptable. This is not the right thing to do and she should post that on her front page. Perhaps say, I'm wrong.

I had to do that myself. I published a story that I found very interesting about a man who posted his suicide note on MySpace before he killed himself. In this letter he was very specific in telling his friends and family that it was his seventeen year old girlfriends fault that he killed himself and then published her name, address, and cell phone number. Two days later one of the relatives of the man contacted me and told me that my post, which featured his suicide letter, was painful to them. Even though I knew the same information was available on several other sites I chose to take down the information. I also wrote a letter to his family apologizing for causing them such pain.

Obviously she doesn't know the name of her victim but she can rectify it rather than run away from it.

Please do not take this to be a post that is anti anyone who is a member of or Mommy bloggers in general. As I'm sure you know there are really great women out there and some of them blog. This post is aimed at the one post I read on I found it to be of the kind of quality one would expect of someone who is considered to be such a success.

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