Man-Day Post: The Death of Blogging: Part 2

In Blogging, Man-day by Jensguy23 Comments

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.

Jen’s Guy

 

Comments

  1. What a great follow on from last weeks ManDay post. I like reading articles that make me chew the cud.

    I think that the power that ‘Mommy Bloggers’ have is that they are in touch with reality and tend to keep it simple. Big cooperation’s are only interested in what they can get out of anything they do, after all they are businesses. Whereas a blogger may have the dream of their blog turning into a money making venture, but that is not usually why a blogger starts a blog, they start it because they have something they want to share with similarly like minded people.

    There is always power in numbers, so I don’t think that many bloggers will be shutting down their blogs just because some bigwigs have stated that blogging is a dieing pastime/hobby/business. I for one have not long started my blog, so I’ll just keep plodding, posting and interacting with other bloggers for as long as it pleases me and won’t be dictated to by bigwigs.
    Debbie recently posted…The Mommy Reality Challenge #7 – The Essence Of SummerMy Profile

    1. If your desire is even just to sharpen your skills then your blog has already been a success. Everything on top of that is just gravy. Just imagine a whole army of women who possess the skills and means to tell their own stories instead of having to have big media or politicians speak for them. That is huge and is just getting started. That is real freedom and equality and brings gladness to my soul. I have always had the sneaking suspicion that many women’s “advocates” are speaking for themselves most of the time and were unfairly awarded their platform because they said things that larger powers wanted said. The mommy blog community will eventually democratize that process to a greater degree as well as spread the sponsorship dollars. It would be nice to have the advertising dollars work for the “voice” than the other way around.

  2. I love how Rosie the Riveter got some play here and I think Mommy blogging is just getting started and definitely giving us women and moms alike a greater and stronger voice now more then ever. I will say this, I never imagined that this would be the case, but will admit that I find that my own little voice here does speak volumes and I am only one in the sea of many, but still proud of all I have accomplished so far and no where near done and hope to keep going and make further strides myself. And I am also so thankful for all the wonderful women and men I have gotten to know along the way so far. The blogging community is definitely strong, powerful and amazing! :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Swallow for The Perfect Anniversary CelebrationMy Profile

    1. I think it is interesting that a lot of mommy bloggers don’t realize that they almost start on second base due to the nature of the community they are a part of. Trying to establish a blog in another community is much more hardscrabble and difficult. The great part is that the mommy blogging community isn’t that mature and there is still a LOT of room for growth. And, as I mentioned, I don’t think that enough members of the community have a clue of how influential that community is going to end up being.

  3. For all the years I’ve been blogging, I sometimes feel like the most oblivious mommy blogger out there. Mainly because I treat my blog as a resource and don’t do sponsorships or brands. I had no idea what a blog hop was and tried it for a bit but then didn’t keep going. I’ve networked with other bloggers but mostly because we liked one another’s sites, instead of joining an actual network. And since the field I work in doesn’t really cater to moms, I have no idea how much of an impact mom bloggers really are making in comparison to other forms of advertising or marketing.

    That said, I don’t think blogging in general is going anywhere. True, back in circa 2005-2006 was probably the ideal time to get in on blogging. That was when there was like, 5 people who blogged and everyone read them. Nowadays, it’s more saturated, but that’s not to say it’s necessarily bad or over with. It just means there’s more conversation.

    If anyone though were to make money off of blogging the way they did a decade ago, it’d be very different. You wouldn’t be able to rely simply on traffic or ads to make a full-time living anymore. Still, I can’t imagine blogs going away. I often prefer them over “newsy” sites (or blogs that look too newsy or magazine-y lol).
    Nina recently posted…What to Do when You’re Unhappy with ParenthoodMy Profile

    1. Nina,

      Even if you never run a single ad on your site or seek a sponsorship, your blog has value. Especially in the sense that the main product that you are marketing is yourself. The techniques that you have learned blogging are cutting edge and knowing them has increased your professional value as well. I graduated from college with a Literature and Arts degree, and although people would say that is a “throwaway” degree, it helped immensely in the business world because there is an absolute dearth of people who can write, let alone write well. Keeping a blog only sharpens those skills, especially as you are writing for an audience. Write poorly and the audience goes away. Highly ranked Mommy Bloggers are some of the best writers there are, and if I were one of those dying women’s periodicals I would hire a few of them. But they won’t, which is why they are where they are.

  4. Great post! You know I wanted to start a public mommy blog for the longest time. I was blogging just about my family privately, but I would often think that I should branch out. But then I thought, no it’s too late. There are too many blogs out there. But then Emily and I decided to go for it anyway. I don’t know about her, but I was feeling kind of stuck and bored and even though I know that raising the kids and being home with them is so important, I felt like I needed something else to keep my brain occupied. Our blog has been a mind-saver. I haven’t felt this excited about something in a long time, and even if we never make a lot of money or our numbers don’t grow the thousands of viewers, I still love the feeling of looking at something that I’ve posted and being proud of it. And I for one love reading other mommy blogs. For the most part they are happy, helpful, and uplifting. There are too many horrible news stories already out there. I, for one, want to read about the humorous events mothers find themselves in and the uplifting things they have to say about being mothers. And the mommy blogging community IS amazing! So yeah, those are my rambling thoughts. Great post!
    Leialni recently posted…Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig! Some of Our Crazy Stories from VacationMy Profile

    1. Well, yeah! Even if you were just in it to make a dirty buck, it would be complete misery if it wasn’t something you enjoyed. And that is just it. You have a love of your audience. There are too many “professionals” that don’t, and it shows. What they write has no soul, no vibrancy, it is going through the motions. If somebody loses that love on a blog, they stop blogging, and those that remain just get better at the technical problems that might be hogging them back. Keep up the good work!

  5. HECK YES! Reading this post is like drinking super juice before a big performance or like listening to Drake’s Headlines song when he says, “I had someone tell me I fell off, oh I needed that.” This is motivation meets inspiration! Mom bloggers aren’t just here for the long run but we’re also helping each other reach new heights along the way.
    Rebecca recently posted…Sadistic and ProudMy Profile

    1. Glad I could help. And thank you all or taking care of my wife. She wouldn’t have made it past the first month without you!

  6. I think this is a great post and am so glad to have someone else, a man even, to throw his few thoughts into the mix. I struggle with the label of “mommy blogger”, not only for myself but for others. Yet, this man sees the power in embracing that term. Though I’m still not sure I’m a “mommy blogger”, I know I kind of fit that criteria, so this entire post rings true for me :)
    Life Breath Present recently posted…Gratitude Linkup – Week of 7/13/14My Profile

    1. The real problem is here is thinking that the term “mommy” is somehow shaming. They are trying to infantilize the term like it should be associated with something unserious. Those type of people need a good strong kick in the teeth. Mommies are the MOST serious people I have ever run into. I don’t think the word should be relinquished without a fight. Maybe that will be a future Man-Day post. . .

  7. I always like to say that blogging can’t really end, because I will never, ever stop. I will never stop!
    I don’t even know what kind of blogger I am – I’m not a mommy blogger, but I’m not a photography blogger either. You know what I am? An unstoppable blogger. Meaning, blogging will never die!
    Tamara recently posted…The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name.My Profile

    1. Are you sure you don’t want to go and be confined to Facebook and Tumblr where you can supply content that somebody else gets paid advertisement rates for, and then be data mined for your efforts? I didn’t even get into the “who owns your content” issue. As a photographer, I wouldn’t use ANY platform that gives someone else the ownership of my original work (unfortunately I am not a talented photographer as perusing your site suggests that YOU are :) ) That is the other great thing about mommy blogging, it’s Sooo counter-culture. . .

  8. This is my first visit to your blog and I’m glad I found it. These two posts were spot on. I’ve been blogging off and on since 2005 and at my present “mom blog” for a bit over a year and it’s fascinating to have seen the changes and growth in blogging – rather than death – in that time and the changes and new ways of connecting in the “mom blog” community. The other community I have been pleasantly surprised by is the WordPress community within that blog platform – which does very well bringing together bloggers with different interests in a similar way as the “Mom Blog” community does.

    Fabulous post!
    Louise recently posted…Sing it Mama!My Profile

    1. Glad to have you on board! I actually ran a local political blog for a couple of years back when blogging was “big” and seriously blogging now with the available tools and blogging in this community is WAAAYYYY better. There was no social media back then, just for starters. And as the designer of the website I am VERY familiar with the WordPress community and it is fabulous.

  9. I have always been shocked and amazed to see how little large companies do with their social media and like you said, they often have someone paid specifically to do that job moms are doing it in their spare time. You can feel that “mommy bloggers” are just at the cusp of what’s to come!

    1. You don’t know the half of it! Can’t wait until Jennifer tells everyone what she is doing on Wednesday. It is BIG and seriously cool and groundbreaking!

  10. I started my blog almost four years ago and I’m still a small blogger. However, I love writing, I love connecting, I love the community that I don’t get as a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom.

    Quite frankly I dislike the terms “Mommy Blogger” or “Mompreneur”. I find it condescending. I would never call someone a “Mommy Dentist”, a “Mommy Nurse”, etc.

    A few months back I was getting business cards made for my blog and I was deliberating over what to put as my “title”. I wondered if I could define myself as a professional blogger. I even Googled it and found a wonderful blog post on how to know when you’re a professional blogger… and you know what, most of us “Mommy Bloggers” are “Professional Bloggers” – so let’s claim it!

    This was an awesome follow-up to part one! Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…SHINE Blog Hop #9My Profile

    1. You make a good point about how you don’t attach the word “mommy” to other professions and titles. However, I think that the title “mommy blogger” isn’t something we should ignore, although (as stated by the author), its original intent may have been a put-down. The title, though I wouldn’t put it on a business card either, we can all personally claim without hesitation because it embraces who we are.

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