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: 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?
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: 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?
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.