They say, a blog is the window to the heart. We’ve become a world of online-voyers. Whether we’re looking at celebrity news online, watching reality television, or voraciously becoming involved in the lives of others; we are feasters on other’s demise and negativity. With the recent rise of blogging and online networking, who you bring to the blogsphere matters as much as protecting your brand. Mommybloggers, especially are a target for other women online and in message boards.
A BlogHer survey conducted by Compass Partners : 36.2 million American female Internet users actively participate in blogs every week. You get 15.1 million women publishing at least one post a week and 21.1 million reading and commenting at least weekly. (http://www.blogher.com/blogher-compass-partners-2008-social-media-benchmark-study-blogging-mainstream-reliable-fun-advice-a)
Take for instance, a widely read blog by Jennifer, (aka: @Mckmama): www.mycharmingkids.net who blogs about her family, giveaways and her personal views on faith. With a cult following of thousands of page views daily and ad revenue that recently allowed her family to move to a larger home, there is also a rise in her criticism. An entire website dedicated to those who feel her blog is nothing more than a scandalous profiting scheme sprung up in February, 2010. http://mckmamawithoutpity.blogspot.com/ started as a message board for questioning the motive behind, MckMama and instead, has turned into an entire community of posters divulging personal information about Jennifer including; her husband’s assault arrests, numerous foreclosures and public tax information and liens. (See Here.) Entire twitter profiles have even been created to draw attention to the drama: http://twitter.com/suckitmckmama, which seems absolutely silly concerning the epic among of time spent on tweeting against one individual.
Most of their criticism seems to revolve around two key points: the fact that MckMama demands readers click multiple times within a page to heighten her count, (therefore expanding her payperclick profit.) When her fourth child, Stellan’s surgeries and the financial stress encompassing the family was featured after Jennifer had asked for, donations: financial and otherwise, to be sent to her account.** (Please see bottom of post.) ** Readers, fearing the worst, donated and prayed for her sick child, Stellan in hopes that their efforts could make a difference. After famously posting, http://twitpic.com/brnel many readers began to question the bravery or readership gain of a mother who was watching her son’s life fade before her eyes. Fox 9 News, (notorious for covering MckMama and Stellan,) recently posted a piece on a giveaway even linking to their readers: See Here.
I recently emailed MckMama to get her take about the story behind the giveaway, her blog and what she might say to those that don’t believe in her authenticity. Not happy that I mentioned I wanted to showcase both sides of the blogging story, Jennifer replied with this:
“I’d be thrilled to talk about Compassion and the initiative I’m doing on my blog with people, however I in no way want to be part of an article about stalking and dissention (sic). My policy is to not address or draw any attention to dissenters (sic) who are anonymous or hateful. I noticed a few of your recent Tweets, one of them even linking to such a site.”
It takes guts and determination to put one’s self out in the world for everyone to see. MckMama has my appreciation on behalf of all women bloggers, but also, some concern.
Readers or Profit?
Some call it ingenious, others call it less, most agree that a blog based soley in profit does not allow true authenticity to be revealed to it’s readers. As firm believer that blogging is like opening a window to your life I always state, the farther you open the window, the more wind you allow to enter. In either case, the first rule of successful blogging is to listen and humanize yourself to your audience.
Veteran bloggers, Suzi Magill of (www.pinkvanillacupcakes.com) and Mykl Roventine of, (http://www.myklroventine.com/) believe that the success of blogging lies within the connection from poster, to reader:
“My success isn’t based on revenue, it’s based on the interactions I get and the people I’ve met. My blog was never intended to be a source of revenue. I have a good job–this is just purely about my passion. The ads are just for fun…and maybe a pedicure.” (Suzi Magill)
“Blog “profit” for me is interaction. I measure success as being able to engage my readers and transform their experience into something more. That can mean they learn something new, take an active part in the conversation or get inspired to share it.” (Mykl Roventine)
Where does the line cross from friendly criticism to loss of personal safety and information? More importantly, do bloggers have the responsibility to fully disclose profits to their readers since the clicks distribute the wealth? I want to hear from you. In a world of rising mom blogs, does the outpouring of criticism and loss of personal freedom leave you concerned?
Melissa Summers, (@MelissaSummers) knows the issue of reader-trespassing, all too-well. Melissa is a well-known blogger from Royal Oak, MI, of www.suburbanbliss.net whose focus on the dark side of mommydom and the price of self-sacrifice has made her an easy target for readers across the nation. Melissa also has ads on her site. Summers is, “A frequent target of an out-pouring of criticism.” Summers continues to blog, “her way and with the grace and insight of a well-versed writer,” says a friend who is a regular reader.
“I don’t think she loves them the right way, in the way that the kids need,” says Michele McBee, a California blogger who has frequently attacked Summers.
Summers responded to a recent article about her anti-fans and had this to say, “It really makes me angry that somebody can be a bully and do this. There is a lot of anger about mom blogs and I haven’t really been able to understand why.” Summers speaks for most of us who are finding ourselves confused with the dark and seedy side of MomBlog readers.
Is it a case of the outside world trying to cause strife in order to fragment the mothers who “spend about $2 trillion annually” and reap in a whopping ad revenue to the tune of “$283 million on all blogs in 2007 and a projection of $746 million by 2012.” (http://www.blogher.com/big-mommy-watching?wrap=free-tagging/pooponpeeps&crumb=64563)
Perhaps it’s a case of, “One blog to ruin them all.”
There are moms, who drink and swear. Take my recent outing with my four year old that left my skirt swiftly slammed into my car door by five, tiny, helpful, fingertips. As her eyes glared at me when I said, “POOP!” (except it was more like NOT poop,) and her mouth reminded me, “That’s a MOM word.” Moms are not perfect, (as much as we try to fit ourselves into a mold,) we could never truly gain appreciation from all our readers. A while back, I posted, an article about my exhaustion over mothers who thought that drinking and swearing was hilarious, when referring to their children. See: Here. I acknowledged that I was perplexed at how calling your children, “little f*ckers,” might help your hits, or do anything but make the Britney Spears’ of the world rejoice. There’s a line- surely, there’s a line. Where it is? I’m not sure. I’m willing to testify to the fact that I have absolutely no idea about anything but the facts of the matter: emotions and mommydom are prime candidates for scathing blog reviews. Lisa Grimm, marketing communications manager at Action Selling, (www.communicationspassionista.com,) spoke to me about power of a compelling blog.
“If the value in content and discussion isn’t there, there will be no clicks. So, providing content to your readers that hits a node within their being and encourages and engages them to comment makes the blog successful enough to then profit from. There has to be full integrity in what I do and the choices I make. I’m not into making money on the Internet in that way, so it wouldn’t be for me, not do I really think it’s kosher.” (Lisa Grimm)
The point is this: We want our lives to be sensational- to draw others in with triumphs and moments of glorious clarity that far surpass those of kneeling-anxiety. Once we open our windows, the cracks seem to allow wind as well as dust; how far we open, however; is entirely up to us.
*An insane amount of thanks to Suzi Magill, (@Suzi_MN) whose wonderful insight drew me to the facts behind the issue and the heart under the surface of prominent MommyBlogs.*
**At 10:45 this evening, I received an email from Jennifer, (aka: MckMama.) She wanted to stress that she never asked for donations of any kind to go to her account. She stated the following:
I read your article. I never, ever, ever once asked for any donations. I ask you respectfully to please update your article with the correct information. Thank you! (MckMama)
Multiple sources claimed that Jennifer ‘hinted’ and claimed she needed money for Stellan’s medical bills and for the other children. After googling “Mckmama” and watching, “Mckmama drama,” come up I decided that no matter what Jennifer did or didn’t do, it wasn’t worth the anger that lay just beyond the google results. When we open a window to our readers we give them power to destroy or lift us up- it’s unfortunate the struggle of power that’s happening.
Discussions about Jennifer seeking gift cards are below: