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Fight the good fight, not the dirty one that hurts your community and your fellow mombloggers!

Fight the good fight, not the dirty one that hurts your community and your fellow mombloggers!

Rarely do I use my blog to rant and vent when it comes to other bloggers.  However, what I saw go down last week on blogs and on Twitter has me rather irate.  What am I talking about?  I am talking about the #nestlefamily blogger junket.  I watched on Twitter as the chaos and mudslinging occurred.  I stayed out of it.  I know most of the bloggers that attended and I know they do not support “baby killing” as it was so often referred to.  I do understand that many people have issues with Nestle.  I read posts and followed links to see what the firestorm was all about.  I saw the outrage and anger towards Nestle- some backing up their outrage, some just jumping on the bangwagon.

But here is where it went too far:  When other bloggers went as far as to slam, criticize and be downright cruel to the bloggers in attendance. Seriously?  That is just uncalled for when you attack the attendees.  Some of the bloggers were very hurt by the accusations and cruelty thrown their way. And some of this venom was by other blogger they respect(ed).   Did those of you who attacked the bloggers personally approach them in a respectful way or just throw stones?

You see, as one of the pioneers in mommyblogging, I have seen how far we have come.  We were once at the bottom of the blogging ladder.  We were the ones at the back of the list when it came to asking opinions of us or looking to us to educate and inform others about a product or service.  We (including some of the bloggers in attendance) fought hard to gain respect in the world of social media and with corporate America.  It was through our hard work, quality writing and open mindedness that we opened doors to major corporations to reach out to us.  Yes, we opened the door to gain access to these companies.  We earned their respect and therefore they have seen the power mom bloggers have online.  Believe it or not there was a time when there was no such thing as a blogger junket.

I remember one of the first held was Johnson’ s Baby Camp.  Yes, there was a blow up over that one. However, when bloggers were upset, they went to Johnson’s.  I did not see the actual bloggers being attacked personally.  Since then there have been many, many blogger trips to corporations where mom bloggers can learn about the companies, their practices and what they stand for as a company.  (Disclosure: Yes, I have been on some of these.  Yes, I do enjoy going. And, YES, I have learned more about these companies from attending.  It is not about a free trip and swag.  Do I enjoy going on these trips?  Of course I do.  A prime example is the trip I took to Hallmark.  I learned so much there and met amazing creative people.  I did have fun but more than that, I learned so much more about the company itself.   I do look into the companies when I am asked to go on one of these blogger junkets.  Just for the record.  The majority of us do not just get an invite and automatically jump for joy and attend. We attend for a reason.  We attend to hear what they have to teach us and show us about their company.)  For the record, Johnson’s did learn from the constructive criticism they received.  I worked with the PR person on this and saw it from their side as well.

Some of these women were at the forefront of mommyblogging.  They were ones that (even if the term mommyblogger made their skin crawl) fought to be heard and respected.  They are not into blogging for free trips, swag or bragging rights that they have been able to go on these trips.  They are the ones whose quality of writing brought these trips to you. (Yes, you who have been on them yourselves and enjoyed them.)   They helped show that we are powerful, useful and want to learn more about the products they may (or may not) be buying for their families.  To suggest anything else is not only inaccurate but cruel.  These women were blogging about their lives long before there was any monetary compensation or free trips involved.  Long before some of you were even blogging.

I saw and heard many women I respect personally attack these bloggers and frankly, it pisses me off in a big way.  I lost respect for women I had admired who used social media as a way to attack the attendees themselves.  What do you hope to gain doing that?  Do you think that by attacking their ethics, motivation and character makes you look more informed and a better person/mom blogger?  Well, it doesn’t.  It makes you look foolish and immature.

If you have a problem with Nestle, bring it up with NESTLE.  You want to boycott them, you go on with your bad self.  You want to tell Nestle off, do it.  It is well within your right to stand strong in your beliefs when it comes to a company and their practices.  I applaud you being an advocate for what you believe.  I seriously do admire those of you who stand up for what you believe and fight to see that injustices you hear or learn about are dealt with.

However, the moment you made it personal towards the mombloggers (and dad blogger) who went to this event, you lost your credibility.  At least with me.  It amounts to nothing more than school yard bullying.  Not to mention bullying some of the very people who have opened doors that I know you have enjoyed walking through yourself.

And, yes, I know that not all of the people who are anti-Nestle berated these bloggers. I know that.  Enough did, though, that I feel it should be addressed.

Those of you who did make it personal with these bloggers, the next time you decided to throw stones at these people, you think long and hard about what stones could be thrown at you.  Their attendance did not mean they support Nestle’s practices.  Do you know why they went?  Did you ask them what their motivation was to attend?  Did you find out if they wanted to become better informed on the issues you brought up?  Or did you assume their attendance automatically made them the bad guys?

With social media such as Twitter it is so easy to sit behind a computer and hurl your insults and make these people feel bad.  Are you using social media as a tool or as a weapon?  Think about it.

Had I been able to go, would I have gone?  Probably.  Not because I discount the research done by many bloggers on the company.  Not because I wanted a free trip. And not because I will blindly go anywhere I am asked to go.  But because no matter how much research I read from you, I want to get my own answers.  I want to see both sides.  I want to educate myself.

I am so disappointed in how my fellow mombloggers were treated personally. It infuriates me.

I fear that behavior like I saw will drag the mom(my) blogger name into the mud and shove us back into the depths of “we don’t want to hear from them” because dammit we have worked too hard for too many years to gain respect.

And, no, I am not talking about speaking out about your feelings, research and ideas about Nestle itself.  I am talking about the rude, mean spirited attacks against women I know to be admirable, respected and intelligent well educated bloggers who have done amazing things when it comes to blogging–namely momblogging.

Shame on those of you who saw fit to attack the attendees themselves.

Use your anger and your outrage over the company to open a dialogue with Nestle or use your words to educate those who do not know what you have researched.

And for the love of all things community, back the hell off of these bloggers.  They are good people.

/ end rant

The Lemonade Award- When life hands you lemons, feel free to ask for coffee…unless it is this award. Then keep it.

The Lemonade Award- When life hands you lemons, feel free to ask for coffee…unless it is this award. Then keep it.

lemonade award Liz from This Full House nominated me for the The Lemonade Award. ( It was like ages ago but it didn’t have a time limit on it!)   I am not sure if she is telling me to go suck a lemon or if I need to lay off the Diet Coke and drink more lemonade or if she just feels sorry for me that I am did not go with her to the Cambell’s plant in Philadelphia (or on any of her trips or even to her house) even though I am in a “relationship” with Weber Shandwick here in Dallas.  Whichever, I gladly accept this award.  (Though her reason for giving it to me is because I talk funny. A girl from Joisey telling me I talk funny? cha!)

Why the lemonade award?

It is given as appreciation for those people who have shown a great attitude or gratitude this week.  It is tough to narrow it down (and not duplicate someone I know has already received it) but I can do.

I hereby award this Lemonade Award to the following bloggers:

  • Kimberly of Petroville because she has shown great strength after losing her dog to cancer. And?  She finds things to be grateful for even when she feel uninspired. I love reading her and am a huge fan. I am always inspired when I visit her site! She thinks she may have fallen out of love with blogging. Tell her not to!
  • Headless Mom because OMG…she had me at headless Barbie!  Oh, yes, she did!  I had some of the best talks with her at BlogHer and cannot wait to see her again. (And? She knows some of my secrets. Shhhhh) She rocks and headless or not, you should be reading her.
  • Karen Janet (duh! I have the flu and mistyped her name. She gets a bonus award for my stupidity!) of Caffeinatrix because she has the courage to start over online after years because it felt right.  I totally admire that.  (And?  She knows too many of my secrets, too.)
  • Jenny of Three Kid Circus because she was my former partner in crime and more importantly she always has a nice thing to say to everyone. And? She is stressed out. Give her love!
  • Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer because…wow…she is just brilliant and inspiring.  Talk about a marketing genius. She is one for sure.
  • Katherine of Raising Five because I have known her for 15 years and when I say she is as real as it gets, I mean it. She puts it out there without apology.   And? She saved my hiney on a project recently.
  • MagnetoBold because she always make me laugh.  And? She comments. What more can you ask for?
  • Slouching Mom of Slouching Past 40 because every time I read her I can relate on some level. Read her. I mean it.
  • Kristen of Mommy Needs a Cocktail because…well, who doesn’t. And? When I met her in person I wanted to take her home with me to be my real life daily friend. (And still use her shot glass she gave me.)
  • Daisy of Compost Happens because 1) She is a wonderful reader and commenter and 2) She is feeling under the weather, too.  We sick ones must stick together.
  • Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas because once I found her, I was hooked. Are you? You should be, too!

Oh, and even though this is supposed to be awarded to bloggers and not “sites”, I am still sending an honorary award to The Motherhood.  This is an amazing site for moms, moms-to-be, people who know moms etc.  It is my daily hang out and they have something for everyone.  They get the award, too!

Feel like sharing  the award? Not a problem, all you have to do is:

  • Put the logo on your blog or post.
  • Nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude! Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  • Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Now I am off to tag all of those bloggers. (And if I did not tag you it is because someone else did and I can’t break the rules and re-tag you. BUT…I do still love you!)

Thanks, Liz, for always making me feel like blogging and keeping it real. I shall stalk adore you forever. (And you get the award right back because…you are Liz.)

Marketing to Moms: The Good PR Firms Get the Link Love Here! (So leave your link love for crying out loud!)

Marketing to Moms: The Good PR Firms Get the Link Love Here! (So leave your link love for crying out loud!)

When I first wrote this post praising Weber Shandwick Dallas for their amazing social media and PR departments, my only reason behind it was to show that there are some great relationships between mom bloggers and PR people.  I was a bit surprised by the number of emails and tweets etc that I got in response.   Some of you wanted to tell me all about the wonderful PR companies you have worked with.  A few wanted to share horror stories.  One person called me a sell out for “giving it away for free” just because someone asked me to share my thoughts with them.  (Dude, didn’t you read the post. I got a freakin’ donut!)

I am not going to say I don’t like to get free things and tell you all about it. (I will tell you right up front I have a not so flattering nickname when it comes to my adoration of getting products to review.)  I am not saying I don’t want to be invited on blogger trips. (For the record, I have never gone on one.)  I think those things are fabulous and a great marketing tool!  I mean, come on, let’s be real about it.  It works.   But I didn’t write it to get on some “good list” that must be floating around out there.  (Is it? Am I on it? Ha!)  I wrote it because I figured something out.

Marketing to Moms can be done and done well when both parties respect each other.

Both sides.

I have spent hours talking to some of the people I have worked with about what they need from mom bloggers and what they are trying to achieve with some of their promotions.  That was the key for me.  Now?  When I am asked to promote, review, or sample a product or service one of my first questions is “What does your client want to know?”   Do they want to know if I like their product?  If I would use their product?  If I would recommend the product but have no use for it myself?  If the product is total crap and they need to rework everything?  Do they really want the truth?  Yes, there are some out there that just want a mention.  Some–most– truly want to know what you thought about the product–good or bad.  And some are just trying to get the word out and don’t care what you do with it.  (Not that I have found many sincere ones that fall into that category.)

But in all seriousness, I loved reading about the relationships that mom bloggers have been able to form with some PR reps.  It is way more refreshing than reading about the horror stories.  Liz of This Full House (and my own blogging idol) wrote a post about my post about her post.  (Did you get that?)

I thought that I would follow in her footsteps and write a post like that as well.

Then I thought I would do something a bit different. (So she won’t accuse me of stalking and stuff.)

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Writing and reading and posting, Oh my!

Writing and reading and posting, Oh my!

I have a post in the works that will be my final say on BlogHer. (Yes, you may say “Oh thank the sweet Internets this is almost over.) But until it is finished (seeing as I have a ginormous amount of deadlines looming), I posted a guest post over at Vodkarella while she is on a blog-break. Yes, go and read so she does not think I am a loser. It talks about me being a klutz and all. Laugh at me. It’s okay.

And there are pictures. (But not the R-rated ones I could have posted.)

Now, seriously, go and tell her I rocked the house so I can be invited back. Go. Please. I will offer Vodka chocolate coffee thanks.

The post where I sing the praises of another writer

The post where I sing the praises of another writer

Do you ever (if you are a blogger) read something, enjoy it and then move along the Internet mindlessly surfing or working or doing whatever it is you do (I am not here to judge you!) and then…THEN you realize how rude you were to not say howdy, give a little link love and send people towards the writers you enjoy?

*hanging my head in shame*

I have. I do. I am a bad reciprolinker! (And yes, it is a word if I make it a word!)

I have been reading Kris over at Help Yourself for ages and never once told you about her? Bad blogger! (Someone slap my blogging hand.) Kris writes great features on her blog for the Orlando Sentinel and here I go enjoying them and never sharing her with you. And in ORLANDO! The home of my brother and his wife, my cousin and her child, and even my aunt. But do I support the town writer? No.

But today is HELP YOURSELF And Go Give Kris Some Love Day! I am serious here. Go flood that gracious woman with adoration and kudos and “Hey, Jenn doesn’t really suck!” messages.

Seriously, I do adore her. We have talked for ages and I have been a bad friend by not reciprolinkifying her blog. Ever since I took my links down (and when I say “I took” of course I mean EE hijacked) I am lost. I forget my daily reads. I wander aimlessly about the Internet moaning and wailing about my loss. Bless Kris for calling me back home to one of my favs.

Now go. Show her my love (and yours) before I get voted off the blogosphere and fall out of the good graces I have with a fellow writer.

This beach picture is just for her. Since she wanted one! AND since she will be away on vacation. I, however, will still be here cleaning. And working. And generally NOT being on vacation.

Vacation for Kris

Happy wedding day to Mir

Happy wedding day to Mir

Today Mir is getting married to the man of her dreams, Otto.  (Name changed to protect the lovebirds.) I have been invited to participate in her bridal shower by sharing a photo from my own wedding and/or a bit of advice or a quote.  In honor of their marriage, I am offering up both.

Here is a picture of that amazing day.  (Give me a break on the hair and big dress.  It was 1990–which as we all know is still the stepchild of the 80’s!)

image

I wondered what it was about this picture that I love so much.  I think it is because the moment captured in this picture is my favorite wedding moment in all weddings.  This is the moment when you know it is real.  The wedding has ended.  The planning has been taken care of.  The only thing left is to party and enjoy being man and wife.

With that I offer you this quote:

My Greatest wish for the two of you is that through the years your love for each other will so deepen and grow, that years from now you will look back on this day, your wedding day, as the day you loved each other the least.

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