Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Being Real in the Momosphere

I've been reading about the call to keyboard for authentic writing in the momosphere for the first week of August. It seems there are camps forming with two distinct themes. One is that being courted by businesses with a variety of giveaway goodies for the purpose of honest assessment and word of blog publicity is a good thing for women who blog. It's like having a "big girl" job. The other pov laments the takeover of real dialogue, deep thoughts, shared beliefs and community in favor of poorly written drivel and arguably deceptive posts.

My eyes hurt from all the rolling.

Most of the commercial mom blogs I read, or have skimmed, are businesses. And there is nothing wrong with a blogger taking advantage of the commerciality of their work. The net is the last frontier as far as low cost start-ups go and more power to you if you can convince someone to pay you for doing something you enjoy.

But here is the problem I have. These women, as far as I can tell, aren't getting paid. They are taking stuff. Maybe they sell it later on eBay to recoup expenses for their time and maybe not, but since when did "stuff" constitute a living? And when a blogger is willing (and plenty seem to be) to be compensated in goods what happens to the writers/bloggers who would rather have cash? I mean, not every mommy blogger has a daddy paycheck earner to take care of the pesky expenses, and last I heard, the people who hold your mortgage aren't keen on barter.

Here's the other thing that doesn't compute for me. How are we a community, or cyber friends even, when you are writing to convince me to buy things. That's almost as annoying as the friend who takes up Pampered Chef or Mary Kay or sex toy parties because now our friendship is threatened by an unspoken coercion that involves me feeling obligated to buy and you needing me to buy in order to maintain the flow of freebies and advertising. And now I am not a "dear reader" or a friend but rather a customer.

The bloggers at Momdot want moms to blog authentically for the first week of August. To just shut down the PR (it's unclear to me if this includes all the ads in the sidebars which make pages load so slowly) and get back to basics. Which begs the question of what a mom is to do if she began blogging simply to milk the cash cow but that is a call for others to decide.

Some are not really down with this. They are proud of the businesses they have built and rightfully so. If you are blogging for profit and are good at it and your "friends" are totally cool with funding you, the fact that it is a quasi-ponzi scheme shouldn't be an issue.

More and more I am uncomfortable in the momosphere. I have always been clear on the fact that I began blogging for me and it continues to be "all about me" which is probably too boring for most. And I am totally rethinking my connections with mom grogging because I am not allowed to be utterly me and write about women issues, wants, dreams, dilemmas, only some of which are mom-oriented. At my age, why should I care what companies think I need or should want? They are only interested in my money and will shill and wheedle and flatter their souls away to sell it to me. Their power? Lies in my willingness to buy and in someone else's willingness to sell themselves cheaply enough to promote it to me.

I just don't understand taking crap as payment - and if I have to dust, store, or pick it up and move it from one place to another - it's crap. It's like the white traders in the early days of North America buying land and goods from Native Americans with glass beads and cutlery. I don't remember who wrote this, maybe it was Konrath, but the sincerest form of flattery for a writer, and I think blogging counts as writing, is a paycheck, and if you aren't doing your bit to promote the idea of money as currency for writers than you are not a writer and you are hurting real writers with your posing. You are kind of like scabs who cross picket lines, under-cutting the common good for selfish gain.

"But I am feeding my family!"

Really? With movie passes and WiiFit?

We (and when I say "we", I mean "you") will always be ghetto-ized as Mommybloggers so long as the majority of us are mesmerized by the sprinkles tossed our way like bootie shaped confetti decorating a table cloth at a baby shower. We will not be taken seriously as a group or a force. And the sad thing is - we (and by "we" I mean "all women") could be a force if our more prominent members weren't so content to be stereotypes.


Pamela said...

You make some good points and ask some good questions.

In my perfect world I would get tons of free, useful stuff AND get paid to write the rest of the time.

But I'm a way imperfect writer, and don't know how to fish in the paycheck pond.

As for momdot? Whatever. If you want to read blogs that have really good writing, read them. That's what I do.

mommara said...

Seriously I could have written this post myself. Honestly (and while its fun to sign up for a giveaway from time to time) I get annoyed that some Mommy blogs are nothing but their opinions of products and random giveaways.

I would like to know the mommy that is giving her opinion! Is she anything like me? Should I trust her opinion.

If as a mommy blogger business all you do is showcase the free stuff. Are you really a mom blogger or just a Blogger about stuff, who happens to have kids.

BUT, I am just a mommy blogger, what do I know.

M.J. said...

I had no idea what the momosphere was until the 3rd paragraph of your post--I was reading "momo" with long o's!

M.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lora said...

Ann, I have such an issue with this. I hate the whole thing, and I'm so glad you wrote on this. (here is my take on the thing:

I just get so damned furious when bloggers that I love(d) get wrapped up in the commercialism aspect of the whole thing. I'm a grown up. I can make my own choices in cooking sprays. I read blogs because I need to feel connected to other moms, and when they start to slide into that groove where products and toys become more important than sharing emotion and experience, I immediately delete them from my feeder. It happens so often, and I get it, I really do, but I don't like it

well read hostess said...

Can we still be friends even though I asked Mercedes to send me a car?

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I just came across your blog and wanted to say hi! I'm pretty new to the whole blogging thing, and don't really get all the ads and freebies (although I like to sometimes try to win if someone I'm already following is giving something that I can USE away! READ = HOUSE CLEANING!) but I'm still blogging away and trying to be me! Hope to chat some more and take advantage of your yummy recipes. I LOVE spaghetti!