Media mogul Martha Stewart recently caught my attention as she shared her critical thoughts regarding bloggers. All it took was seeing her interview via a fellow blogger’s Facebook post and I was all fired up! Apparently, Martha’s message shared in her infamous, “Who are these bloggers?” diatribe has become a sore topic for many.
Watch Martha Stewart as she cakes on the snark, questioning the credibility of bloggers in this recent video interview with Bloomberg TV:
She has a couple valid points that I do not necessarily disagree with, but her delivery could have been a way less stuffy, considering that she has benefited from being one of the primary inspirations for so many of us homemaker-turned-blogger types (aka consumers who are crafty) across the world and her “earned media” is greatly due to our online support and outreach programs!
Regarding bloggers: “They’re not trained editors and writers at Vogue magazine. I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create kind of a popularity. But they are not the experts and we have to understand that.” ~ Martha Stewart
My first thought was to recall her attempts at regaining the spotlight (after her “time away”) by bringing pop culture guests such as Snoop Dog to her platform. She appeared to be trying on the “keepin’ it real” hat for size, but it just did not fly for many of us. The home slice appeal is just not Martha’s shtick – and that is fo’ shizzle.
“If you needed a definition for the saying ‘biting the hand that feeds you’ this would be it. I think the view from atop her empire is not looking so good as of late. If I want a recipe I have so many more REAL options these days. The only reason I have her magazine subscription is because it’s a freebie.” ~ Melanie S.
Then I recalled how Martha Stewart was a speaker at BlogHer 12, an annual blogger convention supporting the largest community of women who blog (their website attracts 40 million unique visitors per month, btw!), and I was curious as to how she truly resonated with bloggers there, wondering if, at that juncture, her intentions were really to inspire and engage with real-life bloggers/citizen journalists in regards to how to authentically grow and succeed in this ever-so-competitive online space.
Having attended BlogHer, myself, I could not help but experience its compelling lure, as BlogHer’s methods of attracting bloggers and online enthusiasts to unite, support and celebrate one another (particularly in regards to fostering an online presence) speak volumes. Again, Martha does have a point and I am sure wants to be quite discerning in regards to having her blogger outreach programs on exclusive platforms- makes sense – but ….. ease up on your generalizations, Marth.
“I have a lot to say about this. Bloggers are reporters. We report what we do – what works, what doesn’t. It’s a grand experiment. Our lives aren’t meant to be picture perfect. We do what’s works with our ideals. I can put out a fancy meal if I want to every night… but I choose not to because my kids like mac and cheese. I’m the expert in my own household.” ~ Melissa H.
It has always been my contention that bloggers gain status and clout due to their popularity, similar to the field of entertainment. Part of becoming noticed is due to producing desirable content, but another part of it is being crafty/economical at the skill of attracting eyeballs, as well. Appealing to a certain audience that wants to share your content is key! Similar to Martha’s showcasing Snoop’s green brownie enthusiasm (the more green, the better, is what he shared) to gain fans from a particular niche, bloggers also have free range to explore what serves their purpose. Hit or miss – we common folk just work with a much smaller scale.
Many of us bloggers do not pretend to be award-winning journalists, rather we express ourselves authentically using a platform and tools that exude our passions, skills and talents, triumphs and mistakes – regardless of the degrees or credentials we might or might not possess. Our “empires” often are our households, and we have a vast array of professional experience under our belts to make a big difference and gain from others.
“When someone behaves the way she did in that interview it is a signal that there is suffering going on somewhere – my guess is that people have stopped sniffing the paint – they realize they don’t have to do it perfectly – but rather the doingness is still good and worth celebrating. Her work is no longer seen as the standard and that is quite possibly hurting the financial statements.” ~Joann W.
“What she fails to understand, is that many of us non-expert bloggers come from a background of higher education and had ‘real’ careers before coming into blogging. In fact, some of us were pioneers in the blogging sphere. I have dual Master’s degrees and as far as I am concerned, I have earned my expertise.” ~ Laura L.
Bloggers can refer to themselves as a “gurus” or “professional foodies,” but in the end, how yummy the brownies turned out – green or not – might be reward enough for some bloggers, who are not necessarily even aiming to be the next Martha. If we read a particular blogger’s “About Me” page, we can gauge for ourselves as to how much time and/or energy we wish to invest in that source, based on what we read. Bloggers tend to reveal enough about their professional backgrounds to help us readers judge for ourselves if our time is well spent. Like in any field, there are fakes, thieves and frauds, and yes they do come out of the woodwork and rear their ugly faces from time to time, so on that note, I get where Martha might be coming from.
They/we are those who wish to share their thoughts online, is who, and I encourage it highly! I hopefully speak for a large majority of ”these bloggers” when I share that a good amount of us are every day family folk who have found very viable outlets to build community and find others whom we not only relate with, but gain from, learn from and do business with.
What we might lack in Martha-type talent (and I certainly am no Martha), we tend to make up for in inspiration, courage and chutzpah. Going “big” is not the objective for all of us – and that’s fo’ shizzle, yo. Tackling motherhood is an “empire” enough, for me, anyway!
“What is her definition of ‘expert?’ An editor is not an expert chef, or designer, or stylist. I’ve lived on my boat for 8 years. I’ve raised both of my daughters on my boat from their births. In my blogging ‘field’ I actually am an ‘expert,’ as far as I’m concerned on living aboard, sailing, and raising kids on a boat.” ~ Charlotte Kaufman
It is a digital jungle out there and while I agree with Martha that in this space we might confront many impostors, I have seen a methodical shift that many media moguls have made to make their mark online; sometimes they engage in tactics less than honorable than others, and driven by traffic and ratings, they gain their “success” similar to how pop culture gains fame and popularity, how tabloids do, and how celebrities do. It is the nature of this beast. I am sure that Martha must have learned, having hung out with Snoop, that there is much more to “Snoop talk” than just adding “izzle” to the end of one’s words; you can’t fake a genuine connection – and that is precisely what bloggers have down – and do particularly well.
“Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Martha Stewart major in history? When do I get to officially call myself a professional mom? Do I need to take a Martha-approved course to share my recipes that have been shared among three generations? Should I be waiting for her stamp of approval?” ~ Kathy C.
This is when journalistic integrity comes in and bloggers, freelancers, PR, journalists, marketers, celebrities, scholars, etc. all have to determine the degree of professionalism they wish to maintain in this new world of media. And if ratings, profit, and popularity are primarily what are driving content, then the issues that Martha is legitimately addressing become less reflective of bloggers mucking up the digital world, and more having to do with select people who contribute to modern media’s diminishing credibility or those who claim whatever they wish to as “art,” just because it sells and makes the billboards. And it is there on the left, the right and up and down!
Know your niche and be yourself! Sure, double-check your posts and edit them, stay up with blogger regulations, and be honest – but do your thing! Many of us are a one-person operation and do not have even 1/2- a-percent of the resources others do, so be easy on yourself when you encounter an overlooked misspelled word every here or there and ignore the haters, because they are out there!
“What makes Martha an expert? What makes anyone an expert? You work hard to learn all that there is about a topic and you share it with other people. Martha’s an expert because she makes a lot of money?! I call bullshit. And you can quote me on that.” ~ Colleen L.
Martha is both articulate and calculated in her approaches, so to come out so boldly, as to paint bloggers in such a poor light with a very broad brush, she has me thinking that she has been done wrong by select bloggers and/or foodies, which is unfortunate! And while Martha might not give my or my peers’ blogs a “professional” stamp of approval, I have never presumed to esteem myself as a Martha-in-the-make type, anyway.
If I were even an ounce dissuaded as a blogger due to fear of making mistakes or looking imperfect, I would have never carved out a way to stay at home with my kids and center my life around them daily, (at least until they are 18 years-old!) yet still succeed with a dream that has far surpassed my expectations. And, I would never have enjoyed such life-changing experiences as I have over the past several years, thanks to the support of my fellow bloggers - fo’ rea-zeals!
PS: Martha, btw, you are still bad-ass; I am just in a state of confusion!
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