Do we need a kind of blogger apartheid?

3 Sep

A few weeks of, quite frankly, pretty uncomfortable infighting amongst the “mummy blogging” populus has made me contemplate just what exactly is driving this angst? First it was the long standing debate of commercialising personal blogs, then it was The MADS, and most recently the Blogladesh campaign that has seen some of the best mummy bloggers being sponsored to visit India and blog about it. Usually i quite like a bit of gossip and infighting (come on, we all do) but this has all just really turned me off.

Of course, some of you will just say – any community of strongly opinionated peoples (and as bloggers, a lot of us are likely to be that) will occasionally lead to a clash in opinion, and when these differences are aired from behind a computer screen, false confidence will push people to go that little bit further. But actually i think it’s a bit more than that.

Do the fundamental differences between those of us blogging for pleasure and those doing it as a business ultimately drive us apart? If you’re blogging just for creative pleasure there’s no real political motive, no need for success in itself (apart of course from inflating the old ego). However, if you’re reliant on your blog/website for earning money your professional reputation is paramount so you’re less likely to tolerate flippant comments, things that might cause damage. So you take it all a lot more seriously. And quite understandably.

But if the rest of us are just there for enjoyment, for a bit of banter, we might not want to take it all that seriously. The kind of comments you’re likely to see from us when things are getting a bit heated are flippant ones (no surprises there), acronyms like ROFL or FFS.

So there’s bound to be a clash isn’t there?

I know i was accused recently of not researching my post into depression. I came back at that criciticsm by saying i didn’t feel i needed to. After all, my blog, my opinion. It’s not as if i was researching for a medical journal. However, if my blog was my job, then of course i’d do a bit more checking before i published some of my comments. But it’s not. It’s my space, and as bloggers like to say, if you don’t like what i say you can move on.

I know i don’t want to be constrained by fear of not getting statistics quite right, or not having enough evidence to back up a point of view. But then again i can also completely sympathise with those whose business is totally dependant on reputation. Where one unfair comment can strike two blogger black eyes in an instant, and leave scars for a long time afterwards.

So where does this leave us? Are we going to have to look at some kind of enforced segratation? At keeping these two types of bloggers apart for fear of implosion?

Ok, so perhaps that’s a bit extreme. I’d just quite like everyone to be friends again.

31 Responses to “Do we need a kind of blogger apartheid?”

  1. Potty Mummy September 3, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    I have so totally missed out on all this. It seems moving 3 time zones and 1500 miles east has some benefits, after all!

  2. The Moiderer September 3, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    I’m sick of it all. In the same way as the waves of a single product PR’d onto many blogs annoys me. When all of this is happening I just put my head down and get on with blogging like it’s not.
    I don’t care. I’m not interested. I write my blog as a personal digital journal for myself, my friends, my little girl when she’s older and anyone else who get’s something from reading it.
    I’m not interested in awards. I no longer do reviews **unless it’s for a really cool gadget**. I just write about me an my life.
    If you don’t like it – stop reading.
    I’m interested in other blogs because I like the insight into people, I learn tips and techniques for dealing with problems and I get a sense of community that I am not the only person experiencing things in life.

  3. MisssyM September 3, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Hmm, I don’t know how you feel about bloggers doing sponsored posts. There’s been a bit of heat recently on Mummy bloggers advertising foods as nutritious that plainly are not- like chocolate Weetabix or Nutella. Y’see that gets my goat- it’s just cheap. It’s when bloggers mix it up- one minute they are writing in an honest and engaging way about their lives. So you like them, you trust them, and then the next minute they are turning to camera and holding up an inferior brand of washing powder and claiming it makes their whites whiter.

    I think it’s not so much keep the two types of blogger separate but keep the tow types of blog separate. Blog integrity goes as son as someone becomes a stooge for an reliable product for the sake of some freebies.

    (Bloody hell- I didn’t mean to write an essay!)

    • marketingtomilk September 3, 2010 at 9:29 am #

      Thanks MisssyM for your honest comment.
      I probably have an opinion on this somwhere (Milk always does!) but i don’t think it’s appropriate for me to voice it here. For once, my post was deliberately meant to be non-judgemental on the contraversial topics of the day. I just wanted to voice an opinion about differences in raison d-etre of blogs and what effect that is having.


    • Claire 20SomethingMum September 3, 2010 at 9:42 am #

      I am a blogger who also has a separate site for reviews.

      I can assure anyone, but especially Missy that I am not a “stooge” for any PR, brand or company in general. I write honest reviews, constructively. I will never openly go out to brand bash if a product isn’t very good, I will say that I think it could be improved and say how. I never expect or accept money for reviews, nor do I
      I wasn’t part of the Nutella or Weetabix campaigns, but it does appear that certain sites are offering links with these companies and when lots of bloggers jump on the bandwagon of course there will be repetition in posts. I try and stay exclusive.

      Milk, I do agree that there is far too much silly behaviour in blogging, which taints the whole experience for everyone, but unfortunately it seems there are a small group of people intent on flaring up tension at every opportunity, which is done for reasons only known to themselves.

  4. Chance would be a Fine Thing September 3, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    No, I just think we need a bit more honesty, respect, tolerance and bravery. An acknowledgement that even if you’re just throwing these words together as a hobby, you have a responsibility. And I don’t care if you’re a “professional” blogger or a hobbyist you’re equally capable of being a bitch if you don’t have respect for other people.

    • marketingtomilk September 3, 2010 at 9:33 am #

      I agree with you. I’d never deliberately say anything to cause offense or upset someone or that was knowingly untrue, but this is something more than that. it’s about having to back up an opinion in a way you’d only do in a professional sphere. If i don’t like something, and i think it’s a load of rubbish, can i say that on my own blog? Or do i have to justify it objectively?

  5. MummyT September 3, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Hmmm… I think there’s a separation between opinion pieces and factual pieces here. (Former hack speaking.) Of course you don’t need to research depression before you opine on it.

    On the other hand, if you recommend an amusement park and get the address way off, or misstate the nutritional value of something (ESPECIALLY if you’re getting paid for it), it’s a bummer for your readers.

  6. jfb57 September 3, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    I agree with MummyT about the different types. I do think though that sadly the code of conduct is often ignored. The code of conduct I’m referring to is how people treat each other. I would hope that bloggers are sensitve to their readership whereever it comes from.
    As for research, you were writing from your own experience. I have hesistated to start a series about anxiety, not because it won’t be read but because it may be picked over in that same way. Who gives anyone the right to do that? Anyway, I was going to keep apart from it all so will shut up now but I just think it is sad!

  7. MrsLJHall September 3, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    I feel I’ve naively missed everything that’s been going on here. I have obviously noticed people making comments about other bloggers being unpleasant but it’s all going on over my head – I guess I should be grateful for that.

    I don’t understand why there isn’t room for people to just be themselves? Why would anyone need to attack another blogger – I don’t get it.


  8. kaykay September 3, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    I’m only happily launching myself in the universe of momblogs really but I have already picked up that there are very different approaches and a good amount of tension. I think anybody can make their choice. As anything though, when money is involved, it tends to get kind of dirty. I don’t think I want to review products or sell any craft or artwork, what i hope to find is a sort of community feeling with moms like me – or that are interesting in whatever way. I guess anybody picks what they need from it, there is really A LOT going on, that’s for sure..

  9. Alethea September 3, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I must not be very observant but I haven’t actually seen any of the unpleasantness, but then I am rather a newbie. I have seen plenty of posts about it though.

    I think it’s very easy; if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. I often read blogs by people who have their own opinion/view point and it would be unrealistic to expect to agree with every one. If I agree I leave a comment telling them how their post affected me. If I disagree, I move on, I don’t start a malicious attack on that blog just to make me seem superior.

    I blog for me and only me, if people read my blog and comment I am of course thrilled, over the moon ecstatic etc, but if I ever got a nasty comment, with my personality, I would probably shrivel up into a little ball and be a mess for weeks.

    What annoys me is that we are all actual people with feelings, not just URL’s, and I think a lot of the meanies out there tend to forget that.

    That is all!

    • marketingtomilk September 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

      here here Alethea. There is no such thing as “having the last say” in blogland, so get over it. No point in trying to win an argument based on individual opinion.
      Thanks for the comment.


  10. Very Bored in Catalunya September 3, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I think that if you put anything out there into the internet you need to develop a thick skin. There will always be someone out there who disagrees or thinks that you shouldn’t have written what you did.

    You can only be true to yourself. As long as you’re happy with the content then it’s OK, other people’s opinions are just that, you can agree or disagree as you see fit.

    The recent outbreak of tension I guess was inevitable. There will always be back stabbing and bitching in a world where women are thrown together, it’s a fact of life. Mostly I find it amusing, but more recent events have made me think that people’s careers could actually be at stake here.
    But whilst no-one but the actual players in this saga actually know what’s happened, it’s probably best that everyone else stays out of it.

    Thankfully for me my blog is just a hobby, I don’t get paid, I don’t do reviews or sponsored posts. I just write my nonsense and hope that from time to time someone reads it.

    • Sarah Fontó September 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

      Oh cool, somebody wrote my post for me.

      Which means I can stay slumped on the sofa and save my fingers ( =

  11. SImone September 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Oh my. Is this just a british bloggers tension thing?? I have NO IDEA what MADS is and have only very vageuly heard about blogadesh. I am inrigued about all the nastiness tho – something I have heard rumours of in blogland but never seen, happily.
    I guess being all the way in NZ I am out of this loop. Sounds like that’s a very good thing.
    Down here, we have people agonising over the usual bloggy issues: why don’t I have more followers? Am i blogging for ME or for readers? How come some of these big blogs post very mundane content and get 100’s of comments and 1000s of followers… blah blah blah.
    Just business as usual around here. No drama at all :)

    • Claire 20SomethingMum September 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

      The MADS is the Mum And Dad blog awards, voted for by parent bloggers. I can’t speak for other nationalities, but from my own perspective of British Blogging the tension is ridiculous, and the males seem to quite rightly stand back and let the women get on with it. I would also say it stems from one specific place, and is carried on through the means of both blogs and twitter, and from the specific place of it all its not exactly discouraged that people should be nasty to certain other people. I think its referred to as a hierarchy in other situations. Fortunately, Facebook seems unscathed. The latest upset has been fired from a site usually used for anonymous and heartfelt posts, rightly or wrongly allowing someone to post an anonymous post which rather than airing a serious personal problem, has been written purely to stir up more anger and intrigue. Very sad. Quite from an outsiders view I’d imagine moronic too.

      I think it did start from the apparent blagging vs blogging arguments between bloggers that do and those who don’t, however, I don’t think thats the only cause now, its far reaching and nasty, and uncalled for.

    • marketingtomilk September 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

      Oh we worry about ALL those things too, sadly. We’ve obviously just got extra time on our hands to take everything a stage further!

  12. kelloggsville September 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I have been hitting delete on the blogadesh stuff as it as seemed too complicated and unentertaining to read, sounds like I was wrong and should have just followed the comments. I have managed to upset a number of people by getting involved in the Nutella (no, my love it’s fucking chocolate no matter which way you wrap it up ) debate. Occassionally I wish I was part of the popular MADS, Mummy bloggers set the same way as I yearned to be a popular school gate mum but the reality is I just end up laughing at them and my sense of humour ends up offending people so I go back to my own little corner of the blogosphere!!!

    So all I have to say to you is “Have you really thought about what you are trying to say here and have you read enough blogs to be able to declare this as being an accurate picture and do you not thing that using the term apartheid will just cause further friction and ….” there do you think that will provoke a few ruffled feathers :0) I would say more but I have a load of weetabix I need to spread with nutella before the kids get home for a balanced meal ;0)

    • marketingtomilk September 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

      you do make me laugh Kellogsville!
      Do you know, i did actually ponder about the usage of the word “apartheid” in the title of this post. Strictly speaking it relates to segration black and white. But i just thought “if people can’t see i’m trying to appropriate this word to describe something different” then sod them.
      So sod you Kellogsville and your promotion of unhealthy eating breakfast snacks trying to come off as healthy eating foodstuffs for children of a certain age whose mothers should know better.
      he he he he


  13. KayK September 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    see, i actually like the posts that pick up on the tensions and ongoing conflicts in the mom blogging world…
    it helps me to find people who, like me, are not interested in the petty bitchy competition for ads, readership, craft sales or the most politically correct attitude on Nutella. :)

    • marketingtomilk September 4, 2010 at 7:10 am #

      Great. Make sure you come back and read again then!

  14. The Contented? Maybe September 4, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    I’m new to parent blogging and have, thankfully, been completely oblivious to the snide comments, instead finding only genuine support and mutual appreciation among the other writers I’ve met online.

    Your post, and the subsequent comments, are all well written and insightful, which is exactly what I’m looking for in blogs. Far better that than bitterness and back-stabbing. That said, the gossip sounds intriguing, and I wonder if there isn’t a plot in there for some Footballers’ Wives style drama culminating in the glamour and tension of the MADS.

    • marketingtomilk September 4, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks my lovely. My readers are an intellectual lot ;)

  15. Itsamummyslife September 4, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Hahaha milk congrats for being the very last post I hope to read on this subject, well until the bell sounds and it’s time for round 2! I wrote a post about all this too but called it blog idol as that’s how it feels sometimes. Live and let live or blog and let blog. Let’s all just move on x

  16. Michelle Twin Mum September 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    Thanks for an entertaining read for the last 10 mins. Happy to say I keep out of all the rubbish.

    Mich x

  17. Naked Revelations September 5, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    Beautifully said! I know nothing of mommy blog wars, but I know a sensible approach when I see one! Great post.

  18. Linda September 5, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    If anyone can come up with an apartheid system to separate knobheads from non-knobheads please let me know. xx

  19. 21stcenturymummy September 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I really don’t think the problem is there are two different types of bloggers – ie ones that blog for business and ones that blog for fun. Everyone of us has a different reason for writing a blog, and people can’t seem to accept that. It annoys and amazes me that people feel the need to judge other bloggers (perhaps it is born out of jealousy, who knows?).

    I blog as a hobby, but review things that I use/like/fit with my site (and always have done) – is that so wrong, if that’s what I want to do?

    Everyone should get on with their own blogs, don’t get so involved or take things so seriously, and move on.

  20. amodernmilitarymother September 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    A delightfully forlorn eloquent post lovey.

    I refer you to:

    But if it’s pants then I would say it’s pants. I am not sure what everyone is getting their knickers in a twist about – I am sure they need a good seeing too, or perhaps they should just go and have a little fiddle to ease the stress.

    Perhaps they are taking themselves a little too seriously. For me, Jeremy Clarkson is an example of you can’t please all of the people all of the time, that and marmite but both are very successful products.

    Really is it that important – nobody died. I live in a world where people I know get killed and it’s has this real value of putting perspective on the more meaningful things in life.

    How about we all extract our heads out of our bottys, put on our thick skins and just get on with doing our business.

    I refer you to the comic genius of the marvellous Catherine Tate…..”Bovvered, bovvered, face bovvered.”

  21. Princess L September 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    gah, it’s all so complicated isn’t it! I really don’t know what the answer is!

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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