Does Moving On Up Have To Mean Losing Touch? Update On The Blurbodoocery Housing Situation & Some Open Ended Questions
Well, the three-part update on Dooce’s housing situation is now complete, and it looks like the Armstrongs will indeed be moving, just as we suspected, even if HGTV is not (immediately) involved. I say immediately here because, at the end of the fourth post, Dooce made a reference to the “opportunities” that are offered by this new house, and that makes me wonder about things . . . even if the pictures she posted make it look like a lot of renovation has already been done on this particular house and I’m not sure how much HGTV is necessarily going to need to come in and do. First of all, congratulations to the Armstrongs on their home purchase because, schadenfreude aside, the process of a home purchase is a bitch and I don’t care who you are, it sucks. It’s nice to have it over with — we can all set aside our jealousy over the beautiful home for a moment and allow that it probably was a stressful time for the whole family, given that home buying under the best of circumstances always is. And at the very least, this explains why she was acting like getting bumped from CBS This Morning was such a big deal, because if I flew to New York in the middle of my house being closed and was relying on a hotel fax machine, and then found out that I was bumped, you bet your ass I would have made it seem like a big deal. Of course, I also would have said — you know, I know it seems like a stupid thing to complain about, but we are in the middle of buying a house, so that people would know why I was acting like a diva.
Anyway. Some thoughts.
A three part dénouement seems to have ruffled some feathers. I (yes, me! WTF?!) received some complaints via email about how Dooce set up last Thursday (July 1) as the day she would finally be able to reveal the big news she hadn’t been able to talk about for so long, and then she waited until late in the day to post. When she finally did post, it was only one part in the series. Then, she posted a second post in the series, before a holiday weekend. Finally, the last in the series was yesterday, where she revealed that they did get the house, albeit with some accompanying drama and all-cap letters, and this news was greeted with the lackluster reception of 163 comments. Personally, I’ve never had 163 comments on a post, but for Dooce, that’s nothing — her comments have been far fewer in number since she opened her Community site, since a lot of the conversation that used to take place in her comment section now takes place over there, but still 163 comments for such big news is not a huge reception. And people emailing ME, of all people, to complain about what they think are pageview tactics, is an odd twist, I have to say, because . . . uh, I don’t know. It just is.
Regarding pageview tactics. Listen, we all do it. My new glossary — I hope, I think! it’s good content, but I’d be lying if it’s not a pageview tactic. Even if my income is not based on pageviews anymore, it helps me to get more pageviews. It helps my site look more successful to advertisers. If you click on those glossary pages, it helps me. So, you try to balance out the pageview tactic with what is in it for the reader. Maybe this wasn’t worth 3 parts is what you’re saying . . . because the news was that they got the house, and that’s what you wanted to know, SPILL IT, ARMSTRONG. Point taken. But it does sound like a lot of stress, so maybe it wasn’t so much a pageview tactic as it was a desire to be able to have blogged everything that happened as it had happened, but it sounded forced because it was after the fact. This is the problem with blogging once you become BIG. Once you become BIG, and you cannot blog the same way you are used to doing things, things get tougher, and I’m thinking this might be one of her problems — because, yes, maybe it was a pageview tactic, but I am thinking it was more like she was wanting so badly to bitch to her audience about what happened during the time that it happened, and when she finally could bitch to them, it came out like she was just trying to get them to run up pageviews because it was three posts all in a row.
Which brings me to my next point . . . can you move on up without losing touch?
This is what I hear about Heather Armstrong and The Armstrongs lately: they are out of touch, they have lost touch with reality and/or her readership. They don’t know what regular people are like anymore. While I think it’s possible she has lost touch with her readership, I find it hard to believe that she’s lost touch with regular people. She still lives in a regular world, with regular people. They may have more money than they used to have, but they are not so famous outside of the internet that they cannot function like normal people. The problem is that she built a readership of people identifying with her when she was unemployed and living in her parents basement, and now she’s running an empire, and some of those people are still living in their parents’ basements. And now they resent her, because in their minds, they put her where she is.
So now what? Because she cannot really just leave them behind, right? Because they did, in a way, put her there. But on the other hand, why should she have to limit herself or feel beholden to that? Why shouldn’t she be able to enjoy what she has built? I don’t have any answers here. I am trying to figure out what I would do if I were in her place.
Glossary terms: Penelope Trunk, Dooce