Back in 2006, as the PR companies started circling and the world was just starting to catch on to this ‘Mommyblogging’ phenomenon, I very clumsily attempted to tell Heather Armstrong the A-listers were hurting my feelings.
Of course this was at BlogHer con, and I was tipsy, so it came out very awkward and bitchy. I had heard grumblings of the cool kids’ club. I had heard complaints that all these new Mombloggers were just copycats. I wanted to know if the community I shoved myself into was, in fact, real and supportive.
Heather was, of course, gracious and understanding. She didn’t feel that way at all, she loves this community, and so on and so forth.
I felt better.
Flash forward to 2008 and BlogHer con just around the corner. I’m watching some high profile names make some pretty hefty accusations and some new and eager bloggers scratch their heads, fight back, and even second guess this amazing community.
The good thing about us bloggers, is we talk. We comment, we discuss, we post. Communicate. Sometimes we over-communicate…but at least it’s out there.
With the rise of Mommyblogging has come growing pains, competition, traffic, ad money, the works. It’s exciting and it’s frustrating. There are no longer thousands of us, there are millions and we have influence and reach.
What we can not stand to lose, is the community.
It is what makes us. It is what drives us. It is the entire reason we are who we are. There will always be flamewars and snarking and back channel chatter about who did what to whom. Human nature. But what is new is the megaphone’s power.
I learned this the hard way. I am one of the megaphone’s biggest abusers.
Like it or not, you are now widely read and widely heard. Like it or not, it comes with responsibility. Trust me, I’m the last person to like the responsibility part of it all.
Not too long ago a few entrepreneurs I know bickered over some ventures. One thought the other was copying, the other thought he was making it his own. The analogy that came up: it was like McDonalds getting mad Burger King had come to town and set up shop across the street.
I think that is a fair analogy here. McDonalds is mad Burger King is making hamburgers. However, as we all know, no one has the monopoly on hamburgers.
No one has a monopoly on snarky parentblogging either. Or the name ‘Queen’ or even who gets to be loudest at any given moment. I may protect my ‘business’ but I certainly can’t hate that someone wants to be the Pepsi to my Coke.
What we DO have a monopoly on is community. We own this one, outright. All of us. Not one of us is more of a rockstar than the other, and we all take inspiration from each other. MORE importantly, we all RELY on each other. We all know why we are involved in this blogging/twitter/fill-in-the-blank-social-media-service-here: it’s the support, the advice, the friendship.
As I have watched other communities get into pissing matches, it strikes me how much we may be traveling down that road.
Fame and fortune bring trainwrecks I guess. I’d like to see us remain the ‘closest knit community online.’
Because in case you hadn’t noticed, the world is watching.