Wednesday 22 September 2010

Are There Rules to Blogging?

Hello, yes I have finally recovered from the MADS awards, and clutching my imaginary Best Blagger award from Sally at Whose the Mummy, I am going to write a bit of a serious post, for a change!

This has been inspired by a forum discussion at Blogger.Ed, whereby the terrifically funny Barenaked Mummy complained of being stuck in a blogging rut, and wasn't sure what to do. Should she risk posting a similar post to one from a few months back, or have a rest until inspiration strikes once more?

Which got me wondering:

Are there rules, written or otherwise, to blogging when being a parent blogger?

Now, if you are a fashion blogger, well, you'll always have something new to write about- who has worn what by whom this week, who made a tit of themselves wearing something awful, what's hot for next season. You get the idea.

If you are a Tech blogger, or a home wares blogger, or a religious blogger, well, there's always something new around to write your opinion on.

With Parent Blogging. Not so much new news.

It's double trouble with parent blogging. Not only do you have the issue that you may be repeating the same stuff that you said about your older child when your younger child does it. 

There's also the problem that even if you haven't written about it, then there are so many Parent Bloggers that you will inevitably rehash something one of your contemporaries has covered, if not several of them.

The topics in parent blogging are few- first the newborn stage of crying all night, of weight gains or losses, of annoying medical staff, or near death experiences when giving birth (and that's just those who plumped for a natural birth).

Then you have "the milestone years". The ones about talking, or lack of, then too much. The teeth posts. The wean posts. The waddles to steps posts.

Then its Potty Training. Be it a nightmare or not, its been covered with panache by well, The Potty Mummy. Or The Potty Diaries. How can you top their "built around poo" blogs?

Try as we might, we cannot find a topic which hasn't been done to death already.

And then we have the minefield that is Review Posts. (Queue dark disturbing horror theme tune).

Never has something divided the Blog world as much as the "to review or not to review" debate.

If you review, do you lack integrity? Are you just a blagger who blogs just for the material gain? Will you be sent out into the blogging wilderness, never to be read without scorn anywhere again?

Err, no.

On many occasions I have been accused, and not in a jokey way, of being a scammer, only out for free buggies, washing machines and vacuums. Well, yes, I have been given all three. But I have had to do actual writing for these- and have had the same emails asking me where my post is, why have I not tweeted it 20 times a minute, why did I not give it a 100% rating, on and on and on. In fact I very nearly lost my temper over the 5th draft that has been turned down this week. I didn't but, my, was I close to it. I may receive something, but if not looking in terms of what it costs in the shops, but what it costs to manufacture, its a pittance to what actual consumer journalists are paid.

Then, if you are new to it, and receive a shiny new product, only to find its absolute crap, what do you do? Do you say, well, its absolute crap. Or do you give it a shiny review (eg. Lie) so as not to be sent out into the blogging wilderness by the PR people or brands? Is there ever a case when honesty isn't the best policy?

Its often hard to keep everyone happy. Bloggers especially are a hard bunch to please. Even PRs aren't safe from ridicule. 

Send a mail shot saying they love your blog, but to 30 bloggers who all converse on Twitter, and no doubt your email, so well written and considered in the office when you wrote it, will be posted to disdainfully be mocked on a social network, and your name will be mud. Even if you are offering a really great thing, insult a blogger by getting a name or age of child wrong and that's it, you are blacklisted.

It may not seem more than a minor detail, but if you want to write an email with the starter of I love/consider yours one of the best/always read your blog, then getting a name wrong about a child written almost constantly in this blog is always going to cheapen the sentiment. And make you look like an arse. To a blogger, anyway. Do your research! Or get someone under you to do it for you and write a list.

Just think of it this way- if you were asked to market a pair of trainers, you wouldn't send out marketing to Saga magazine. Know your market, know that bloggers are, rightly or wrongly, a picky, finickity bunch. And they are this because they are doing this inbetween the ironing, the cooking and the washing. They do not receive minimum wage. They also have to sort the kids out as they type. They do not work a 9-5, they deserve respect. And if you don't show them it, well, you wont get much help from them. Get on the right side and you'll be passed on to other helpful parents. Get it wrong and you'll soon see your email discussed on Twitter. With lots of mocking or cross 3 letter acronyms.

Blogging. Whether you are the parent on the end of the PC, casually switching on CBeebies for ten minutes while you write another snot or poo or scraped knee post, or a PR who wants to make links, its never easy. 

But then, that's perfect. Cos whoever said that raising children was easy obviously had a nanny.....


  1. Ah see - I took your words and blogged , you took my words and blogged, Thx babe written lovely! Bugger them all - anyways!

    Have your flowers arrived?


  2. here, here!! to all the under appreciated lovely mums out there!

  3. I solve the problem by writing about any old rubbish that comes into my head... no wonder I don't get offered vacuum-cleaners, washers and the like.

    Although, when you think about it, perhaps I should?

  4. Ah see now Tim, maybe thats where I was going wrong with nominations for The MADS. Maybe if I had never started the reviews blog, I too could have felt the glory of a MAD award, rather than just filling my washing machine 4 times a day?!!

  5. Great post! I think sometimes the real reason people blog gets forgotten which is because they enjoy what they write about. And if there was any rule to it then it should be just that! Enjoy it!


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