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The blog post I shouldn’t be writing. Nope, not at all.

standard July 24, 2008 17 responses

There’s a cardinal rule in the Mommy Blogging world. You might not know it if you haven’t been around long enough, or you know, if you live under a rock.

Here’s the rule: You don’t ever attack Dooce on your blog. Actually, let me rephrase that, you don’t attack D*oce on your blog. (Gawd forbid the Google bots pick up on your rant.) Heck, you don’t even talk about Dooce for fear of riling up the Internets and being called an attention whore or something a little less polite.

Yeah, so, I’m about to completely disregard that rule. Sorry. Oh, and I’m not doing it for the attention. I’m doing it because there’s something that needs to be said and well, no one else is saying it.

Have I mentioned that BlogHer08 rocked? I know, I know. You’re heard it all, blah, blah, blah. Well, hear me out. There’s one last thing I want to share. To be honest there was a tiny bit of it that didn’t rock, and in fact that I wished I’d skipped.

Without going into agonizing detail, let me just say to the closing keynote speaker whose name I was never supposed to mention:

“Uh, hi, those readers that you so claim to love, that’s us. Yes, us, this room filled with 1000 women bloggers. We’re your audience. We’re your “support system.” So when you sit up there and look so bored and annoyed to be with us, well we feel a little slighted and offended. It would be nice if you could at least pretend to be one of us, or heck just pretend to like us, you know, for the entire hour you had to be in our presence. There are a lot of bloggers out there who look up to you and think you walk on water, and they deserve to be treated with a modicum of respect.

Also, we’re all trying hard to write great, compelling blogs. We all struggle every day to think up great posts. It’s just that the rest of us are also working full time at some other, not always so glamorous, job, so I’m sorry if we didn’t seem too sympathetic when you were talking about how hard it is to write a blog post every day. Kthnxbai.”

And while were on the taboo subject.

To the author of the SF Gate article about Mommy Bloggers making money from their blog, and everyone else who has ever written this story: The real story doesn’t lie in the fact that Dooce is earning enough money blogging to support her whole family. Yeah, that’s neat and all, and I know it sure makes for great press. But seriously, that’s old news. Let it go already.

The real story? Well, you missed the real story.

The real story lies in all the amazing, awesome mom writers putting themselves out there day after day despite the criticism and vitriol hurled at them by family, friends, and complete strangers when they share their stories. The real story lies in the awesome community that has evolved out of this brave new world. The real story lies in the women who are finding work thanks to the blogs that they sweat over every day while leading their “real” lives. The real story lies in the fact that the advertising/marketing types are finally sitting up and taking notice of this massive group of women who have toiled silently forever while quietly making the important decisions in their family’s every day lives. The real story lies in the countless Mommy Bloggers who aren’t famous or even remotely well known. The real story lies with us.

Mommy Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme and when the media portrays it as such it sells this empowering medium short and it cheats women out of a powerful communication tool that might not ever make them millionaires, but does allow them to connect with hundreds of others women who share their experiences, joys, and pain on a daily basis; a tough network of sisters fighting together in the trenches of motherhood that until now always felt so desolate in the thick of the battle.

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17 responses

  • Let me first say, I love Dooce’s writing. I don’t know her nor have I had any personal contact with her but her writing rocks my socks and rules my school.

    That said, her more manical devotees and defenders scare the shit out of me. When my son died, I linked to a post of hers and was summarily accused of, ”linking to her to exploit the death of my son in hopes of increasing traffic.” Because, yeah. That’s exactly what was going through my mind with a sick and dying baby.

    Anyway. Not having been there and using just my power of conjecture, it almost seemed to me that Heather was using this as an opportunity to confront, face to face, someone she considered a critic as I doubt she’s ever had (or taken) the opportunity to do so in the past. I mean, even her most recent letters to Leta have been thinly veiled lash outs at her most vocal detractors. It seems, to me, like that head of steam had been building and The Bloggess had the misfortune of being a close and local target.

    Right, wrong or otherwise I can understand the hurt feelings on both sides and it is unfortunate for all involved that it played out as it did.

    And not to discount the truth in the difficulty for bloggers who have outside jobs in addition to blogging, I don’t believe Heather has an easy road in creating, on average, 3-4 posts a day for her site. I don’t think full-time blogging is an easy road; as you said, it’s not a get rich quick scheme and seven years later Heather wasn’t exactly an overnight success story.

  • I agree with you on this. Being new to the blogging world, I had/have no idea who the two women were that were interviewed by Elisa. I was assuming the two speakers were experienced bloggers who would provide some insight into their blogging world. Stephanie Klein was articulate and warm. I left thinking I’d like to read her blog. Ms. Armstrong seemed as if she was dis-interested in the subject and frankly I kept waiting for her to look at her watch to see if “time was up”. I think I saw her smile twice. In my 54 years on the planet, I’ve seen and heard some pretty fantastic, engaging speakers – this was a disappointment. Maybe next year Blogher will pick one of the speakers that I heard in sessions during the day. Most were passionate,articulate and interesting and unlike Ms. Armstrong, they genuinely wanted to share and connect with other bloggers.

  • That was truly a post of beauty. I don’t read (she who will not be named) for that very reason.

  • You know what else the media does by showcasing those that make tons of money?

    It makes those of us who don’t or can’t feel like even BIGGER losers than we were already feeling.

  • Lisa M

    Well stated Jennifer. To be honest, I haven’t even read THAT blog LOL–I’d much rather read blogs from everyday women such as yourself:-)

  • I enjoy Heather Armstrong’s writing, though I can’t say she’ll be on my top 10 list of people I hope to meet at BlogHer next year. The people I really want to meet are the very women you mentioned; women like me who toil away at a full time job while staying up way too late trying to create original content for a site not a lot of people read. It’s a labor of love and no one should have to feel bad for trying to earn a few bucks from doing something they love.

  • Wow.

    Holy crap.

    You did it. You said something negative about “her”.

    hee, hee.

    I love rule breakers!

    On on a serious note, as far as the point of your post…you’re dead on and there’s not enough people talking about it. It’s sad that it’s 2008 and mommy bloggers are just now getting to the point of recognition that they deserved many moons ago.

    We’re a cult..it is futile to resist!

  • I don’t know anything about the aforementioned blog or drama. This is a great post, though, and I hope that the world starts to pay more attention to the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure if I agree with Charming Driver who said that Dooce write 3-4 posts a day. Some days she doesn’t post at all. Some days she only posts a photo with a little paragraph showing what she’s buying with the money that she earns from ads that pay her big bucks thanks to EVERYONE who reads her blog, including those who don’t always agree with her.

    I don’t think that Heather is a part of the blogging community really. I think she set herself apart long ago, even before all the fame. So many people link to her which is what gives her such a high Technorati rating, but she doesn’t link to anyone really unless they’re a personal friend, and only then until she has a falling out with them.

    She has a bad interview with someone and she comes back to her blog the next day and blames the interviewer.

    She has a bad day at BlogHer and she complains about the haters to get sympathy.

    Enough already. Be grateful. Be happy that you can make a living due to your readers, even the ones who don’t like you. Get a sense of humor about yourself and realize that not everyone will agree with you. Enough with the pity and the chip on your shoulder. Be graceful and accept the life you’ve created for yourself.

    I just think that she believes that she’s done it all on her own and that she owes nothing to her readers and nothing could be further from the truth. She owes everything to her fans. They’re paying for her $700,000 house and all those trips and her bourbon. They paid for Coco and her SUV and support the man who write the code for her blog. She wouldn’t have a book out and another one the way next March.

    If I help support her, I think I should be able to speak my mind about how ungrateful she is.

    She owes everything to her readers but she doesn’t seem to really care about them. When was the last time she wrote about something horrible that one of her readers was going through??? Never.

    And when was the last time that one of her readers wrote about something horrible that Dooce was going through??? All the time.

    She’s not a part of the blogging community and don’t kid yourself she planned it that way. She may “allow” readers to comment and “allow” some of them to link to their own sites but she doesn’t have a real appreciation of them at all. They are a pain in the ass to her, even the nice ones.

    She makes a living from being a victim and complaining about everything, usually her daughter. How hard can that be?

    If it’s so easy why isn’t everyone doing it? Most bloggers have higher moral standards and won’t write some of the things that she writes. She’s alienated so many groups by making fun of them or saying really nasty things about them and then it’s “poor, poor Heather” whenever one of them points out that she may be flawed, on their own website no less.

    And purple tights don’t equal style. She’s a beige girl, no matter what color she wears.

  • Well said.

    Dooce is the reason I started a blog. I admit it. I stumbled upon it one day when I was bored, about 3 years ago, read everything there was to read, which at the time was pretty cutting edge, and thought hell that looks fun I’m trying it.

    What she does now is nothing that resembles a blog. She’s definitely not the reason I’ve kept writing mine. I think it’s hard not to turn into that which we despise sometimes, but she’s managed to do it very well.

  • A very nice post, great job!

  • Wow, I think I want to kiss you! I completely agree that Dooce making money is not the story. She’s an aberration. The real story is bloggers like those in the community keynote.

  • What did you expect from someone who wears purple tights?

    It’s a shame that she disappointed so many loyal readers. I for one would have stalked her the entire time if I had been there which is why I must come to her defense. Think of it this way – she began blogging about seven years ago and now it’s her full time job. Can you think of any job you’ve had for over five years that you didn’t become sour over or bored with? Motherhood not included…motherhood evolves over time since your kids are always changing, but sitting in front of a computer trying to squeeze another drop of blood every day for seven years can result in burnout. A lot of us are new to this and are excited. She’s been here for quite some time and is over the excitement. Plus, she’s all kinds of crazy.

    Nice post nonetheless! Makes me want you phone# so we can dish!

  • Great analysis of the situation.

    I don’t read dooce at all, and I only check in on Ree (The Pioneer Woman) once in a while, but Ree’s blog is pulling in lots more hits than Dooce’s, and with lots less attitude.

    Check it out.

    I’m trying not to go all schadenfreude-y on dooce’s ass, but I’m only human, and it’s proving to be something of a challenge.

  • I hear a lot about THAT blogger but I’ve never visited her blog. I’m not quite sure why? Perhaps her popularity intimidated me. (Hehe – I’m just kidding) Anyway, great post! Way to keep it real!

  • Amen, sistah! I read That Girl when I first started – never really saw what all the fuss was about since I’ve run across so many other bloggers who write just as well- if not better – and who are so much more pleasant to be around.

    I skipped That Girl’s session for that reason; she interests me not at all. I saw the pictures and every single one showed a sour face. I was thinking “WTF is THAT about?”
    Boo D*ooce. YAY for the REAL women of the COMMUNITY.


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