One of the unanticipated perks of being a mom blogger is all of the amazingly talented, funny, witty and inspirational women that I’ve gotten to know. In New York I am fortunate to have a group of women (and a couple men too) whom I regularly see at events or record with or work with for days on end. When I head out of town for an event or a conference I am usually extra excited because it means I will meet women whose work I read regularly and I feel like I know even though I’ve never actually seen them face to face. So it is strange when I meet someone in this world and I really don’t like them. But, it happens – and it’s very uncomfortable.
Celebrities often talk about how regular people assume that they know them because they relate so much to their character on TV or in films. I think the same thing happens with bloggers. While many journalists have followings bloggers are more personal in their writing for the most part. Even political women bloggers tend to take on a personal note, sometimes relating their views back to their family or community. When you add in the fact that bloggers feel banded together by being outside of mainstream media there is an added feeling of familiarity among the group. I have had moments when social media made my day – when Judy Blume tweeted me, when Diane Ravitch retweeted me to name a few. It’s not that I felt like Judy Blume and I were suddenly BFF (though my 11 year–old inner self hoped really, really hard for that) it’s that there was a feeling that this person whom I admired got me. For that instant I was recognized by someone that mattered to me on a gut-level of giddiness. When the opposite happens it’s like a slap-tweet (sleet?) in the face.
Last year at BlogHer I had that discomforting experience. I met a blogger whom I admired online. I sometimes dabbled in her niche, but it’s not my regular beat. We both wrote for several common outlets. We had commented back and forth occasionally – though looking back I think I commented on her posts more than the other way around. But when I met her at BlogHer she was beyond dismissive. There were brighter lights to stand near and she clearly had an agenda in mind for that day – and it was all about getting to some very big non-blog fish. I get that. But it totally changed my view of her and her blog. I still read it when a tweet or FB post grabs my eye but I don’t participate in her community. I also don’t respond to her fairly regular calls to action on her behalf – voting, entering giveaways, retweeting, etc. I realized that while her blog is about bigger picture issues, she herself (at least to me) is all about promoting herself. And that’s fine. I just have to come to terms with the fact that I can like the blog without liking the blogger. Maybe that means blogging really has entered the mainstream after all.