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More On Dooce And HGTV: Is The Future of Mommy Blogging An Expansion of Platforms?

More On Dooce And HGTV: Is The Future of Mommy Blogging An Expansion of Platforms?

At Mom 2.0, I asked Heather Armstrong if she saw the kind of multimedia expansion she’s currently doing with HGTV as being the future of blogging. Her response was to say that she felt that her move to HGTV was an “expansion of the platform,” and she did not elaborate beyond that on whether she thought that this was the kind of thing that would be happening with more and more bloggers as time passed.

As much as I would have liked a more in-depth answer to work with, I think that this is probably the smartest way of answering that question, because the truth is, asking if other bloggers will be able to build their own brands to the extent that she has is like asking if any extra in a film is going to be able to pull off building an A-list acting career, as well as a production company on the scale of Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

Or something like that.

Because who the hell knows? Nobody on the web at present has the kind of crossover opportunity that Dooce does, except perhaps Ree Drummond (of Pioneer Woman). That includes all the big male web celebrities like Seth Godin, Jason Kottke, John Gruber, Merlin Mann, and whatever other SXSW regulars you feel like including in that mix. In terms of media appearances, they are small potatoes when compared to Dooce: they don’t get put on Time’s lists, they don’t get on Oprah, they don’t have multi-billion dollar conglomerates banking on building their web presence around their popularity. Even within the mommyblogosphere, where there is decidedly less hero-worship of Dooce, the number one search term on blogs with search widgets is Dooce. And while I’m sure this annoys people beyond belief, it also gives them traffic.

It would be impossible to say if expansion to TV is where bloggers are going, because, well — are any other bloggers going to where Dooce is going?

Context Happens

As part of her deal for content collaboration with HGTV, Heather Armstrong is writing weekly on the Design Happens blog at HGTV. Her first post went up on the evening of February 25, 2010. In short, the post documents how Dooce’s design choices are not always practical, using her choice of putting decorative butterflies (projectile butterflies) on the wall of her newborn’s room did not turn out to be the best of choices, because her second daughter, Marlo, is far more fidgety than her first child, who would never have grabbed something off the wall in this manner. In short, she ended up having to remove all of the butterflies because having projectile butterflies around a changing table is not a practical choice for a newborn’s room.

The post is pretty typical Dooce fare — take an everyday dilemma and make it funny by juxtaposing Heather Armstrong’s legendary perfectionist tendencies with the chaos of a life with young children, mix in a pinch of hyperbole, season with a few expertly processed pictures and a well-placed reference to the enduring practicality of Jon (her husband) and bake for 1000 words. The post deliberately begins with a design dilemma, which is of course part of the effort to meet the constraints of the Design Happens blog on HGTV.com, and presumably, the post is free from any kind of expletives as a result of its context on HGTV.com as well, though the title of the blog itself, Design Happens, is a pretty decent fit to the Dooce brand, even if it’s cleaned up, because by reference to a well-worn phrase, “shit happens,” HGTV has managed to capture the kind of edginess for which Dooce is known, even without the explicit use of a word that might be objectionable to the middle Americans in their audience.

The Design Happens Dooce might be cleaned up and more restrained, but there’s no question that it is Dooce. And, as far as I can tell, her post matches HGTV’s intention for the blog, which is to “[not] let bad design happen to your home!” by allowing “The HGTV team [to share] design inspiration to help you on your way to design victory.”

But what is fascinating about the post is not so much its content, but the different feeling one gets from reading it — the overall experience of reading it, that is — when removed from the experience of Dooce.com. The Design Happens blog is smaller than Dooce, more corporate, less visually appealing. And while they might be allowing Dooce to use some (corporately approved) pictures, they don’t let her present them in the full glory as they appear on Dooce.com, where even pictures that appear smaller are linked to huge, glossy versions of their originals — the kinds of pictures that make your mouth water, or want to crawl up inside of them with a good book, and buy all of the products depicted within them immediately.

On Design Happens, these are pictures of any old house, or any old newborn’s room with ill-advised wall projectiles. I suppose this blog is meant to funnel people to HGTV for the more deluxe content, but if Dooce is in charge of “convergence,” I have to wonder why they aren’t letting her do what she does best?

But I haven’t even got to the most interesting part yet.

The community engagement is the astonishing part. Bear in mind that Dooce gets hundreds, sometimes thousands of comments on her posts at Dooce.com. As of the time that I started writing this post this morning, Heather Armstrong’s post at Design Happens had 21 comments, which is not too shabby of a number of comments for a typical blogger like, say, oh, me. But I would imagine it felt a little strange for Dooce to have so few comments. And more disturbing was that, after the first few supportive or “I’ve been there!” kind of comments, the chorus of Dooce detractors take over the comment section, as they often do, whenever Dooce does anything on the internet. But what’s odd here is that the smaller number of comments make these Dooce detractors appear to be far more powerful and significant here than they do on Dooce.com — possibly far more significant and powerful than they actually are, actually. And to a certain extent, it doesn’t matter how powerful they actually are, because so much of what happens on the web and how power and money is allotted has to do with illusion.

The illusion, after twenty one comments, was that Dooce was not a good choice for HGTV. In fact, it was so overwhelming that I — of all people — felt compelled to leave a comment about the design technique depicted in the post. My comment, if not explicitly supportive of Dooce, was at least constructive and not detracting from the message of her post, and served to further the conversation (I thought) and downplay the significance of the other comments like

So is your point, hi I’m Heather, I have no common sense myself so let me tell you how to make dumb parenting design choices too? I just doing get it.

or

Is this point of this post supposed to be, “Be ye not so silly or stupid?” If it’s not, I can’t really figure out what the point is. Although, with some certainty in my opinion, I can tell you that it is not funny nor remotely interesting. Epic Fail HGTV. [by Kristen.]

or

WHO are you?

or

Heather you had like 400+ comments telling you what a bad idea this was. Oh but you knew better! We don’t have a design show, but it didn’t take much common sense just good parenting to know, that the flowers above her changing table were a horrible idea. Just like the pictures above her crib.

HGTV this is not your voice, this is just awkward This entry should have been something Heather put on her website, because no where in here is decoration advice. Just Dooce doing what she does…whine and defect.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to do this, but I think it has something to do with this: on Dooce.com, I don’t really pay attention to the people who detract, because there are so many supporters, and the whole Dooce brand appears so powerful, there’s no reason to feel bad for her. But in a new context, Dooce is a beginner of sorts — she’s got a new set of people to contend with, and yet she’s still getting beaten up like she’s the pro that everyone wants to bring back down to their level.

It’s funny what context can do.

As I kept writing, I noticed that Dooce came in and commented on the Design Happens blog, something she rarely (if ever) does on the comments for her own posts on Dooce.com. So my guess is the effect was not lost on her, either — bloggers who are starting out always comment back and forth in their comment section, and they find it hard not to comment when somebody shows up to say something negative. In a way, Dooce is back to her roots.

I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Comments (33)

  1. Feb 26, 2010

    You know, I had a visceral reaction when I saw those same 21 comments. I don’t ever read the comments on Dooce’s own site, because there are so many, and because they’re all either “You’re so fabulous!” or “You are the worst human on the face of the earth.” Pointless.

    But when I saw those nasty comments this morning, I was like, really? Really? You people needed to show up on this woman’s first day in a new job and line up to be the first to beat the shit out of her? Really?

    So now I’m rooting for Dooce to make it work about 87% more than I was yesterday. Before, I just wanted to see what happened (without doing too much damage to her family, which i think is the big danger here). Now, I actually sort of want to see her succeed. Because when you have people THAT nasty going after you, on your very first post, when you’re doing something none of us have ever done before…well, that makes you a very sympathetic character.

    So yeah. Context. Totally.

  2. Feb 26, 2010

    Yeah, it made me think, fuck, we should go cheer her on or something. Very interesting.

  3. sasha
    Feb 26, 2010

    You know, all I could think about after reading that piece was, “Why didn’t you just move the changing pad to lay on the floor when you had to change the child?” Protect the design, make baby safer during change. Crazy, I know.

    I guess I just didn’t get the whole point of the post, and I don’t follow Dooce, so I am not a Dooce supporter or detractor. Just someone who has had three kids, and tries to just make sure that things can be both pretty and functional.

  4. sasha
    Feb 26, 2010

    I meant, I didn’t get the point of Dooce’s post – to make it clear. I understand yours.

  5. Feb 26, 2010

    I don’t know why, but I look at it more along the lines of a blockbuster star making a really crappy movie. Or maybe Michael Jordan switching over to baseball. When you’re THAT big, and then you fall flat in your next endeavor? Whatever. There are plenty more good times coming down the pike.

  6. Feb 26, 2010

    I think they asked her to post about design dilemmas that she has had, because it sounds like that’s what her show is going to be about. This would be an example of how design has to fit form and function, so I guess it was to provide some food for thought on that topic.

    But let’s be honest — her real purpose is to drum up traffic and conversation on HGTV.com and get people to watch the show. And I think she’s probably doing very well at that, so I’d imagine HGTV is pleased. I cannot imagine she’s very happy about all of the negative feedback today, though.

  7. Feb 26, 2010

    That’s true, it’s not the end of the world even if she fails — not by a long shot. I guess my gut reaction was just that I could empathize with her again in this new context because she became not such a big presence there. It’s just strange how that can totally change your perception of a “brand” that is supposed to maintain some consistency across mediums.

  8. The thing is that, while it sucks that she’s getting flack on day one, moving to expand her platform will open her up to all these comments & more. I do think it’s all about context. Makes me think of the analogy that: Right now in the blogging world Heather is the senior girl every freshmen looks up to, but moving to HGTV & this whole new expansion is kinda like when the popular senior girl goes to college. It’s a really different world, people don’t care about how popular you where before you got there, & you have to prove yourself all over again. It’s going to be a transition for her & the whole family (as it is a family business) that just takes time. But I really hope that she is wildly successful because a) I like to see people succeed b) if she does well it opens doors for others.

  9. Feb 26, 2010

    Ooh, I went over there to read and I wanted to leave a nice comment too. I don’t understand why people feel like they can/should be so crappy to each on the internet, over something like wall appliques. I mean, this is not a debate on health care reform. If John Boehner posted a cute blog entry about the American people don’t want government-run health care, I would feel it was incumbent on me and like-minded people to kick the sh*t out of his viewpoint in the comment section. But here the stakes are, um, slightly lower. Why feel the need to dogpile on someone like that for her nice post about a baby’s room?

  10. Feb 27, 2010

    I understand HGTV.com wanting more traffic and thinking getting a high end blogger to help them with that, however, didn’t they expect that the nay sayers would not come along for the ride, too? Maybe it doesn’t matter, because hey, more traffic.

    The thing that bugs me is that no solution was given. Maybe that is not the point, but I thought there would be an element of we thought we could do it this way, but found that this way worked for our situation. Even if it is not Heather, herself, giving the solution. I just felt the post was left hanging.

  11. Feb 28, 2010

    Two things:

    “Detractor”

    Really? So basically what you are saying is if you don’t leave a comment telling her she is great, the show is great, her new blog is great then you are a “detractor” right? That is your point. Why can’t people just be honest? If it sucks and she is “not a good fit” then why can’t they say so? Why can’t people be honest and just say what they think without being labeled a “hater” or it seems the new catch phrase “detractor”. Maybe it does. Who knows? Even if it doesn’t why can’t people have their own opinion and actually share it? What a concept huh? There are film critics, food critiques, literary critics so why not blog critics? Why the ass kissing blind praise worship of All That Is Dooce? If you think she is great then cool, say so but if you think she sucks you should also be allowed to say so. Which brings me to my Second point:

    Why do you think there were so many negative comments on her “new” site? (other than the possibility that maybe it sucks) It’s not rocket science:

    Dooce does not let anyone criticize her her regular blog. All her gazillion comments are praise worship. She is famous for not allowing negative comments on her blog. (unless of course it is to steal comments from other people’s sites and put them on “special” page where she profits from them while claiming they came directly to her) Perhaps…. just perhaps those comments were left because finally they could be.

    Just a thought.

  12. Feb 28, 2010

    I went to the new HGTV post and uhm where are ALL of these “detractors”? I only saw maybe 5 comments in the negative. The rest were “Leave Dooce alone!” comments. I don’t get it. Can’t she stand up for herself? Does she really need all these people standing up for her? I’m not a lover or a hater I’m neutral, all I want to know is why do people magnify the hate? The people who left their “detracting comments” left them and then left. It’s all the other people who keep bringing them up.
    I see no chorus, except the one behind Dooce. And I agree with Renegade Moms.

  13. Feb 28, 2010

    Absolutely. I think the thing that was striking to me was that if this was a new blogger to HGTV’s blog, just some new employee, people would not have been so quick to jump on the commenting negatively thing. They might have thought the same things (I’m really not sure), but they wouldn’t have felt compelled to say them.

    There is a weird thing that happens when you cross over into a blogger who can be criticized. It takes time and it takes a certain amount of visibility. Dooce has it on her own site, of course, but in this context, she didn’t appear to until after she tweeted and got all of her followers over there — supporters or otherwise — to even things out.

  14. Feb 28, 2010

    Dooce is strangely polarizing. People have been writing me the past few days to say that I’m being too harsh on her, or to say that I’m being too nice to her. They cannot decide which it is. But yeah, it’s like, who cares? She had to move the damn things because her baby was grabbing them. Anybody who hasn’t had a baby recently could potentially make the same mistake, having a new baby makes your whole perspective change.

    And also? Who CARES?

  15. Feb 28, 2010

    I’m sure HGTV was well aware that Dooce would bring people, both supporting her and otherwise. I’m sure they’re fine with it, though I did notice that some of the comments had been deleted by an “admin.” So I guess they have a little bit stricter standards for what they will allow, which makes sense, since they are corporate and have a wider scope in their audience.

    No solution was given, but I’m not really clear on what her role is here. Is she the one providing the solutions, or the problems, for the show I mean? Because the promo video said that she had all these design “challenges,” but I don’t know that she’s going to be the one solving them — they might have another expert or something.

    Perhaps as we go along it will become clearer. Were you a regular reader of Design Happens before? I’m not sure if all their posts provide solutions or not, since I’ve never read it before the other day.

  16. Feb 28, 2010

    No, a detractor is not somebody who just fails to leave a positive comment or to kiss her ass, if that’s what you’re asking. I was referring to people who appear to delight in following Dooce around the internet and do these kinds of things, but touché: there is no way to know that the comments were left by such people, they could have just been honest opinions.

    My contention is that a completely disinterested, honest opinion would not be so vehement. People do not ordinarily get so worked up over bad design decisions deployed in other people’s homes. This was what made me make the logical jump to assume it had something to do with Dooce posting the story.

    I really don’t think that you can consider me a Dooce ass kisser, but feel free to check with her on that. Or actually, check with her husband, who has blocked me on Twitter and thinks that I’m crazy and/or smoking things for frame of reference.

    I write these posts to talk about the business phenomenon of Dooce and mommyblogging as a business, because it interests me and because it’s a peculiar problematic of the public and the private blurring into each other. I don’t do it to either blindly praise or blindly condemn Dooce. I think that’s pretty evident from my posts as a whole.

  17. Feb 28, 2010

    As I was careful to point out in my post, the effect was more evident when there were only 21 comments and five of them were negative, vehemently negative, which is an unusual reaction to have to a poor design decision deployed in somebody else’s home. I’m not standing up for Dooce, I’m just talking about the kind of stuff that happens once Dooce gets involved, and frankly, I’m not really sure why people are reacting so strongly to the idea that a public figure might have a legion of detractors.

  18. Yes, she really does have a different contingent that seems to be hell bent on following her with negativity. It’s not the same as the criticism that happens with intent to be fair to the person even if they disagree with the person’s work because there’s a way to express disagreement & not be an ass or make everything a personal attack, kwim? Even if it is a small contingent it can as you pointed out seem bigger in the context of HGTV’s site. But I’ve also seen some pretty awful comments on sites under articles about celebrities that are similar & serve no real purpose except to be rude.

  19. And I’ve gotta admit it makes you stop to think about what the outcome could be if your blog takes off, kwim? (at least I’m thinking it–what if it were me in that position?) It’s definitely not something that would be easy to handle or navigate for sure.

  20. Feb 28, 2010

    It’s not that people are “reacting so strongly to the idea that public figure might have a legion of detractors” It is the fact that she has a legion of hit moms who come out full force if ANYONE says ANYTHING that in ANY WAY critiques Dooce. There are honestly only a very small handful of people (not a legion) in the blogging world that say anything negative about her and it’s almost always prefaced with some disclaimer that they really don’t dislike her, or please don’t blast their page with comments that they are being mean to Dooce….it is evident that most people in the mom blahg world are scared to speak out and critique her because of her Mom Mafia. That’s why we made the Dooce Fan Guide. Yeah it was a joke and all but within the joke there was truth.

    Seriously there is not a “legion” of “Dooce detractors” but there are a handful of people out there who will speak the truth regardless of the backlash. As the saying goes “Don’t believe the hype”.

  21. Ilyka
    Mar 1, 2010

    Seriously there is not a “legion” of “Dooce detractors” but there are a handful of people out there who will speak the truth regardless of the backlash.

    Oh, come now. This is not a case of speaking truth to power. Y’all are not getting maced and arrested for protesting the Republican convention in New York. You are taking swipes at a mommyblogger. Join the club and everything, but please, let’s have some perspective.

    Dooce only has as much power as people are willing to give her. I don’t like her design aesthetic; it feels twee and affected to me. I’m not the sort to be bowled over by a haphazard arrangement of plates on a wall.

    But as Anna said above: Who CARES? If I take time out of my day to go over to HGTV’s web site and leave a comment to that effect, who’s really won? Not me! HGTV doesn’t care if the comments are negative or positive, because one of their goals in this Dooce deal is to get more eyeballs. If Dooce delivers on that, they’re satisfied.

    I like Beth’s analogy about the senior who goes to college. Maybe that’s why I’m not feeling the urge to TP her dorm room or anything. Weirdly for me and my shriveled black heart, I’m kind of worried about her. This is a lot of pressure for someone with her issues to be under. I’m not worried enough to leave a supportive comment like Anna did, but I can certainly sympathize with that impulse.

    Good stuff as ever, Anna. Cheers.

  22. Suzanne
    Mar 2, 2010

    Nice post Anna, I was thinking some of the same things about her being in new territory. On her own site, she would have typically made far more snarky comments about Leta – it is interesting to see her self editing a bit more.

    I think this whole venture is going to be very fun to watch. As you say “Dooce is strangely polarizing” and I’m wondering if people in this new audience, who know nothing about her or her blog, are going to have the same “love and hate” reaction to her. How will the non-Dooce followers who disagree or say negative things be treated by her and her fanclub?

    I’m also curious to see how she handles any criticism thrown her way by “professional” designers if any do. Will she do so with grace or will she act the diva.

  23. amy j.
    Mar 4, 2010

    I for one do care about HGTV putting her on. I am an HGTV fan, but their programming has become lackluster. I watch it much less than I used to. With their new season starting, as a viewer, I always look forward to new programs. But Dooce? Really? Crap. Here I am hoping for a show about how they stage Pottery Barn catalogs or something and they give me Heather and her problem with computer wires??

    I’m sorry, but she is not a designer. She’s some chic in Utah who likes design. I could care less about what she likes or thinks about design. When I watch HGTV I want people with actual design SKILL…not just good taste. I want to learn something I never would have thought of. Heather like post modern (so late 1990s), she shops on Etsy (who doesn’t), she likes Target’s clothes (yeah…and?) and IKEA is her nirvana. So, basically she is like every 30 year old, upper middle class woman in America?! Where is the spin on what “new” outlook she can offer me? I don’t see it, honestly.

    There are a few REAL designers on HGTV that I love. I only watch their shows, but they are highly skilled, experienced, trained. They redo a room and you are stunned at it’s beauty and clever design. Candace Olson. Need I say more. The woman is a God in the design field. I don’t tend to like the mini makeover shows/design on a dime/fast fixes etc. Anybody can do that stuff. I like learning from the experts. Heather is not one.

    So I feel shorted, honestly. I want to watch HGTV, but I have HouseHunters, Real Estate that can’t sell shows and now Dooce fixes her bad design choices…or doesn’t. Really? There aren’t highly talented decorators and designers out in the world who might bring in some new viewers for the network? I seriously doubt that. What about a show with designers to the stars? What about a show about a REAL decorator and how she runs her business and works with her clients…or him? What about the people that work with Target on it’s design? I would LOVE to watch that. What about a show about the North Carolina furniture mart…which stocks 80 percent of the furninture in America? Do I need to contact HGTV to give them so ideas for shows people would actually want to see?

    It’s a money grab, pure and simple. A demographics grab. It’s a rather pathetic attempt to broaden their horizons. But as I read on HGTV’s Facebook, most people don’t get it and are tired of the crappy program lineup they are providing nowadays. It has drastically changed from where it was a few years ago. Dooce is just the lastest in a series of poor choices for a cable network that seems to have jumped the shark.

    Ya know, really…Heather being part of the network really is just that, “jumping the shark”. It would be interesting to follow that line of thought regarding branding and what businesses do in desperation to try something “new” and different that could just, in the end, bite them in the ass instead.

    Nothing against Heather personally. I just don’t think this is where she is supposed to be. At least it’s not where she’s supposed to be for me. I will watch purely out of curiousity. They would have to come up with a really marvelous slant for this show that would make me want to watch it for any other reason. I’m dubious.

  24. Mar 4, 2010

    People get so defensive on both sides of this Dooce thing. I am getting emails from both people who say I am too hard on her AND people who think I’m not being hard enough. Some people think I’m jealous, others think I’m trying to kiss her ass. It’s like people cannot think clearly anymore once Dooce gets mentioned. It’s crazy.

    Thanks for your comment, Ilyka.

  25. Mar 4, 2010

    Suzanne, I think it will largely depend on how well she comes across on camera. People are ready to have new personalities on shows, so certainly people who don’t know her might watch her show and become fans. It all depends on the editing, which reminds me of how I WISH I had remembered to ask her about editorial control. Damn.

  26. Mar 4, 2010

    Amy, I love Kenneth Brown. He’s the guy who I watch who is always coming up with stuff I would never think to do. I used to watch HGTV all of the time, but recently I haven’t been watching, though I’m not sure if it’s because of the stuff on the show or if i just have less time, or what. Your idea about staging a Pottery Barn catalog is EXCELLENT. Seriously. You should pitch that.

    But I will be watching Dooce’s show, absolutely. Maybe not for the reasons that HGTV wants, but it still counts, right?

  27. amy j.
    Mar 5, 2010

    Ok, after reading Heather’s post today on Design Happens, I literally cringed. I was embarrassed for her. I’m sorry, but that post was the most desperate attempt to try an legitimize herself as a designer that she could have possibly done. I was thinking the other day that she might do such a thing, but hoping she would be smart enough not to fall into that trap. But, alas…

    Using her sister’s basement remodel as a test run for being a designer and then blogging it is very, well, amateur. Anybody could do that. Is that what HGTV is presenting her as…a woman who wants to be a designer, but has no experience or training, but is gonna just try it anyway? I still don’t get it. And I hope to goodness, this isn’t going to be on tv!

    I don’t care about what the average Joe does to remodel their house. I decorate like a pro according to my friends and they ask me to help them all the time. I don’t because I’m NOT a decorator professionally. I might give advice or whatever, but I’m not pretending I could remodel someone’s basement.

    Was it just me, or was this post awkward? It’s not like Heather to not be sure of herself, even with things she can’t do. She’s very much just attempting here in order to make this seem more reasonable…her being on HGTV…but it comes across as nervous or unsure or something I can’t put my finger on. Turning tile on the diagonal isn’t a design breakthrough after all.

    I guess what I’m saying is this…say someone bakes a cake and it turned out pretty good. Well, they wouldn’t just considering themselves a professional baker simply because they can make a cake or two and do it well, right? Lots of people have taste. Lots of people know good design when they see it. But does that make them qualified to decorate people’s spaces “professionally”?

    HGTV doesn’t seem to be directing this thing with Heather…it’s like they told her to come up with her own “gimmick”…so far, not so good. They need a production person to meet with her ASAP.

    My prediction: She buys a sectional sofa (big enough for a family of seven) and acts like that was an ingenious idea. Oh, and it will have stain resistant fabric to withstand kids…perhaps and indoor/outdoor fabric, lol. See what I mean? It’s just too predictable. Heather does have skill…a good eye, good taste. She’s clever. Surely to Pete she can do something less cliche than this. I do find myself not wanting her to embarrass herself…two tries now and she’s not doing so hot. Someone throw her a lifeline…give her some good advice on how to do this and not seem foolish, quick.

    Why don’t they…seriously (hello Heather or HGTV) have her be a host on a show about Etsy!! She could interview the designers they spotlight on there all the time…and even tour people’s homes who have used their products in their design asethetic!!?? I’d say 80 percent of their audience hasn’t even heart of Etsy!

    She could do a show on how design is everywhere. She is always showing off product design…why not do something about that? Hell, why not just do a show about all the design blogs…apartment therapy etc. She could host that and make the tie between the two worlds. I can think of, off the top of my head, 10 ideas of how they could utilize her to the best of her ability. THIS is not it, at all. And every single bit of it uses things she likes, uses and has talked about as part of her life. That is the key to make her seem natural in this. Having her play “designer for a day” is NOT it.

  28. Mar 5, 2010

    Oh, I don’t know. I thought it was a step in the right direction, and I liked the way she had used her sister’s house instead of her own, that was a nice sidestepping of potential complaints that she tends to get about how much money she makes, et cetera.

    I’m willing to go along with this for a while. She’s not a professional designer but you know many people go into it without formal training. I have no formal training as a web designer, but people still pay me to work on their blogs.

    I’m all for schadenfreude, but I think we have to be more tolerant of her trying to get her bearings. I’m not going to pan her just yet. She might surprise us.

  29. amy j.
    Mar 5, 2010

    Ok…well, HGTV DOES have a “First Time Design” show…regular person doing a job. This is where they are sticking Heather, I bet you anything. She sounds just like Heather, lol…”I’ve grown up watching HGTV”…”I think I might be able to do this.”

    Good gravy. I’m gonna watch and see if this will suck as badly as I think it will, lol.

  30. amy j
    Mar 5, 2010

    I’m not saying she couldn’t do it Anne. What I’m saying is that people trying to become designers is not why I watch HGTV. It’s like a reality show or something. I don’t care about whoever trying to or wanting to be a designer. I watch to learn something. That show I just watched, “First Time Design” was utterly boring. The girl had some taste. Good. She was pretty and fashionable and easy to watch. Fine. Other than that, I got nothing from the show. Well, except maybe she might be hired by someone to decorate their house one day.

    You see my point? Viewer tunes in to get something for themselves on this network, not just watch people do stuff. At least, that’s how I am. I wouldn’t watch that show again.

    This isn’t about Heather…like on her blog. This is about what she would offer a viewer to HGTV. As of now, I got nothing. I’ll watch too…but it won’t be just to see how she does. I want her to show me something that will enlighten me in terms of design or decorating…make me Google it or whatever, ya know.

  31. Suzanne
    Mar 8, 2010

    I just read her post at Design Happens today, and got a weird vibe from it myself so I figured I’d see if Anna or someone had anything to say about her post to help me figure out what bothered me about it so much. Admittedly, I am not a big fan of Heather’s “design skills” – her adding more “style” posts/sections is one thing that made me drop her from my daily reads actually. My interest is watching to see if she can pull off the leap from blogger to HGTV personality. It occurred to me while I was reading here that her “new voice” – as in she seems like she is blogging as Heather now instead of Dooce – has her seeming a bit more “stuck-up” and I’m wondering if I’m the only one feeling that. This post actually left me feeling a little bad for her sister and brother in-law even in a way even though she’s doing a good thing by footing some of the bill. I know I’m looking at it from my perspective – if my sister came waltzing in calling foul on a project I was working on I’d be more than a bit miffed. The whole tone of it brought her down a notch on the likability scale for me. I think on Dooce she might have told the story a bit differently and with more of her twisted humor. Then it occurred to me that her humorous attempt at comparing herself to Candace annoyed me as well because – she is just a famous blogger who is being given this amazing opportunity – she is NOT in her design league by a longshot. It almost made me want to go post a snarky comment and I realized that – holy cow – now I get why people do so. Anyway. That I’m even reacting like that surprised me so I am really wondering even more how the normal HGTV crowd is going to take her. It will be interesting to see if she refines her on camera persona as well. Though the thought of her doing a jazz hands shingles type thing and scaring the daylights out of the viewers would be kinda priceless.

    Also, I went through the comments on that post and realized that the “haters” blatantly missing. Have they been moderating them or have they grown tired of the hunt? I almost want to make that snarky comment now to see if it gets posted but I won’t. It seems pretty obvious that its mostly her fans commenting since the bulk of the posts on the site get no more than 10 or so comments (except for the Friday Freebies) – I’d find it hard to believe the normal audience is suddenly speaking up because of her.

  32. Belinda Gomez
    Mar 22, 2010

    I thought the latest post sounded like a tryout for a blogger gig at Apartment Therapy–where everything has to end with a question. Why didn’t HGTV get Design Sponge or another established design writer (Alyssa Walker who used to write UnBeige) rather than Heather? She’s not an interior designer, and while her site looks great, and her writing can be fun, she’s not impressing me with her interior design skillz.

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