Wednesday, April 14, 2010

(Anti)social media

If you're a mommy blogger extraordinaire like yours truly, chances are you're way too busy to read this post. After all, you have lunches and snacks to prepare, and suppers to throw on the table. You have overflowing laundry baskets, never mind that obsolete appliance formerly known as 'iron'.  Sit-ups to do (ok, so I lied, but don't tell anyone!). You have cheque books to balance, credit cards to pay off.  Oh, and blogs to write.  After all, they don't write themselves.  Shame on you for sitting there on your bee-hind...

Happy accidents

Recently, the phenomenon of mom blogging has come under fire in the press on both sides of the Atlantic. And even though I'm guilty of blogginess myself, I can sort of see where the critics are coming from.  Now, before you go flexing your manicured nails at my eyes, hear me out. I came to blogging like most mothers do, by happy accident.  I found out I was pregnant, and wanted to shout it from the treetops. More than that, at the time I lived thousands of miles from my closest friends and family, and used the mom blog as a vehicle to keep my peeps 'abreast' of my progressing pregnancy. Then Mr Green happened to tell his female colleagues about my blog and suddenly these strange (and strangely childless) creatures, all of whom I'd never met in the flesh, were interested in what I had to say on the subject. Forewarned and 'four'armed as we mothers invariably are.

Little fish in a ginormous pond

I then felt an obligation to throw the net wider, and began actually thinking in terms of Audience. In some respects, it's still weird to me that y'all out there are reading little ol' moi.  But along the way I have discovered many kindreds also striving to find humour and sanity in the every day realms of motherhood.  The community of mom bloggers out there is startlingly supportive.  And yet it also draining and competitive. There, I said it.  Companies have got wind of marketing potential and -- boom! -- many mom bloggers became 'mompreneurs', intent on getting the freebies that come from hosting contests and giveaways. 
Somewhere along the way, mom blogging became a viable stay-at-home career, and though I mean no disrespect to those making a living from it, I feel something has been lost.  Marketing certainly has its place, but lately it seems to be dominating the entire mombloggersphere, leaving little actual content in its place.

Which leads me to ask...

Just how much blogging is too much blogging?  How much time do you allot social media per week, and how do you regulate your schedule so that the Twitters, Facebooks, and Wordpresses of this world don't usurp time (better) spent with your tot or hubby?  At times I feel like I am drowning in the sociability of new media, and the demands it makes on my time seem endless.  I'm not proud to admit that Mr Green has had to boot me off the computer on more than one occasion! I know of couples who sit on either end of the sofa every evening, with their respective laptops propped open.  What a romantic glow -- not!  In a way, it does paint a funny picture.  But in an even bigger way, it's a sad commentary on the geeky and increasingly isolated age we live in.  And the irony of spending more time connecting with 'faceless' people online than with the actual faces IN MY HOME, is both cruel and sobering. 

Love squared

Don't get me wrong, I love blogging about motherhood, and I love you for digging what I type in this space. But sometimes I worry about where it's headed, and whether or not I'm losing something far more precious than that which I'm gaining.  And you?  What are your two cents?  After all, it wouldn't be a conversation without you...


  1. I hear you. I try too hard sometimes to write or Twitter every day. I have this messed up idea people are dying to hear what I have to say. I'm in desperate need to back off and write only when I have something profound (or profoundly funny) to share. Then I end up writing most every day anyway because, well, I just need to vent. Good topic my dear. I think us mommy bloggers understand each other. As for the rest of the world, they can only hope to be as strong as us. Hahahahaha! :-)

    --Jen (

  2. I agree with you about the marketing in blogging. It does seem to have taken over but I must admit :: whispers:: I do like giveaways. I do wish that some of the talented mommies out there would blog more about their day to day struggles as opposed to only building their brand.

  3. I love blogging. I also love that the blog world has pulled me away from Facebook - because Facebook really did seem like a huge waste of time.

    Even though I probably do spend too much time with it, blogging is my creative outlet...the one thing I do for me, even though I know I do it excessively.

    As far as marketing in blogging, I'm clueless on the HOW to even start...but I'm not sure I want to know how. I don't have the extra time to put into it - but extra money for doing what I love would be nice. :)

    BTW - stopping by from the D-List! Nice to meet you!

  4. I'm dropping in to present you with a blogger award. You can swing on by and pick it up here:

    Take care,

  5. This is a great post - something I think about often.

    I try to do as much blogging/tweeting etc. when the kids are sleeping - I used to joke that you always knew when it was nap time because twitter activity would increase!

    Some days I need the get away, the socializing that social media has to offer. Other days it's too much and I feel like I just don't care enough to write! But really, I love writing and maintaining my blog etc.

    Balance is most important though - it will never be more fun or special than my kids. That's why I became a SAHM.

    Thanks for this post! Makes us think ;)

  6. Do these giveaways really exist? I see them everyday and yet never win anything. Maybe I should dedicate a whole day just entering giveaways. I mean after reading almost every blog in the world shouldn't I get one? Oh, wait, do you mean we shouldn't be obsessing over blogs, posts, and giveaways? Agreed.

  7. Great post. You've touched on interesting points that I think many of us are afraid to admit.

  8. Thanks for your 7 cents, fellow mamas extraordinaire! You're making this slightly disillusioned mama blogger remember why she blogs in the first place... And nice to meet some new 'faces', too. I'm on Twitter and FB so please keep in touch. I'll be sure to check you out when I'm next allowed online -- lol!

  9. I hear ya. sometimes it is too much for me. More and more these days I unplug on the weekends. I spend time with my girls and husband and other family and friends. There have been some weekends that I am completely absent from the online world. Hard to believe!?

  10. I've been blogging for 6 months and I'm very conflicted about it. I love overcoming the fear of filling the blank page. I love all the new support, encouragement and friendship. I love being able to share parenting ideas and experiences that have been in my mind and heart for a long time. On the other hand (as I was saying to my thirteen-year-old yesterday) I miss the days when I could not have cared less about the online universe. My life felt simpler. I used to spend an hour picking out a gift for my children to bring to a birthday party. I used to play more board games with my kids. They seem okay with the way things are now, but I'm not used to the new me, and I'm a little scared about this commmittment I've gotten myself into.

  11. It is hard! I stop reading the blogs when they are all commercial and have no real, useful, or interesting content to them. It's all about balance. I chuckled to myself when I finished your article and saw the ads right below it :) We gotta make a living somehow!

  12. Glad to hear I'm not the only one with conflicted feelings about blogging... I like your 'unplugging' on the weekend tip, Janet. Pathetic as it sounds, I'd worry about missing something! Might give it a try going forward. And Melinda, I'd actually forgotten about the google ads -- not that I ever made a cent from them!

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I started blogging in '06 as a sort of virtual scrapbook for my kids, since I don't scrapbook any other way. I mean, each kid has a word doc.

    I had a small group of followers and sometimes no one commented at all. And that was okay.

    I was a professional journalist and so it was a fabulous outlet for me. Still is. I love to write. But then I thought maybe I could get some advertisements on there and make some pocket money.

    So off to facebook, twitter, SITS, ThetaMom Community et al I went. I started with 12 followers in January and now I'm up to 85. Not a huge amount, but there are some fab people on there and I love reading their stuff.

    But there is a cost. I have to keep the blog active, as well as the tweets. I visit other blogs. It's a huge time suck. And there are definitely days where I take a break. It's not good when I keep telling my kids to wait just one more second for dinner/snack/play/bed so I can finish a post.

    I'm still at it because I love the outlet and the awesome community of moms I've found. When it doesn't work for me anymore, I'll step away.