Martha is right, bloggers. Get over it.

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.


I love this image. Like Google Translate threw up.








17 thoughts on “Martha is right, bloggers. Get over it.

  1. I’ve read numerous sites that were angry at Martha. Everyone does have a right to their own opinion. It’s up to you on how you react to it. Thank you for “keepin’ it real”.

  2. […] until nearly a year later, watching a British cooking show in the run up to Christmas, that I watched the actual way a Christmas pudding was prepared.  I was, to say the least, slightly […]

  3. This is great. I’ve been stumbling through this blogging thing for a few years now and am by no means an expert. It’s JUST a blog. It’s not my self worth. It’s a fun thing I do, and one I step away from when it falls short of that.
    tracy recently posted…Exhibit A ~ My first DIY ProjectMy Profile

    • Shea

      THIS EVERY TIME YES YOU GET IT HOLLA BACK. When you can’t step away, you know you have issues.

  4. This was fantastic.

  5. Loved this post. You’re so right.

    • Shea

      Cheers. If bloggers got over the whole ‘we rule the world’ schtick and actually started acting like professionals (clean up copy, TEST YOUR RECIPES AND NO YOUR KIDS DON’T COUNT), above-board professionalism at conferences, etc, they’d actually get to the point where they did, indeed, rule the world!

  6. I saw the little clip. I’m very curious what it looked like unedited.

    Also I’m an expert in two things: Jane and Alexander (my kids). I’m good at some stuff, but expert? Nah.
    Jessica Gottlieb recently posted…Is She a Victim or a Perpetrator?My Profile

    • Shea

      Exactly. Heck, we’ve all got millions and millions of cells that make up our bodies, but we’re not experts in molecular biology. Those who decry Martha as ‘elitist’ while also slapping the title ‘expert’ on themselves, many times without cause or justification, don’t seem to see the delicious irony. But ah well…in a week everyone will have something new to be angry at, and when the holiday sales come, I imagine they’ll reach for Martha’s stuff like they always have.

  7. Thanks. Refreshing post (I’ve also just hopped over to your one on blogging conferences).

    Interesting to read a bit about your views on where blogging is going….to me there seems to be a lot of “hype” sometimes, but not a lot of depth, which I guess, in a way, can be an up (democratisation of knowledge etc, benefit of personal experience readers can relate to…perhaps) and also a down (if anyone can do it, what makes it special).

    You are dead right though, professionals get over it. And perhaps the biggest danger is to take blogging too seriously.
    sarahhillwheeler recently posted…Stop press: Boy eats pie.My Profile

    • Shea

      Exactly. One of my fun things is to help set up ‘safe’ blogs for kids – teaching them the ropes of internet safety, all that. And I love when they can get their words and thoughts out and find commonality in their shared existence. The more voices, the better. It’s when the voices decide, apropos of nothing, that they are ‘experts’ in their field, and then fail to live up to the moniker of ‘expert’, that it takes the shine off of everyone else. Some of the best blogs out there, the long standing, amazing reads, are written by the most self-effacing people on the planet, and THAT is what keeps them grounded, smart, looking ahead, and most of all, aware that this, the internet, is nothing more than a collection of zeroes and ones, and means almost nothing in the real world. Write for yourself. Raise your voice. But for the love of Pete, don’t pretend you are something you aren’t. It’s not good for anyone.

  8. I don’t think it was the whole expert thing that fired people up it’s the context. More like saying they are completely unimportant. While many craft and use her products, and she was being interviewed by a blogger… she should have been better prepared and leveraged the opportunity. Mega missed opportunity if you ask me.

    And yes, most people know they are not experts, that’s not what it is about. It’s more like telling your whole clientelle that is buying goods from you to bake in a scoffing manner, you’re going to sell those? You’re not even a baker… pfttt… #EpicFail and quite disrespectful of those you supposedly serve.
    Beth recently posted…How to share FREE Opt-in Offer using Email Marketing and your WordPress BlogMy Profile

    • Shea

      Yes, I agree, she could have essentially lied and said a small portion of customers were terribly important, but…they aren’t. They really aren’t. Most people are going to forget about this by the end of the month, (heck, facebook was already fired up this morning about some personal trainer who took a pic of her kids and her rock-hard body asking ‘What’s Your Excuse’, so I have a feeling Friday is going to be drowning in excuse memes). But that’s the main issue, which is this: There seems to be this whole entitlement among some bloggers that is leaving a seriously nasty taste in many people’s mouths, kind of like they run the world now.

      To use your baker analogy, you can be a good baker, even a great baker, but not an expert baker. And that’s okay. Lots of great bakers out there have wonderful bakeries even though they aren’t as good as Paul Hollywood, and they’re cool with that. But what I’ve noticed a lot in the last 3-4 years is people who don’t know how to grease a tin slapping EXPERT BAKER on their website, and when the end product doesn’t live up to the hype, it makes all of us look bad.

      If bloggers want to call themselves top of their fields, fabulous – then act like it. Don’t try to get your pain #hashtagged, just brush it off and do original, well-researched and consistently tested work, and for the love of God, don’t act like a wounded animal when someone tells the truth about a large portion of your ‘industry’. Seriously, can you imagine Martha tweeting @huffpo/@thetodayshow/@BloombergNews/and more with her hurt if someone made an oblique comment about her? I think not. Calling yourself professional means acting professional, not spending 2 days trying to get a tempest in a teapot trending.

      • No Shea she should not have lied either. I don’t think you get it.

        She should have respected them, just like you would any customer, by not belittling them. Her statement reveals that she is elitist and doesn’t consider her clients as friends, they are below her, and it’s important to her to point it out, which is what is the ugly thing about it. And yes, in the context even bloggers are her (possible) clients, many of them use her products or would.

        It’s true many are not experts, again, the baker analogy was not about being expert at baking, just replace baker with expert.

        In any case, I’m done talking about this, I enjoy bloggers they have lots of courage and I don’t subscribe to elitist mentalities, I believe everyone who has a dream can bring something valuable to the table, not compared to others but to themselves.
        Beth recently posted…How to share FREE Opt-in Offer using Email Marketing and your WordPress BlogMy Profile

        • Shea

          I get that she would have done better to say nothing than to say something, but let’s be realistic: If you think her statement ‘reveals’ her to be elitist, you have clearly been persona non grata for the whole of her existence. She has built her fortune being elite, and elitist, and bloggers clamored to work with her because of that, not in spite of it. She was (is) still top dog, and they wanted a part of it. And when she told the truth, they got hurt because indeed, it was the truth.

          And if we exchange ‘expert’ with ‘baker’ in your analogy, the hypothetical person comes off looking even worse, because they are essentially lying to a potential client that they are an expert at X, when they aren’t. Professionals don’t need to pad their resume, they just do their job.

          I believe everyone has a voice as well, and can bring something to the table, but when they feel the need to wrap them in titles they haven’t earned, that says more about their elitism than anything else.

  9. lol, hadn’t seen the beef about it, but i have to agree with you.
    i don’t get why people take themselves so serious on the internet.
    everybody IS something, instead of saying what they do, they all have titles,
    gloss user pics and ‘about me’ pages written in the 3 person.
    so now they are all sulking? ok.
    “a sexually repressed Ikea” !! oh, that made me very happy. =D
    nikki recently posted…You know what ‘cool’ means..?My Profile

    • Shea

      I have to say, I was pretty chuffed by that Ikea line. 😉 Follow the hashtag, it is funny as HELL.

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