The Faction Factory
It’s been a week since I publicly declared I was stepping off the blogging treadmill. Since then I’ve done lots of things to fill the void (and it is a void) left by not creating blog content and all that goes with it.
I’ve read books! I’ve watched films! I’ve sat in the garden with Her Up North and, with a cider-induced fuzziness, watched the sun set. I’ve even gone to bed at a civilised hour!
I haven’t turned my back on the blogsphere, because it hasn’t turned its back on me.
So, to keep my hand in, I’ve actually gone on a bit of a subscription fest. Lots of great blogs I never found time to read because I was too caught up in my own little blog bubble are now pinging into my inbox. I look forward to using my newly found free time to catch up what I’ve been missing.
In the aftermath of my valedictory post I received lots of emails full of support, empathy and kindness. You know who you are and while I thanked you individually at the time, I thank you collectively here too.
A lot of the discussion in those emails surrounded Cybermummy. While it is heavily supported, this year’s event was not without it’s detractors, among them some attendees.
I didn’t go, so can only comment on what I’ve read and seen online. Now, having exchanged views with delegates and having seen what I’ve seen and read what I’ve read, I am glad I didn’t go.
The underlying tone from a lot of people was that it was too large an enterprise, too commercial and too overwhelming.
I followed with interest the reports of blogging workshops run by speakers who don’t themselves write blogs, of the multitudinous goodie bags containing irrelevant products and a bizarre “passport” system to ensure attendees visited every exhibitor’s stand.
I followed these reports and I wondered, “what is Cybermummy actually FOR?”
The answer I arrived at is “not me”.
My impression of Cybermummy is this. It exists to brand you and your writing space. Use this, try that, review the other. Get sponsorship, come to our event, write a post, emblazon your blog (and by association your family) with branding. It promotes parenting with a logo on it.
If that is what you want to do as a blogger then fine. Your blog, your rules. I did it for a year. But the idea of having an annual conference-cum-seminar-cum-advert-a-thon dressed up as a celebration of what is essentially a cottage industry (albeit in 21st century terms) is soaked with incongruity and ignores the raison d’etre of blogging.
I also have an issue with the “mummy-centric” nature of it. Okay so there’s a clue in the name Cybermummy, but this really should be promoted as a CyberPARENT event. I see the photos, read the blogs, speak with the delegates and I see different. The only conclusion I can draw from this is there is a desire to link up (once again) brands with blogs. Lose the gender specificity, lose the interest.
Earlier this year, the blogging network British Mummy Bloggers had a chance to establish some inclusivity credentials when rebranding itself, but singularly failed to do so, changing their name to BritMums rather than some non-gender specific title, even though they do have a number of men among their ranks. BritMums is inarguably linked with Cybermummy and are pushing, in my view, the same ethos.
This weekend BritMums showed as much by banning a member because of that member’s involvement promoting another blogging network, one which is all of three days old but which is already deemed to be competition.
Is that what the parent blogging networks boil down to? Competing factions vying for YOUR webspace, wanting to marry you off to Acme Baby Stuff Ltd.?
When I said in my post last Monday I felt divorced from the parent blogging community it was because of all this. I don’t want to be thought of as a commodity. I don’t want to have to take sides.
And when I said above the blogosphere hasn’t turned its back on me, I meant…not yet.