Monday, 12 November 2012

Why do you read blogs?

On Saturday the Mumsnet Blogfest took place in London, today mothers and fathers who blog are reeling in its aftermath. Apparently the conference itself was great, I myself missed it (I was with my little family at my nephews' birthday party) so I couldn't really tell you about that. What I can tell you is that a woman whose name we shall shorten to LJ, as I really don't want to give her any more publicity than she's already getting, was present and in fact talked in front of the audience. Whatever she said is of no consequence; however, the result of her short presence at the conference was an article full of hatred towards parents who blog for her Daily Mail column.

I want to turn this on its head and ask you, dear reader, WHY DO YOU READ BLOGS?

As a mother who stays but also works at home, who doesn't place ads on her blog but has no problem with those who do (and will probably ask them one day how to go about it, above all now, it's the feisty spirit), who doesn't publish sponsored posts and hardly ever does reviews (because I don't have time after working and looking after a toddler and household!), I felt attacked from several different directions at once; including the feelings of protectiveness towards fellow mothers whose lives are described with the acronym SAHM. You see, that acronym right there, that SAHM is a job in itself. Financially it doesn't bring a salary at the end of the month but it is hard work. Probably harder than LJ has worked in her life.

I have read several posts in reply to LJ (not an affectionate nickname) from those misquoted in her unresearched and factually incorrect article, I shall find you the links when I'm on my computer for you to read; but also posts from others who, like me, are totally outraged. I am not going to link to the original LJ article (I don't want to!) but you can find it through Cambridge Mummy.

What I really want to know though, as I said earlier, is WHY DO YOU READ BLOGS? 

This has been triggered by a conversation with my friend Patricia who is a faithful reader and all-round lovely, assertive woman bringing up her children in an enviable way, a mother who doesn't blog but who loves reading said forms of expression. I, in fact, have met Patricia because I blog and because she follows my musings but also because I follow her back and interact with her on social media. This blog has given us friendship, something that (from what I gather from people's posts) LJ confessed to not having in her life.

I'll start, shall I? I read blogs for many reasons, from my search for recipes of all types and levels of difficulty to honest heartbreaking posts to funny diatribes. It was during what LJ called a holiday in her article and I call maternity leave that I started reading blogs, motherhood had brought along quite a new set of challenges and other people's experiences helped make sense of it all. The power of the Internet also meant that I had access to this vast knowledge (add that to a blogger's skillset LJ) straight away. This is probably why, when one of you leaves a comment, emails me or even texts me to say that a post has struck a chord or that it is something that they can really relate to and that it has been a relief to know they're not the only ones going through it, that makes the time I spent writing it (and any criticism that anyone may want to throw my way) all worth it.

The difference between LJ and me is that I may be feisty but I am a caring person who has people who care about her.

Now, someone please go give that LJ a hug, she appears to need it and I bet if someone was nice to her, in a soft, sensitive way, then that tough sensationalist (not sensational) cookie would crumble. After all one doesn't become so bitchy unless a lot of crap has happened, perhaps if she wrote about that she would be able to develop a relationship with her readers. For now, and while she is sent on a sensitivity course, she should be suspended.

Finally, it makes me sad for you, for me, for LJ that this is what 2012 brings? A century ago women were fighting for the right to vote and this, this is what we get: oppression from fellow women. I wanted the challenge of bringing up a daughter in the 21st century, I just didn't realise that this is how it was going to go.

PS-What is wrong with moving with the times and making money in innovative ways? As long as there is an ethic and common sense, moving with the times has always been a good thing. It's called history. Which leads me to: LJ, darling, you may want to soften your look a bit, moving with the times means ageing, try to do it gracefully eh!

You may also want to read my other post on the matter: I am blogger, hear me roar! And come be feisty with me while you dance around the room and share your posts.
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