by Janis Brett Elspas
Note: As you read, keep in mind that this blogpost is the work of a now full-time mommy blogger. My perspective also draws from the personal knowledge and experience I've acquired over several prior decades of working in agency PR, corporate communications, and as a journalist for traditional media.
This is MommyBlogExpert's response to the November 15, 2009 Los Angeles Times story titled Blogging Moms Wooed By Food Firms
Since the L.A. Times story does allow you to email the writers a private comment put doesn’t allow one the option to post a public comment directly to the above mentioned article, I am posting here on this blog. Mommy blog bashing is getting way out of hand, and 5 Minutes for Mom (who was quoted in that story) hits it right, when she says that traditional media may feel their own positions are in jeopardy.
To think: the media fears they may be dethroned — gasp — by a bunch of us moms that give our honest opinions about products they've actually tested personally and feel they want to share with others. There’s a good chance too that all this animosity toward moms who blog has also been aggravated by the jealousy of some bloggers that have not been invited into corporate inner mommy circles. If you really think about it, it’s just silly child’s play. Since when is sharing/recommending things you like to other families such a crime? Or if you don’t like something what’s the matter with telling others what you really think about a product?
As long as mommy bloggers are abiding by full disclosure of how those products were obtained that they are commenting about, they have done nothing wrong. Sure, there are some unethical mommy bloggers, but I’d say it’s likely that the majority of us have always acted with only good intentions. Few if any mommy bloggers contribute currency or a paycheck to their households with these products and trips they “earn” for spending their time writing reviews and for sometimes being away from their families for days at a time.
It’s also important to point out, that personal styles of mommy blogging vary, as much as the personalities of the women that they represent. For example, personally, I don’t make it my purpose to bombard bad products with bad publicity, because everyone knows what happens when you give a child attention when they are acting badly – it just escalates the negative behavior. When I do product reviews, based on something my family tries and benefits from, I always start by looking for the positive attributes – just like a parent builds their child’s self esteem by focusing on the good. But, to be as objective as possible, I also look at the product as a whole when assessing it and I have no problem of touching on any concerns I might have or suggestions on how to make the product even better if I believe there is information consumers ought to know.
BTW I am one of the earlier signers to the voluntary disclosure pledge established by BlogWithIntegrity a group that was active months before the FTC announced mandatory blogging guidelines that go into effect on December 1, 2009.
In conclusion, mommy bloggers are playing an increasingly important role in consumer product marketing as much as they are in consumer advocacy. As moms who blog about information that's ultimately important to consumers, we should stand up together for what we believe is right.
Mommy bloggers just might be on the cusp of impacting some real changes in the social media landscape. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.