It seems that as the Mummyblogging genre continues to explode in Australia, there are some concerns about Mummybloggers, our ethics and how we spend our time. Ignoring entirely why anyone else has the right to dictate what my spare time is spent on, I thought that I’d address some of the issues that “concerned Internet citizens” seem to have.
“Mummybloggers are unethical”
Unfortunately here, you can’t lump all blogging mums into the same boat. As a community we are diverse, with many different opinions on what ethics actually are. So with this, I cannot speak for anyone except myself and the small section of bloggers that I interact with daily.
Is there unethical behaviour carried out by bloggers? Probably, but first you’ve got to decide exactly what “ethical” and “unethical” mean to you – and then remember that not everyone else will agree with your definition. Labelling something that you don’t agree with as “unethical” is similar to labelling a blogger a “sell out” for promoting something you wouldn’t touch.
As bloggers, we don’t have an official code of ethics. However, as media (and yes, we are media – new media, but media nonetheless) we need to act with a level of responsibility. Parenting blogs are usually opinion based and therefore, we’re less likely to say, incite violence, or hate crimes – unlike some traditional media “big names” we could mention.
Any blogger behaving consistently in an unethical way, will lose readers and traffic pretty quickly. Therefore there’s natural selection at work. Our readers are not stupid and will not hang around if they think they’re being duped.
“Mummybloggers are paid to only write positive reviews”
I receive a lot of product in the mail. I don’t write about the products I don’t like. It’s as simple as that. I know most other parenting bloggers work on the same premise. If product X gave me a rash, I’ll let the PR company know that it’s not a fit for me and won’t be on the blog. I’m not wasting my time and energy writing about a product I don’t like.
The exception here might be writing about the so-called organic shampoo that my kids bathed the cat in, and promptly sent the cat bald. But while it’s an amusing anecdote, I don’t want to be dealing with angry company lawyers and threats of defamation.
So if I don’t love it, I won’t write about it.
Paid posts are clearly labelled at the beginning of the post. Usually these are in conjunction with a giveaway, and the company is only paying me for the time it takes to write the post, moderate the comments, organise the entries and draw the giveaway. Let me repeat, THAT is what I’m being paid for – NOT my opinion. If a product sucks, if it isn’t a fit with my blog, if I don’t like the company, I won’t write about it for any amount of money. Neither will the bloggers I know.
I get a lot of offers to host paid guest posts on things that my readers won’t care about. I turn them down.
“Shouldn’t they be spending time with their children instead?”
OH! Those dastardly mummybloggers, faffing about on the Internet reviewing their fripperies while their poor neglected children languish in the background, dying of starvation.
This seems to be the opinion of a lot of people. That apparently, once you’ve birthed a screaming squalling baby, then you shall never have spare time again. This is the most bullshit argument of the lot of them, frankly.
All adults have spare time – what we choose to do with it is up to us. You might watch crappy reality TV – I will blog. Children aren’t awake 24/7, nor are they as needy as some people seem to think they are. Both of my children love playing made up games together without my intervention, just as much as they love a family game of cards. Sometimes I just don’t have to be there with them. Sometimes, they really want me to go away. I’m good with this.
Also, no one complains if I take time out from my children to cook dinner, or to weed the garden, or to read a book. Apparently it’s only the Internet that is a problem.
This complaint is followed closely by…
“If those women have so much time to spend online, they ought to be out working in a REAL job.”
Since when is motherhood not a real job? What misogonystic bullshit are you trying to pull on me today?
Blogging is a spare time thing. I blog/tweet/facebook when my children are sleeping, or when I’m not otherwise engaged in hands on parenting/household running. Sometimes I can knock a blog post out in a 20 minute block of time – other times I write a paragraph every hour over the course of a day.
You tell me about a “real job” that allows me the kind of flexibility that blogging does and I’ll laugh in your face. Right before I call you a liar.
PARENTING is my real job. Raising my children, nurturing them, creating a safe and supportive environment for them – THAT is my real job.
Blogging is my hobby.
To sum up:
A lot of the concerns about mummyblogging come from people who don’t know very much about it. To them, I invite you to have a click around and see if you find anything you like. My blog may not be your cup of tea, but as a genre, we are a very different lot and there really is a something for everyone.
If you look long enough, you’ll find women to make you laugh and women to make you cry, as well as everything in between.