Continued from last weeks post The Death of Blogging.
It’s not about you.
One of the things I have noticed is that those who proclaim the death of blogging are really shouting “my blog isn’t doing as well!” Here is a fun excerpt from Wired Magazine circa 2008 (funny how that feels like such an eternity ago in digital time.)
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
If you quit now, you’re in good company. Notorious chatterbox Jason Calacanis made millions from his Weblogs network. But he flat-out retired his own blog in July. “Blogging is simply too big, too impersonal, and lacks the intimacy that drew me to it,” he wrote in his final post.
Update: Two years later Calacanis went on to start “This Week in Startups.” A far-reaching innovative project that was to simultaneously deliver content via audio and video over their website, their YouTube channel, and iTunes. Two years after that, they pulled the plug. As of 2014, there are still a lot of blogs.
The absolute narcissism of the professional class when it comes to blogging is amazing to behold. The feeling is that if some pajama-wearing neophytes are doing well, then they should be able to step in and dominate based on their training and experience. The thing about blogging is that it doesn’t matter what college you went to or what dinner parties you attend, you need to provide unique, interesting, and engaging content. Fill a niche, scratch an itch.
I discovered a great, but nerdy, example of this a few weeks ago. For Christmas last year my son received a Lord of the Rings card game. Surprising everyone, my tradeable card playing game skills are weak as I’d never played (something my wife claimed went heavily in my favor in comparison to her other suitors.) The game went on a shelf until the temperature rose to 112 degrees, and we needed “inside” things to do. Reading the rules, I immediately found them near incomprehensible and retreated to Google. There I found the “Tales from the Cards” blog which talks about nothing but this single card game. Using this blog we were able to quickly pick up the game and enjoyed it immensely.
Many people would scoff at the idea that this guy runs a heavily updated blog that focuses on a single niche card game. But he gets healthy traffic and isn’t even the only blog dedicated to the game. I would have had no idea something like this existed right up until the moment I found it useful, then it couldn’t be discounted. Success in the blog world is happening in literally millions of places that we can’t see. The depth and breadth of detailed information and entertainment that can be found is staggering. Keep in mind that the way I would have viewed this blog a few months ago is the same way that many of these “professionals” would view “mommy blogs.”
And About Mommy Blogs. . .
In his book, “Army of Davids,” Blogger Glenn Reynolds makes the point that the power that can be wielded by a single person with the existing web platform can rival that of a large corporation or even an entire nation state just several decades ago. There really isn’t a gatekeeper that can hold someone back. There is no need to be “published” in magazines or be featured in a media story to gain traction for yourself or your product. For those invested in the previous status quo, this is scary and they will do all that they can to minimize this realization. Thus the dismissal of blogging and especially “mommy blogs.”
Keep in mind the term “mommy blogger” is meant to be dismissive. It is meant to pigeonhole the work women bloggers are doing and trivialize it. Fortunately the community has “owned the insult.” This is a time-honored American tradition of taking an epithet thrown at you and adopting it, turning it into a strength, and ultimately turning it to your advantage, kind of like the American Colonists did with the song “Yankee Doodle” during the Revolution. To happily adopt the term “mommy blogger” and succeed anyway is almost like twisting the knife to your critics.
Make no bones about it the Mommy Blog Community is powerful. The community model is built on lifting one another rather than competition, and is a rather unique concept. For those who have only experienced the blogosphere inside this community you probably wouldn’t realize what exists outside. A good experiment would probably be to visit and perhaps post some of your work to Reddit. Be sure to wear your fire-proof underwear!
Indeed this culture of consideration has risen the mommy blogger community as a group. As you might have read, we track Klout and Alexa scores of the sites we visit, ostensibly for research purposes, but mainly because it scratches that voyeuristic itch and is darn interesting. It is evident when visiting our normal sites that mommy blogs are at a tremendous advantage over non-networked sites. Much of this is because there is ample guest blogging, cross-site pollination and activity, as well as things like “blog hops” which happen almost nowhere else. Indeed, nowhere else in the blogosphere are bloggers THAT interested in the success of their “competition.”
Its unique and the innovations made by mommy bloggers don’t stop there. It amuses me that many of the mommy bloggers that sometimes visit this site have a stronger social media plan and presence than a lot of corporations and public entities. Keep in mind that people, and generally more than one, are hired full time to provide this service to a company and a mom blogger does it in her spare time, and usually does it better. They do it by standing on one another’s shoulders by sharing best practices and therefore innovating. It’s fun to watch.
So because of this, I would state that, far from dying, the art and innovation with Mommy Blogging is just getting started. It’s definitely a growth area attracting voices that have never traditionally been heard from which are, in turn, strongly supported within a community. New technology will come along, but will be used to augment the movement rather than tear it down. The only interesting thing to see is if the traditional media will recognize it before it totally overwhelms them. No longer do women need someone to speak “for” them as they can now speak “to” whomever they want. It is definitely instructive as well as exciting.