So. So Martha Stewart was being interviewed for some thing, and mentioned bloggers in less than glowing terms:
Cue OMGDEFCON1RAEG from the blogosphere, with associated hashtags and everything.
Some clarifications before I start:
1. I don’t like Martha Stewart. Always found her stuff bland – in my head, it’s what a sexually repressed Ikea would look like.
2. Martha Stewart has I imagine a lot of online media presence, including I’m sure blogs, or bloggers who do content for her.
3. To be perfectly pedantic, Martha should have said ‘Many bloggers’ or ‘Most bloggers’ are not experts, as there are a few legit experts in their field who happen to also blog about their jobs, and they are really really good at what they do/write, but they are rare.
4. This is not a matter of small bloggers being silenced. This is really not a matter of the Establishment being afraid of your talent, or the Gatekeepers stopping the Creators from fulfilling their artistic quest to stencil every square inch of their homes with inspirational quotes. Knock yourselves out.
That being said…she’s right. 99.9999995% of bloggers out there are not experts. And that’s okay! I’ve been writing in a blog for about 12 years now, and while I’m occasionally invited onto national tv or radio for my specific “expertise“, I don’t consider myself an expert. I just like to write about bad coffee, or when my toddler is acting like an asshat, or something on the TV. I’m not special.
And neither are you.
I don’t know who started this trend of ‘mini-empire’, where people buy a domain and suddenly call themselves gurus of hot glue guns/food/parenting/what have you, but I’m glad the Queen Bee of Brocade is calling errrrebody out, because that shit is ridiculous. You don’t have to be an expert to have a blog. You don’t have to have a ‘brand’. And while overpriced conferences may tell you otherwise, you don’t have to spend money to have a hobby that exists in the Internet. You just don’t. (As an aside, you also don’t have to spend money to hire people like me to make your web presence look sparkly and perfect, but people continue to do so. On the other hand, thanks for paying for my husband’s 40th birthday.)
When a brand reaches out to me, it is not because my kid can play with their toy sooooooooooo much better than any other kid out there. It’s not because only I can properly test a vacuum as no other living soul can. It’s because I can churn out relatively entertaining copy in a quick timeframe and understand the correct way to hold a camera. THAT IS IT. I don’t assume anything more than what I am to a brand – I’m a helper monkey in their product marketing. I (usually) say nice things, and make their data points look good, and their bosses are happy and they don’t have to go home and drink so much that evening. That is it. There is zero assumption on my part that I am anything other than said monkey, because (and this is important) I DON’T HAVE TO BE AN ‘EXPERT’ TO DO STUFF IN BLOGS AND THAT IS OKAY. MY IDENTITY IS NOT WRAPPED IN ME MAKING UP TITLES FOR MYSELF. I CAN JUST BE ME AND THAT IS OKELEY DOKELEY.
One of the fun things about working on my MBA while I raise the kid is I get to pour over HUGE datapoint sets, from every conceivable market available. So I can see the tech trends and forecasting, and bloggers, I have some bad news for ya’ll – within 5-7 years, the current-form-of-blog bubble will truly burst. Hell, with the rise of microblogging (Instagram) and the copyright issues with Pinterest, not to mention Google images ability to refine (making stolen images easier to find and DMCA takedowns easier to enforce), the entire realm of marketing will be changing, and that means far less revenue in blogger’s pockets. Almost everyone who ruled the roost 5 years ago are out of the game now; almost everyone who rule the roost now will fall to the next demographic of content creators (my guess? 18-24 year old life/travel/tech microbloggers on boutique SM, like the current beta version of Diaspora).
Now, maybe the online ‘experts’ have a point – maybe Martha the Goliath has taken on a David gaggle of bloggers, and overestimated them. It will be interesting to look at this quarter’s numbers versus next quarters, and (accounting for general trends in overall retail and political-economic discrepancies compared to last year’s Q3/Q4 earnings) see if a handful of bloggers, yelling at what appears to be the exact same group of bloggers, will have nearly as much impact as they think it may. But I really, sincerely doubt that this will be more than a blip on the MS empire’s radar in a week or so. And considering how quickly the twitterragemachine works, I imagine it will be forgotten by most bloggers within a week as well.
Let it go, people. Just enjoy writing. Let that be enough. And if it isn’t, make it more in a legit manner, not by just calling yourself an expert and blogging about how angry you are that Martha doesn’t recognize your greatness. And if it really, really bugs you, do what every other top-of-their-field person does that’s worth their salt: Wish Martha the best, and then do your own thing. Twitter beefs are for rappers and high schoolers. Professionals let it go.