At least that’s what my local ABC news affiliate would have you believe. During their before the news-news program one of their anchor women referred to a story in which McDonald’s has apparently been bribing bloggers (they haven’t. It’s called Brand work and blogger out reach. But more on that in a minute). During their story on McDonald’s and bloggers they referred to my niche (parenting, family, mommying) as “so called” mommy bloggers.
Sigh. If I were to dissect that statement there would be a hundred things wrong with it but I’ll go with the most obvious. Yes, I am a blogger and I am a mom. I talk about my children. But that in no way makes me a “so called” mommy blogger. That’s like saying that the anchor woman reporting on the story was a “so called” anchor woman, or the cardiologist who works on my heart is a “so called” heart doctor. She isn’t a real anchor woman; she just plays one in the news room.
My frustration at being insulted and diminished (because despite my slacker mentality to parenting and everything else under the sun, I take my title as a blogger seriously) only grew when I took my opinion to Twitter.
First the news station saw nothing wrong with the “so called” part of the phrase that the anchor woman used. They assumed I was upset at being a mommy blogger (seriously. So used to it that I’m over it). When they finally realized that I was upset over the “so called” title of blogger, they claimed that it was McDonald’s who had first used the term in the story – so that made it okay for them to do.
While my head exploded I did some research (something my local news station could try, if you ask me) and what I found was not one press release or news story on the blogger outreach with McDonald’s that called mom bloggers “so called” or inferred them as less than professional and important – I found the exact opposite actually. McDonald’s values (no pun intended) their relationships with bloggers, mom bloggers specifically, because they know we’re the ones going through the drive thru before soccer or after swim lessons and we’re the ones shelling out for the Happy Meals.
“Bribing bloggers? The short answer is No. Never.
We at McDonald’s have a longstanding relationship with many bloggers of various communities and expertise. We have never at any time provided any sort of incentive for a positive post and never will.” – Rick Wion, McDonald’s USA
Brand work or blogger outreach is becoming increasingly more popular among brands of all sizes (we do it where I work. As a matter of fact, I’m in charge of it!) as a means to get the word out about their products or services. It’s certainly not anything new. Hell, my beloved (not so much anymore) news station has such a thing (a segment): 5 minutes to the one o’clock hour where companies come on and talk about what’s new with them. It’s a televised and paid press release (OMG. I just remembered McDonald’s was there Monday afternoon shilling their yogurts and smoothies! – I know this because I worked at home yesterday).
The news station later comes back and tells me that the “so called” mommy blogger reference was actually on internal documents.
You know what that tells me? That tells me that the news anchor, producer, or someone who put together the news clips to be reported not only doesn’t edit properly before broadcasting, but that they don’t have much respect for mom bloggers. Yet, they often come to us (mom bloggers) or seek us out, to be in news segments that concern consumers. Hmm…
I’m mostly upset that if the news station was citing information from a news story and referred to any other profession they wouldn’t refer to them as “so called” because if they did, they’d have to report a retraction because no cardiologist, mechanic, or CEO would take kindly to being referred to as “so called”.
The news station apologized and moved on saying that they would bring it to the attention of the producer. It doesn’t matter whose attention they bring it to because the damage has already been done. Bloggers won’t get respect so long as we’re portrayed as anything less than serious. Sure there are bloggers who do blog just for fun or to be creative but there is also a large community who consider blogging to be their profession; it’s how they pay the bills and put food on the table. There’s nothing “so called” about having a job that provides income and sustainability for the family.
And it’s not just traditional media that has a problem with us; we have a problem with us. When I voiced my opinion, another blogger (presumably a dad blogger?) made several not nice comments to me about throwing a “so called” temper tantrum and I should have a “so called” glass of wine to calm down. (just see my twitter stream. I’m not giving this guy any clicks)
Really? REALLY? Because I take offense to a news station’s inaccurate references to my profession, I apparently deserve to be chastised for it and basically be told to sit down and shut it. Wow. First, no man tells me to sit down and shut it (not even my own). Second, it’s sad, but not surprising that another blogger takes this view and doesn’t take themselves or their blog seriously. It’s mentalities like that which allow some companies and traditional media to treat us with lesser respect and clout.
(That’s right. Not only am I a mom blogger, but I’m a PROFESSIONAL one at that. And as a professional blogger, I don’t just blog about family stuff. I blog for other companies about whatever they want me to write about.)
Maybe I am being “so called” sensitive about this subject.
Then again, this is my blog; this is how I make money, and for any one person to say that it’s less than what it is and think that’s going to be okay with me, clearly does not value building a relationship with me or any blogger and they certainly don’t value or realize what we bring to the future of marketing, advocacy, or business in general and they aren’t worth my time – or yours for that matter.
How would you react to this situation? Are you okay with being a “so called” blogger?