Thursday, March 05, 2009

Has mommyblogging jumped the shark?

-9Last week I almost disconnected my Twitter feed. I even, for a moment, considered shutting down my blog. I couldn't bear reading another "I've got a giveaway," "I'm on a trip to Brand X headquarters" or "pleaseDigg my latest post" tweet. I was saddened every time I turned to one of my favorite blogs and saw the personal, heartfelt content that had made me a loyal reader displaced by posts about Campbell's soup or how much fun it was to go to a blogger conference and shill for the sponsor who paid for the trip.

Far be it from me to begrudge another mother the chance to do something fun for free (particularly in this economic climate), but I worry that mommyblogging is evolving from its warm, wonderful beginnings as a sort of hybrid online diary-support group into a crowded, commercial enterprise withtoo many bloggers competing for share of voice and corporate hand-outs.

Don't get me wrong, I don't see marketing and blogging as mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite: I've worked both sides and been instrumental in bringing brands and bloggers together for mutual benefit. Mothers who blog are connected people both online and off and their recommendations can be a powerful source of trusted word of mouth. But the key word here is trusted. And a mommyblogger who spends more time marketing her blog, promoting products and chasing corporate sponsorships than she does writing about the ups and downs of being a mommy is going to lose that trust. Quickly. When trust goes, so does readership. And if you're in it for the money, well, you're not going to get any from a blog with no traffic.

I'm not in it for money or fame; I maintain my blog as a digital scrapbook of my life as a working mother of two, but if I were, I'd take a cue from the best brand marketers and keep it real. Successful brands, be they Coca-Cola, Apple or Tide, have one thing in common, and that's a sense of authenticity. Mommybloggers, of course, don't need to seem authentic. They are authentic, real people. Pleas stay that way.