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The Mommyblogger Is Dead. Long Live The Mommyblogger.

The Mommyblogger Is Dead. Long Live The Mommyblogger.

This is not my definitive post on BlogWorld Expo 2010. It is only the second day, and I can already tell you that the conference is very well-run, and that I’ve seen things implemented here that are exemplary from an organizational standpoint and from the perspective of ensuring that the population’s needs are being met. I will discuss this more at length next week. The purpose of this post is to explore my first impressions of the distinctively different experience of attending a conference out among the regular(?) humans, instead of just with the mommies.

To call BlogHer a conference full of just mommies is already a misrepresentation, of course, and even though the BlogHer community is full of women and men of all types, we often act as if it is all mommies. I would guess that the reason the mommyblogosphere is not always welcomed with open arms into the rest of the internet has something to do with this fact. Alternatively, It may have something to do with our penchant for pink sidebars, cursive fonts, and stock graphics of martinis interwoven with pacifiers.

At any rate, I thought that my conversation at the Liquid Lounge last night with Larry, a marketing (?) rep with Izea, was worth relating because of its reflection of how mommyblogging is generally viewed by the internet as a whole. One of the benefits of being a sober alcoholic is that I’m often one of the only people who is cognizant enough at these kinds of functions to remember embarrassing and incriminating conversations the next morning to broadcast them to the rest of the internet. I’m kind of like a CIA plant, and at this conference I’m uniquely well suited to the job since the conference has about 60/40 male to female ratio during the day, but at the nighttime events the ratio slants much further to the male side, and it’s always been my experience that you can get men to say stupid things in the context of bars, particularly if you are a woman and they think you might be a PR representative at first, rather than just another blogger.

Larry came up and introduced himself, asked me what my name was.

Larry: Meredith?
Me: Anna.
Larry: Oh, Anna. I’m with Izea. Do you know us?
Me: Oh. Yeah. [Thinking: you’re the ones who send me annoying emails every other day.]
Larry: What do you do?
Me: I’m a blogger.
Larry: You’re a blogger?
Me: I’m a blogger.
Larry: What’s your blog?
Me: ABDPBT.
Larry: . . .
Me: I’ll just give you my card.
Larry: Wow, this is a . . . this is a card.
Me: See it’s All But Dissertation Pretzel Brain Twist. Never mind. It doesn’t matter.
Larry: So you have your master’s degree?
Me: Yes. But. Never mind.
Larry: What do you write about?
Me: Well, originally it was a mommyblog, but now I write about the business of mommyblogging.
Larry: Really?
Me: Really.
Larry: How do you feel about mommyblogging?
Me: How do I feel about it?
Larry: Yeah. Are you pro or con? [Making thumbs up and thumbs down sign, coupled with questioning face.]
Me: Well I find mommybloggers fascinating.
Larry: You do?
Me: Yes. They are fascinating. It’s a fascinating community. It’s a fascinating phenomenon. I find all of it fascinating.
Larry: It’s a fad.

Me: A fad?
Larry: It’s like Justin Bieber.
Me: So, you mean, there will always be another one of them, then?
Larry: What?
Me: There will always be another mommyblogger to take the place of the one who just was a fad, and who just went out of style.
Larry: Where do you see your blog going, though?
Me: I see it talking about the business as it continues to develop. As it continues to burn through the next series of Biebers. And the series of Biebers after that.
Larry: [Wanders off to dance with programmer from Microsoft.]

There are some mommybloggers at this conference. Not a ton, but some. Predominantly, though, this is a conference filled with marketing and public relations people, tech people, and people from various aspects of the entertainment business. This is a conference where the mommies are given one panel on the revolutionary topic of blogging for money, not swag (sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, of course), at the back of a dark hallway. Mommyblogging is a small niche — a small, insular, rich niche, that is not well-respected by much of the rest of the internet. Coming to this conference has made this more apparent to me than ever.

But is mommyblogging a fad? I don’t think so. I think that women will continue to leave the workforce to have children and seek the community that blogging provides. As long as women are controlling the household budget, advertising dollars will be spent on trying to capture their attention, and mom blogs will be monetized. Saying mommyblogging a fad is like saying that having children is a fad: we will be able to burn through trust capital and Biebers with sponsored posts for as long as we want, because there will always be another one to take the place of the one who has fallen out of favor. Is it a bleak portrait? Maybe. But that doesn’t make it incorrect.

Comments (15)

  1. Oct 15, 2010

    Fascinating! I’m somewhat averse to attending mommy blogging conferences — I haven’t been to any, in fact — and thought BWE10 would be more of the same. It sounds like I was wrong in assuming this, and probably missed out on a good chance to connect with others with similar interests and blogs like my own. Crap!

  2. Oct 15, 2010

    I agree. Also, that guy sounds like kind of a dick. Especially considering the fact that Izea markets like woah to Mommy Bloggers. (With the emails, good lord. No, I don’t want to write about Sam’s Club baby formula. And I’m pretty sure tech bloggers don’t either.)

    I think it would be helpful for many who think they’re heavy hitters to head to a conference like BWE or SXSW to get some PERSPECTIVE. Yes, mommy bloggers have some clout and power but lordy day there’s a shitload of other STUFF on on the Internet.

    As far as people disrespecting mommy blogging or considering it a fad, well… that’s to be expected. It irks me but it doesn’t surprise me.

  3. Oct 15, 2010

    I find it rich that a guy from Izea wanted to preach to you about how mommyblogging is a fad. He should’ve properly introduced himself as “I’m with Izea, you know, the company that used to be PayPerPost but was then so continuously maligned for our sleazy business practices that we changed our name, hoping that in one fell swoop everyone would forget the past AND we’d suddenly sound more important.”

    Did you see this AdWeek piece that classified any female blogger with kids under 18 in the home as being “mommybloggers” no matter what they write about? My eyes rolled so far back in my head, they’re still stuck. Now back to my little fad-ish hobby!

  4. Oct 15, 2010

    Yeah, I don’t think mummyblogging is a fad – there will always be women who need the community that writing about their kids brings. I do think that whichever popular blog of the moment is a fad, and I will admit to hoping that some of those shiny bright ‘top’ bloggers explode sometime soon, but that’s my issue, no one elses.

    I’ve noticed too that lack of respect from outside of the mummyblogosphere – I wrote about it once and got quite a few oblivious comments ‘I didn’t think the internet thought of us like that’. Yeah, sorry, they do. And even though I’ll shameless cop to being a mummyblogger on one of my blogs, I know how we’re thought of and I *try* to think that I’m doing this with open eyes. I’m probably not.

    Interested to hear more about Blog World Expo. I think sending some of the big bloggers in mummyblogging there for perspective would amuse the hell out of me. But then, sometimes I’m not very nice.

  5. Oct 15, 2010

    Women have been finding ways to keep their brains occupied during the diaper-changing years for as long as they’ve been having babies. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of a fad.

    The medium may change, and the names my change…but women wanting to be heard, and to connect with other people outside of their own homes? That’s never going away.

  6. Oct 15, 2010

    He was totally a dick. Also, I think he may have been a little disappointed to find out that I was a mommyblogger rather than, say, a PR rep for one of the brands there. But yes, Izea heavily markets to mommies, and obviously the advertisers pander to them. But the fact is this is a small niche with negligible traffic if you compare it to the other niches out there. And if you look at how it’s viewed by the rest of the internet, it’s quite interesting. The mom bloggers who are at this conference tend to be ones who are quietly making money from their blogs — they are not necessarily the ones that you think of right away as the heavy hitters, but they are ones who have found ways to monetize, and many of them are among the most professional.

  7. Oct 15, 2010

    I spoke to somebody from a new ad company startup today who was explaining to me about why that was, something to do with the metrics of it all. Lifestyle, design, parenting, home and garden, it has to do with the types of blogs that are grouped together in CPM packages for ad buys. It sounds far more offensive than it actually is, because of the “mom” label, but I think the fact that the person is a mom is not as essential as it sounds. It’s more like “female head of household” or “female head of household spending” oriented blogs.

    But yeah, fad. That’s what you get when you put alcohol in a late twenties kid.

  8. Oct 15, 2010

    I’ve noticed many mommybloggers tend to avoid this conference. I kind of wonder why. I have to assume it’s because they don’t already know people here, so they’d have to go too far outside of their comfort zones.

  9. Oct 15, 2010

    No, this was a kid who has no idea what it is that would make moms decide to blog. He thinks that the fact that the media and advertising people have started paying attention to mom bloggers in recent years is an indication that it’s a recent thing, and that it’s a fad. There’s no possible way he could understand the perspective of what it is to be at home with young children, when you’re used to being out with adults, and being engaged intellectually. It’s just impossible for somebody like that to get it.

  10. Oct 15, 2010

    I;m female, head of grocery shopping for me a and my uni going partner. So I fit 😉

    Oh and I’m a later 20s kid and love my alcohol 😉

  11. Oct 15, 2010

    Then he doesn’t get ANY personal bloggers?

  12. Oct 16, 2010

    Interesting post, Anna.

    You’re right that mommybloggers (for want of a better label) are a small niche within the overall online sphere. However, at the same time they’re a very tight-knit and connected community as they’re going through a common experience that’s much more personal and life-changing than most other bloggers’ topics. For that reason, combined with the purchasing power you mention, they do wield influence, both within the niche and with others outside.

    So, for someone to approach you, say something pointed about a demographic on which his business should value highly then walk away without clarifying his point or offering any caveats shows a bit of a lapse in judgement. I suspect that in the cold light of day (and sobriety) he would regret those words.

  13. Oct 16, 2010

    I’m not surpised in the least. The key word here is Mommy. That is a very personal, loving word that your kids call you. Trying to make the business community respect that word is an impossible task.

    I’ll guess 99.9% of men have never read a personal blog written by a female parent and believe they are all frothy pieces of lace containing nothing but anecdotes about giving enemas to constipated children and pictures of family vacations.

  14. Oct 17, 2010

    Know what’s a fad? Pay-per-post.

  15. Oct 17, 2010

    Thank YOU! Finally, someone speaking sense. I’ve seen people declaring the end of mommyblogging for the past year or so, and it never ceases to amaze me. A blogger recently said haul blogs are going to take the place of mommybloggers. Who do they think gives those kids all that money to blow?

    Follow the money. The money will be with mommybloggers for as long as mommies make spending decisions.

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