Tag Archives: Blogging

American Blogger

This morning a trailer for a documentary showed up in my Facebook feed.

I'd seen it pinned by someone I follow just for her cute style and craft pins, though I don't pin them as much as I used to.

American Blogger is a documentary about, well, bloggers.

Which, according to the documentary trailer, are all cute, hip, younger types with Anthropologie bedspreads and beachy waves.

Just like that blogger.

I was disappointed when I saw this film. After blogging since 2009 and reading since before, I've seen a great variety of women and men create this industry, mold it and shape it and excel at it.

But the documentary seems to focus only on the “millennial”, the “Pin-teresting”, the “hip young mom” type.

A 'movement'? The world has already been changed, the blogging world was created and exploded and is evolving into a different medium than what it once was. Online diaries turned into a form of journalism, storytelling that sells.

Romanticizing blogging, which is something you should never do to business. Especially one where the definition is for so mny PR types is THAT type, the cool mom with expendable money.

I am trying to withhold judgement until I see it, but there should be SUCH a more diverse variety of PEOPLE shown. I'm hoping there are more in the documentary that I at least recognize or identify with.

I follow grandmothers and young singles.

Fathers and teachers.

Cooks, book authors and artists.

And moms, lots of moms. But I'm also a mom. A millennial mom, technically. One with a veggie garden but no teepee, handmade quilts instead of Anthropologie, but I do have some white furniture.

Do I hope that the documentary suprises me?

Yes, but if I've got it right, well, my couch is ready for round two.

 

If you were making a documentary about bloggers, which three would you be sure to include?

 

My three? Elise from BlogHer, Erin from Queen of Spain, and Kendi from Kendi Everyday.

 

Conference prep and a ‘berry’ happy winner!

The last time I went to a blogging conference I was barely pregnant with Lil’ Wonder. Just enough to lament the bloated belly I already had and the morning sickness I fought.

I LOVE blogging conferences.

Well, I think I do, at least. I’ve only been to two.BlogHer 2011 and SITS Las Vegas.

And, like everything else in my life right now, all of the planning is being pushed back as I try to look forward to the Women Get Social conference this weekend in San Diego. I’m just now getting a schedule down enough to plan eating out with family my free night I’m there.

But that’s because, while I juggle Lil’ Wonder around the conference, I will be working hard at absorbing everything I can.

This year has been a year of flags waving wildly about leading me in the right direction, even though the path has been really, really slow. Every time I make a decision the next step gets laid out for me or I get validation I’m doing what I need.

Changes are happening and I have to put on the working shoes again for real.

I know this conference is going to help me.

I have a fat stack of business cards from 2011 still. I’ve never needed different ones until now, when I’m pushing the freelance writing more. So I got a quick free 50 thanks to Moo with my about.me page, which aren’t going to be here at the conference but that’s OK.

I also can’t find my external battery plug which actually is a travesty but I will worry about it tomorrow because today is play date day and I’m busy packing up the leftover paraphernalia from the weekend.

Making a list, checking it twice.

Doing laundry on the side.

This may most likely be my only conference so I’ll be ready for it – as long as I get the chance to buy a brand new little notebook for taking notes.

Because I scribble and doodle and need the tactile learning process of writing it down.

Are you going to any conferences this year?

 

AND the winner of my Strawberry Shortcake DVD is Ricca! look for an email from me!

BerryRandom

Blogger responsibility and KFCkidsmeals

I have been watching the conversations in regards to this weekend’s #kfckidsmeals on Twitter and in blog posts watching the drama unfold as women promoted kids meals by KFC and several people used the hashtag to question the nutrition of the meals.

That can be said as a nice way of saying how it went down.

I’ve watched over and over as popular hashtags were taken over by spam, but this time, it was a smaller hashtag that became the arena for controversy and made it trend on Twitter.

People used the hastag to get KFC’s attention and question the use of chemicals including MSG in their products.

I watched people get mad over not being supported by other mom bloggers, feel bullied, and watched the brand not step in and say a thing.

So now, the conversations are spreading from the definition of bullying to the responsibility of influencers and the role of bloggers when working with brands trying to send out a specific message.

I had it pointed out today that none of the tweets said by a #KFCkidsmeals blogger said the meals were healthy choices after I mentioned that’s what I got from it. You know what, they were right.

Then why did I have that as a takeaway from following the Twitter stream?

Here’s why.

@RealMomReviews KFC kids meals start at 210 calories! That’s less than 4 Oreo cookies! #kfckidsmeals pic.twitter.com/W5AiY9uzT3 (link)

@VeraSweeney We all have night where we order fast food. Good to know KFC has options at 210 calories for kids #kfckidsmeals pic.twitter.com/sTI08uPPGW (link)

Even the Center for Disease Control mentions calorie counting as a means of weight management. The last time I went to my doctor, he mentioned my weight and told me to cut back on calories and gave me a ridiculous number because I was there for a pregnancy test.

He didn’t ask me what I was eating, how much I exercised, just handed off that piece of information. So my takeaway from that would be- I need to eat less calories to be healthier.

For many people, calorie counting is the first thing they think of when it comes to eating healthy. Diet snacks, soda, meal replacements to lose weight, the common thought is you have to use more calories than you consume. So they replace the things they love with low-calorie options.

So that meal- Only 210 calories? that’s a good choice, right? And look, there’s green beans!

Just with a picture and a statement I had an observation from those tweets; it told me that this is a good choice for my kid because it is low-calorie and look! a fruit, a vegetable and something with the word ‘waters on it’. No soda, no fries.

Now, what was the bloggers actually trying to say? Were they just regurgitating information given to them, or did they mean to say, as I took it, that these are good choices to make, that these are healthier choices you can make when faced with a drive-thru dinner menu.

Last October I took my morning sickness self to Coca-Cola for an event that was to feature their Live Positively campaign and talk nutrition (and see the Coca Cola Museum- I love classic Americana stuff).

Now, along with being shocked that they would pick lil’ ol me, I did some thinking before I said yes. It was a soda company- something that I have a long history with but try to drink less of (it’s not in the house except party occasions) and I have definite feelings on it and my son.

As the event drew closer I decided I had said yes for some serious reasons.

First- I felt honored someone would pay my way to sit in a room and learn about them. Second- I was in a group of fabulous women and I wanted a chance to learn from them. Third- I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Yes- a soda company, available in over 200 countries and one of the most recognizable words ever- I wanted to see what they would tell me.

As I sat in the conference room that day, I thought about how I felt obligated to repeat the nice things they had to say about their products.

I understand a blogger’s desire to please a brand- you don’t accept an invitation and then blast them the entire event- but also, as a blogger, social media influencer and mom- was just repeating what they said my job as an ‘influencer’ attending an event?

You know, those little gems of information that send a group of bloggers typing and tweeting away? I’ve done that plenty of times.

Let’s go back to those tweets and point out neither said it was a ‘good’ choice’ or a ‘healthy’ choice. They didn’t state that it was good choices, but by just regurgitating that key piece of information, they implied that it was a good choice to make.

I’ve thought a lot about my choices blogging since that October trip. About how I make choices, why I make choices, and what choices I can live with when it comes to my online life.

I don’t see myself as a ‘brand’. I see myself as a person, and know that as a person I am responsible for what I put out in the world. And for those reasons my blogging has definitely changed, as also the choices in companies I make with it.

I watched bloggers feel attacked after several people started using the hashtag to question the chemicals used in KFC food- neutralizing any good PR attempts from it regarding GoSqueez additions and calorie counts.

Are bloggers responsible for supporting each other? No.

Should they try to? Yes.

Was this weekend’s events bullying? No. Just because there was disagreement and commentary about how other bloggers negatively viewed their choices for aligning with KFC, that was not bullying.

Blogging is a business, and even though a lot of the work with brands seems to be done with mom bloggers, because it is an arena dominated by women does not mean they have to play nice.

The bloggers who decided to go to KFC- for whatever reasons, free trip, education, a chance to grow themselves a little bigger- unfortunately also found themselves in a position where they felt they had to defend their integrity. Could they support a company they admit to using only occasionally? Could they stand behind their words and say they approved that choice for a last minute dinner?

Did they deserve to come in between the crossfire of health-minded opinionated people and a brand who stood by and watched them take it?

It was their choice to align with the company and be a voice for it- they had placed themselves on the brand’s side instead of a neutral point somewhere in the middle where I sat, watching my little iPhone screen.

The choices we make affect our integrity, our ‘brands’, our blogs, ourselves. If you choose to work with a company and be a spokesperson, even if it’s just for 2 hours at a party, be mindful you are aligned with that brand and make sure you’ve made the decision for the right reason.

Remember that what you put out there is forever, so choose carefully.

For more about the bloggers discussion about KFC search for #kfckidsmeals on Twitter.

Looking back at 2012

Ever since Christmas I have been thinking about this year, bringing back that word I picked out the first few days of 2012- focus.

It’s a post I’ve linked back to several times, and an idea I’ve come back to time and time again, even though over the year the intent of my focus has changed.

I determined that whatever I was doing I would focus on it, not just run helter-skelter through my list haphazardly, trying to get everything done, ever getting everything all of the way done.

So whatever I was doing at the time got my full attention, other things getting pushed father back.

waves

All of my deep thoughts happen by the ocean, remember?

A year later, I sit in an even messier office, the fridge is full of vegetables and carrot juice, my son is sleeping in this morning, and I am peaceful.

This year has been both a speedy race up a hill with  strong tailwind and a slow coast down the same hill, stopping to eat a snack and talk with loved ones and not quite peeking out at the scenery going by.

When I was young I did a bike race with my dad on a local mountain. We finished, which was the only goal. I remember coasting down, having to hold onto the brakes from going too fast, yet wanting to just let go and coast freely, enjoying the breeze.

I think of that as my blogging life this year. I was full of inspiration, signing on early for the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp in Las Vegas, considering high reaches for SoCal Lady Bloggers, and considering that I too could make higher reaches for my blog, making a little money like everyone said was possible and my writing was worth it, dammit.

Well, over the year, my focus has gone from the spread of items I wanted to give attention to, back over and over to home and family.

Slowing down and going to the park, solo trips to Disneyland and the museum, taking a lap at target just because someone asked me to (I only spent $7 that trip- that is a record!)

I realized that after my two conference trips this year, I wanted to keep my blog mine and not reach for myself as a ‘brand’ a ‘presence’ that I wanted it to just be for me again.

My blogging became a bit more sporadic, not from words that would not come but from a temperamental computer, trips to Nana’s, playdate, cooking and morning sickness.

And I decided I was fine with that. I missed it, I missed out, I coasted down the hill without even noticing the scenery fading from view.

No matter if I worked at it or not, I realized I was getting the same amount of attention- the same lovely few that come back to read me over and over, thank you for that.

I started to feel a burnout of trying to be competitive as I saw through the overall veil of friendliness and support that comes from the blogging community and saw that part of my path was being blocked from selfishness and vindictiveness.

Well, fine, I won’t even try that route. I wanted it, but not enough to battle.

One of my biggest supporters was lost to me this year too- the one who was always around at my first blogging conference, the one that hung with artists and got a hand-drawn Red and Stimpy on a napkin from the artist, the one who started disappearing before I could tell there was something wrong.

Other great things happened this year too.

I started writing music reviews here, and love it- my son regularly jams to age-appropriate music here at home and in our concert hall, aka my car, and it’s music that I can not only live with but catch myself humming once in a while.

My son started preschool, and with that a whole new world has opened up- of superheroes, new songs to sing, girlfriends, and hearing his joyous call as his friends point out my car coming through the drive, his face grubby and beaming.

We visited a couple new places, and had many adventures, since he is just old enough to really start trying out the world on his own terms instead of in a stroller.

This year was definitely a year of growth- coming into myself as a person, wtfhing my son go from a baby to a boy, changes in what I focused on, and having a couple opportunites I didn’t think would ever come to me.

So goodbye, 2012… I won’t see you next year, as I will everyone else.

 

Deep thoughts at the beach

I always do my best, deepest thoughts at the beach. The ocean waves drown out all of the superfluous thoughts, the salt air cleans out the mind, the sand grounds you. Until it washes away under your feet.

IMG_5097

The last couple of months have been full of a lot of thinking.

And nausea.

Yes, these are related.

I went to two blog conferences. In the same week. With morning sickness.

And as I sat there, listening to great bloggers and business ladies talk both about how to build a business, balance life and work and how to have your blog be of yourself, I started to have an epiphany.

One that took a month or two to become complete.

I haven’t been the only one lately with this epiphany lately, I can already tell.

The first two months of pregnancy made me ill enough that sitting at the computer made me nauseous.

So I quit sitting there.

I realized I didn’t totally miss it.

My Twitter slowed down, my blog reading fell behind, and during this I had thoughts tumble in my head.

I thought about why I had a blog.

To share.

To share me.

I thought about how much I felt not being able to share about my pregnancy the first few weeks here- to write the little stories.

I realized, to be a storyteller, as Catherine Connors told me I was, I just needed to be me.

Not to worry about what other bloggers were doing.

My Facebook is full of other bloggers now, and I realize some of them, I can’t even figure out which blog they belong to.

I don’t miss trying to hit Twitter parties to try to find new followers.

Instead I want to get to know some of my favorites better.

This year I picked a word instead of a resolution, one that has come back and back, even though I’ve gone off track and back on.

Focus.

I’m not the best with resolutions, but this word, I could decide what I wanted to do. What ever I was doing, that I would pay attention to it.

And as much as I thought I would focus on the blog, I found myself focusing more and more on family.

My primary job is keeping my family, and it’s something that I have worked at all year.

And after a year, I am choosing a new word for next year and reflecting back on this one.

Seeing where my focus went, where it waned, what I needed to have done instead.

And choosing a way to pick a better way to use my time, to focus even better, to make sure everyone is cared for and happy, including me.

And realizing that, the business of blogging isn’t for me.

I just want to get more of me here, beyond the ‘Mom Life’ that is tagged in so many of my posts.

To get my small moments, like the sand on the beach, cold under my feet and washing away with the waves, back on the page.