I’m sure there are people already freaking out because of the title of this post. Here’s the thing, I blog as a matter of method of communication and business strategy. NOT because I’m a “blogger.” Sadly, the idea of being a blogger comes with a lot of negative associations. More specifically, I’m a woman with kids who blogs — therefore the assumption to some is that I’m a mom blogger.
For example, this past weekend I took a trip with my family to a gaming conference (PAX East). No less than nine people contacted me and asked 1) who my sponsor was and 2) why I wasn’t “disclosing”. WHAT? I went to PAX so my kids (and husband, let’s not forget the King Gamer in the house) could geek out over new games and I could get some ideas on new tabletop games to buy. I bought full price tickets to get in, stayed at a hotel we paid for, drove ourselves there and back, and stood in line like everyone else to play video game demos. When I disclosed this, I was met with outrage on why I wasn’t given special treatment as a “BLOGGER.” Uh, because everyone can blog, it’s not a big of a deal as some make it out to be.
The real stars of the conference were the Minecraft YouTubers that my daughter idolizes. Kids – yes, kids – who have millions of active (and monetized) YT subscribers. I’m pretty sure they make more money in a month than I make in a year. Minecraft Let’s Play celebrities literally have girls crying and screaming in the hallway. I promise you no amount of notoriety as a blogger (or working professional for that matter) has lead me to having screaming fans following me into the bathroom. (THANK GOODNESS. That’s creepy.)
Being a “blogger” to some degree has become synonymous with being entitled and unprofessional. I am an advisor over at iBlogMagazine with the hopes that professional education can help fix some of the gaps when bloggers want to turn online publishing into a legit business. I joined (and paid for) a New Media Professional Association membership targeted to parents that blog. I speak at parent/women blogger conferences to try to help expand their technical skills and become better media producers. In the end I don’t see blogging as a career, profession, or business. It is a TOOL. JUST. A. TOOL. Not a lifestyle. Not a means to get free shit or cut in lines.
Honestly I have no issue with parent blogging at ALL. I read a fair number of them. The problem is that I’m just not “one of them” and it seems disappointing to some that I choose not to align myself in the profession. For me, I find that my professional abilities and my company are often undervalued or dismissed because of this association of being a mom blogger stereotype.
I’m not a writer. I’m not a journalist. I’m not a mom blogger. I’m not an accountant. I’m not an attorney. I’m NOT a lot of things.
But what I AM has also been horribly bastardized to the point that every few years I have to re-label myself to separate out from the garbage. Search on my old LinkedIn profile or my professional website and I’m sure it said I was a social media professional (some account may still have this listed). People that had no right calling themselves that have now muddied the water for the great number of us that do know what we are doing. If you claim to be a social media guru, have 42 Twitter followers, and sell services to gain others thousands of followers for $23 — I don’t even need to explain how this has hurt the industry.
This past week I went to a business mastermind event (which I paid for – weird how I feel the need to disclose every penny I spend on my business advancement). When I introduced myself, others told me their impression of what I did (that was part of the exercises). Responses ranged from “can you send Tweets for my company?” and “can you get me more Facebook followers?” to “the agency I hired can’t show me how I’m making more money after buying more Facebook fans.”
A year from now I’m sure I’ll label myself something else. Evolve or die. In the end it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, but by what others refer to us as. What we offer to help others succeed at is what really matters professionally. Be a mom blogger. Be a YouTuber. Be an accountant. But whatever you do, be sure you are doing it for the right reasons. I know what my reasons for EVERYTHING are, and it’s not fame or notoriety. It’s to take care of my family and pay for trips to gaming conventions so that my daughter can have the time of her life…