I have a confession to make: I have children and I’m a blogger.
Fellow bloggers won’t be surprised to learn that I blog about all kinds of topics, including family but also including politics, travel, expat life and more. They also won’t be surprised that I work full-time. Unfortunately, even on the cusp of 2013, a lot of folks are still labouring under the misapprehension that if I have children and blog that they know certain facts about me:
* That I spend my days baking cupcakes
* That I have a life of leisure typing away about home decorating and knitting
* That my husband supports me
* That I’m not a professional working woman
They might also think I neglect my children in favour of blogging or tweeting or G+’ing.
Naturally they try to put me in a box, label it “mum (or mummy) blogger” and dismiss it. In her latest column in the Mail, Liz Jones suggests bloggers like me “might as well wear a burka” because our viewpoint is so narrow.
Oh Liz, Liz, Liz. I can’t wear my burka. I’m too busy gathering stones to lapidate other women.
Right now those of us in the blogging community are in a more privileged position than people like Liz, who want to dismiss and disparage what we do because they don’t really understand. (Just how little they understand is evident in this post by Cambridge Mummy, who Liz mentioned in the piece and about whom she got just about every fact wrong.)
In a way, I feel a bit sorry for people like this. They don’t know about the power that parent bloggers wield. They’re clueless about the charities we all work with and campaigns we support, such as the #ONEMums campaign and the Syria Day of Protest Linky. They don’t understand that blogging can be a valuable creative endeavor as well as the cornerstone of a profitable business.
Not so long ago the pundits were all scratching their heads about how blogging could be anything other than pointless hobby. Now bloggers the world over are making news and creating businesses out of their blogs. (Attend BritMums Live in June and you meet so many bloggers who are launching their own businesses or carving out creative niches – it’s truly impressive.)
In a year or two folks like this are going to wake up and discover that the people making decisions in media are those who know all about the power of social media. They’ll find that that the most popular and influential “columnists” are those who run their own self-branded empires. They’ll find that the discourse on everything from politics to education to design to parenting is led by these bloggers and social media influencers.
I don’t suppose we need to worry about people like Liz Jones. They’ll find out soon enough what the media landscape will look like in the years to come.
Until then, you can find us all tweeting, blogging and — hey, why not — occasionally knitting. Anyone want a cupcake?