Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My CBS News interview: a preview

Last night local CBS News reporter Dorothy Tucker came over to interview me about my thoughts on blogging and the controversy-that-shouldn't-be-a-controversy over transparency and authenticity in the momosphere. She was supposed to arrive at 6:30pm, but got stuck in traffic for an hour.

So at 7:30, when Ms. Tucker and her photographer arrived, A was in bed and Z was tired but determined to be on TV.

So imagine, if you will, this scene. The window A/C unit has been turned off. Bright lights have been set up. I'm positioned at my dining room table, iBook open. Z's on the floor behind the reporter. Ms. Tucker asks me a tough question. I start to answer, trying to be diplomatic but not wishy-washy. Mid-sentence, Z comes over to ask why the camera's not trained on her.

We try again. And again. Each time I try to deliver one of my talking points, my daughter jumps into the picture with an inane request or turns on a loud toy. Then, frustrated that I keep sending her away and asking her to quiet down, she throws a royal temper tantrum.

I pull off my mic and try to comfort her, but she's had a big, long day that included a day camp trip to the zoo, a visit to the pool and two playdates. It's past her bedtime and she's fried. Finally, with my hair frizzing and my lipstick melting off, I deliver her to Dad.

The interview resumes. Honestly, I don't know how I did. I know the soundbites I'd practiced went out the window. I talked a lot, but I felt like I was saying the same thing over and over again. No, I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to make money off her blog. Yes, I've done the occasional product review myself. No, I don't accept money for posts or positive product reviews. No, I really haven't made any money at all; that's not why I do this. Yes, I feel transparency is crucial. Yes, I support FTC oversight as it will encourage mom bloggers to disclose.

I also spoke about how, as a marketer, I've encouraged companies to embrace mom bloggers. They are a powerful, influential source of word-of-mouth. What worries me is mom bloggers selling out their blog--their own brand if you will--to the highest bidder. I think they're doing a disservice to their readership and themselves.

When Ms. Tucker asked if I trusted any product review blogs, I responded with shout-outs to ZRecommends and Cool Mom Picks, two review blogs that hold themselves to very high standards. Both sites distinguish editorial from advertising and ZRecommends' "keep no stuff" policy is particularly admirable.

The CBS story is scheduled to run on the 10 o'clock news on August 10th.