It’s time to wake up and smell the bloggers

BritMums founder Jennifer Howze with coffee cup

Mmmm, the delicious fresh-roasted smell of the future

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?

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about travel, family and London life at Jenography.net. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

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81 Responses to It’s time to wake up and smell the bloggers

  1. Midlife Singlemum 11 November 2012 at 10:43 #

    Liz Jones always has something nasty and patronising to say about mothers. If they continue to work they do so at the expense of colleagues who take the slack. If they take a career gap to bring up the children they are twee, kept women, house slaves, etc… I’d like to read how LJ thinks a mother should live her life – just out of interest. She once wrote about regretting not having children. I think this is the voice of bitterness and disappointment largely. Shame.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 11:15 #

      Luckily, we’re seeing less and less of the whole working mothers versus SAHM versus single women these days. It seems increasingly women are sick of being told we resent other women because of their choices.

  2. Mummy Barrow 11 November 2012 at 11:13 #

    I don’t understand why somebody wants to make a living out of being so bitter and so angry at the world.

    And so negative about a huge section of society. A section of society to which she doesnt belong : mothers.

    Is she angry at her own for not giving her enough cuddles?

    it’s like me being angry about 90 year old men in the queue at the post office and blogging about it constantly.

    Liz Jones you really are just boring now. Change the record love.

    And then pass me a cake would you?

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 11:16 #

      Mummy Barrow – would you like carrot cake or Victoria sponge?

      • Mummy Barrow 11 November 2012 at 12:21 #

        You know me Jen, cake is cake as far as I am concerned :-) though I do like a bit of carrot cake with orange frosting

        • Liz Weston aka @TheLizWeston 11 November 2012 at 12:37 #

          I don’t think cake counts unless there’s chocolate somewhere in it. I will tell you something that Liz Jones is right about – when there’s some good chocolate / chocolate cake to be had, it is likely that I will a) photograph it and b) share it on social media platforms

          • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 16:56 #

            Liz, we all need more images of yummy cake in our lives. Although carrot with cream cheese frosting, and sponge with chocolate frosting get the most “likes” where I’m concerned

        • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 16:57 #

          Orange frosting? ORANGE frosting?

          I’m not really sure what to say to that. *scandalised*

  3. Andy 11 November 2012 at 11:13 #

    What fun, her column looks just like another attempt to put blogging down. Hardly surprising though considering that ‘journalists’ such as herself are coming under increasing pressure from the inspired writing that is now available on the internet. Maybe she should think about her own writing, rather than trying to pick holes in others.

    Obviously the downside of this is that you have forced me to read something in the Mail for the first time in years.

    Ps. Don’t tell her about dad bloggers for goodness sake, I’m not sure I could handle all the extra traffic. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 11:17 #

      Andy, Sorry about sending you to the Mail.

      Not sure how long we can keep all the great dad blogging going on. You may need to beef up your servers and newsletter sign-up widget now…

  4. Emma Gray 11 November 2012 at 11:24 #

    I stumbled upon this article via a twitter link, and I’m very glad I did. I’m a travel blogger and within our industry there is a constant petty battle between traditional travel journalists and travel bloggers, so naturally I can identify a lot with what you’ve written here about Jones and her clueless ways.

    Great article, although I’m not quite sure how you managed to find the time to write it as well as bake cakes and knit… ;)

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 11:31 #

      Emma, My sense is that it’s a bit more positive in the travel blogging world. Would love to hear more about your experiences. We could chat about all your free “holidays” where you don’t do any work at all and just get free trips, and I’ll bake and natter on about my children!

  5. Liska 11 November 2012 at 11:34 #

    What a great response Jen. Well it was clear from everything that she said in the room that writing what she does, does not make her happy. Yesterday a large number of us felt quite sorry for her, and then we read. the. daily. mail. and. we. woke. up.
    She clearly felt the love in the room, and thought “I don’t do THIS, what can I write to make it all just go away”

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:00 #

      It’s a strange feeling when you see someone and just worry if they’re OK, like that. I agree with Mummy Barrow in that I think it must be terrible to walk around feeling angry and bilious toward so many people.

  6. Rachael Lines 11 November 2012 at 12:01 #

    I read Liz’s article and cringed. Im not a blogger like others, but regularly visit alot of family themed blogs, and some are really great.

    I have noticed however that alot of family blogs have appeared simply to get free stuff, with really rubbish reviews of products that they clearly have not opened from the packaging – and this is extending to some beauty blogs too, who offer no swatches of products – and which I may add, do really well at getting LOTS of free stuff, where hosts are uploading photos of huge ammounts of parcels they are reciving which they state are going up for Christmas on other sources such as Twitter and Facebook.

    They run regular competitions, which attracts a fan base – but by using programs such as rafflecopter (Offering multiple points per entry method), it makes thier promotions look like they are attracting a much higher visitor base then they actually are.

    It is these types of blogs that are putting a stain on the ‘mummy bloggers’ – my own substandard attempt at showing off things my family have made and done on blogger possibly fits into the catagory of – ‘You shouldnt bother blogging – you suck!’ too.

    Im sure Liz will spend more of her hard earned money repairing her plastic face as she carries on through life hating herself even more. She is so bitter, she should live on a lemon farm.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:05 #

      Rachael, your comment is a reminder that we should all keep striving to be better bloggers, no matter what we write about. Frankly, I’m not too worried about those blogs that exist to only get stuff. Over time they are outdistanced by the ones devoted to great writing, fun content, innovative ideas, insightful reviews, delicious photography and heartfelt support for others or important causes. Onward and upward!

  7. Hana 11 November 2012 at 12:16 #

    I find it so sad that no one has taken up a problem with her considering women who wear burkas as having a narrow view point; and her using that as the ultimate insult. It’s bigotry. I wear what could be called a “burka”. Instead of gathering stones to lapidate other women, I’m busy working as a researcher, working for a great charity that I love. As a social scientist it really interests me that hardly anyone cares that she made such a racist comment. I’m not an anomaly, but that isn’t widely known because to be quite frank, no one cares. It’s easier to see us as “poor powerless” women because God forbid that there are women anywhere who would chose their own dress.

    I’m in the process of setting up a non profit organisation to help young children growing up today see that despite their background (racial, religious, socio or economical) they can do ANYTHING. Organisations like this are desperately needed because such bigoted views are so widely accepted.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I blog too.

    I just want to add that this isn’t a personal attack on the blogger that owns this blog or anyone else.

    • Rachael Lines 11 November 2012 at 12:22 #

      I never mentioned anything about the Burka comment, as when it comes to issues on race, I avoid discussing it – incase of offending anyone in any shape or form on the internet. I wonder what quanitative surveys there are to support this to suggest more people do the same.

      • Rachael Lines 11 November 2012 at 12:23 #

        Sorry typos, Im on my phone – its not doing to well for me this morning.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 19:31 #

      Hana, Thanks for your comment, so well expressed. My comment referencing Liz Jones’s comment and the reference to stoning was meant to point out that silliness of her original burka comment and equating that to narrow viewpoints, not any kind of comment on the kind of women who wear burkas or drawing conclusions about them or their intellect, intelligence or “powerlessness” and certainly not racist. I apologise if it was read that way. I get excited when I hear about women from different cultures, backgrounds or religions blogging and would love to know your URL, as I’m sure many others would as well.

  8. Jen 11 November 2012 at 12:40 #

    Excellently put.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:07 #

      Thanks, Jen. Love the beautiful pic on your Remembrance Day post, by the way.

  9. Hayley Goleniowska 11 November 2012 at 13:15 #

    Brilliantly put. I blog to change the world. I don’t get paid, or get free stuff and it doesn’t interfere with my family life. But it is all consuming and very emotionally draining. We are making a difference though…

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:08 #

      Hear hear. Blogs like yours, Hayley, are an inspiration and testament to what one person’s voice can do.

  10. SaritaAgerman 11 November 2012 at 13:17 #

    Hello! Liz Jones doesn’t seem to have any positive to say about anyone unfortunately. Thankfully you do and I really enjoyed reading your witty post. It’s seems superfluous to say that bloggers in a niche area have little influence when they usually have an incredibly loyal (and highly engaged) readership.

    I also noticed her burqa comment – which I thought was a very cheap insult which served no purpose except revealing Jones’ negative views towards muslim women as well as mothers.

    It’s even more sad that while talking about oppression she derides and insults the attempts of women who write about their experiences as mothers. She is far more damaging to women than motherhood blogs. Women should be able to choose whether they work or not. They shoudn’t just be applauded for choosing work as Liz Jones promotes. As long as they have the right to choose – that choice should be respected.

    Apologies if I went off topic – your article gave me so much to think about! thanks for sharing.

    saritaagerman.blogspot.it

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:12 #

      Sarita, You make some great points, including the one that Rachael also brought up, that using “burka” as shorthand for a certain type of woman opens a whole other discussion.

      And when it comes to social networks, a close, engaged community is what holds the most sway online. There have been studies about it’s better to have 500 people who really want to hear what you have to say and share it with their friends than 20,000 who glance at your tweet and move on.

  11. Lisa Jones 11 November 2012 at 13:30 #

    I love this, so well put and so on the money!!

    Well Done Jennifer!

    Fellow Mummy & Blogger (and part time nurse/part time milliner!!!)
    http://millineryandmotherhood.blogspot.co.uk/

    Lisa x

  12. London City Mum 11 November 2012 at 14:34 #

    Aside from the fact that I cannot abide the Daily Snail – just thinking about it makes my skin crawl – I think LJ is merely intent on courting controversy. Possibly the mantra that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” is one innate to everything she writes.

    However, the ranty bitterness is something not even a good dose of PR (negative or otherwise) will cure. It will only give her an ulcer.

    Thank goodness for the laughter and smiles of children. Shame she cannot share that much.

    LCM x

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:14 #

      Hey lady, I’ve always read Liz Jones as a gadfly rather than a serious pundit or commentator. Is there any other way to take her?

  13. Anne 11 November 2012 at 14:41 #

    Liz Jones is a very sad woman .. who really should not write at all, until she sorts herself out. She is vindictive , and so self centred… we used to have to read (well if you wanted to) about her and her ex partner . now that was sad!!

    I have written a blog for about 7 years, about travel, ceramics, things of interest. I don’t get paid, I don’t get free stuff, BUT what I do have ..Is a new set of good FRIENDS .. AND I have met some for “real” .. in Paris, London and Oxford. Last month I met a lovely lady from Vancouver Canada , who was doing a tour of the UK .. and she met up with bloggers in Wales, Liverpool , Yorkshire , Norfolk and me in Oxfordshire … I took her around Oxford for the day, and the following week , we met in London, where she met my friend from Paris..

    So Ms Liz Jones … Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

    BTW I found your link on Facebook,, via Vegimix’s Facebook page. Hope you don’t mind me commenting.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:17 #

      Anne, I LOVE these stories about how bloggers reach across cities, countries and cultures to connect. We were recently planning a trip to Japan and I came across a blog with recommendations, which mentioned that the blogger had met up with some online friend while in Tokyo.

      He’d never known them before, only became acquainted by reading their blogs, but now had a whole new set of friends there. Amazing.

      • anne 11 November 2012 at 19:55 #

        How amazing for the blogger who met up with online friend in Tokyo .. he now has a new set of friends .. all by BLOGGING!!

        I hope to meet up with another blogger at the end of this month.. in London .. I cannot wait.

        • anne 11 November 2012 at 19:58 #

          Thank you for your reply comment too :-)

  14. Nell Heshram 11 November 2012 at 14:47 #

    Luckily I’m not familiar with Liz Jones’ body of work, so I don’t know whether this is typical of her style. I couldn’t help thinking that her slightly bonkers-sounding rant was just an attempt to generate traffic/readership. Generalising in such a rude way about all mothers who blog is guaranteed to get us all up in arms, asserting our individuality.

    But, unlike others on this page, I didn’t see her article as an attempt to denegrate all bloggers who happen to be mums; just those who use it as an outlet or income source while spending the majority of their time bringing up children. This hardly seems fair, given that blogging is just journalism by another name. And that’s what she too does for a living, right?

    Her main attack seems to be the lifestyles of the women involved. Which she assumes to be centred around a) baking; b) gardening; c) being supported by one’s husband. As she states, the sort of women who are part of the WI.

    Maybe the target audience of the Mail has changed since I last had the misfortune to pick up a copy, but I was under the impression that the paper was aimed at exactly those sorts of women. I’m a bit confused as to why she’s up in arms against the archetypal female Mail reader. Why write for the newspaper at all, if that’s how she feels about the type of woman that reads it?

    As for her sly dig at the quality of the bloggers’ columns….you can always pick holes in published work. For instance, take the caption under the picture in Ms Jones’ article. I spy a misused apostrophe! ‘Mother’s’? Shouldn’t that be ‘mothers’, Ms Jones???!

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:21 #

      Nell, your comment made me laugh. If only our lives could revolve around gardening, my front hedge wouldn’t look the way it does!

      The point about the WI is a good one and it’s interesting, since I’ve been hearing so much about the Women’s Institute gaining ground with young hip women drawn to the expertise there in crafts and skill like knitting, quilting, baking, pickling, and the like. There they mix with older women with knowledge and life experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. Sounds utterly brilliant to me.

  15. Galina 11 November 2012 at 15:08 #

    Am I the only one who pities Liz Jones? I do think she has mental issues, as she definitely suffers from the megalomania. It’s a shame she is allowed to post delusional drivel. She is a synonym for bile and misery, so yes, I am sorry for her.
    And I don’t even like cupcakes, give me a good old slice of cake any time.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:23 #

      Galina, Thanks for commenting, but you’re actually telling me YOU DON’T LIKE CUPCAKES? :-)

      • Galina 11 November 2012 at 17:35 #

        I’ll eat them if there’s no cake left. ;)

  16. Shahnaz 11 November 2012 at 16:28 #

    Is this women for real…patronising and insulting….what a shame for a modern Britain today.
    I’m a professional working mother who blogs..and I’m a Muslim…thank goodness we don’t all hold such negative views.

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:32 #

      Shahnaz, As you point out, Liz Jones comments are rooted in a very one-dimensional view of blogging women and mothers. It ignores the growing number of Muslim women blogging as well as those who don’t fit the whole “white yummy mummy” cardboard cut-out.

  17. Becky (lakes single mum) 11 November 2012 at 17:30 #

    When I started blogging 4 years ago things were different and I never expected people to read what I put! Now I’ve moved on and taken my blog to a better level as people seem to take an interest in what I have to say

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:34 #

      Becky, It’s always scary, isn’t it – that moment when you realise people are actually reading what you write and that it has an impact. Then as you grow it’s exhilarating and energising. As a blogger you’re never “done” with changing and improving your blog, which makes it a brilliant creative project.

      • Becky (lakes single mum) 11 November 2012 at 17:45 #

        Scariest is my mum reads it ;-)

        • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 17:53 #

          At least she’s a subscriber. My mum keeps asking me, “What’s the link to your blog again?”

          • Becky (lakes single mum) 11 November 2012 at 18:17 #

            Oh dear! I had to remind mine to sub to my kids’ blogs as she couldn’t find them…

  18. Aly 11 November 2012 at 18:38 #

    How does she sleep at night knowing how hateful she is? Or perhaps that’s what she wants?

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 19:43 #

      Aly, I would have thought she loved being an agitator, but she didn’t appear to relish it when I saw her speak.

  19. HPMcQ 11 November 2012 at 20:18 #

    What the silly woman doesn’t understand, is that somewhere there is a blogger who is a mother, a knitter, a baker, a writer that could wipe the floor clean with her, and one day that blogger will take her job and do so much better!

    • Jennifer Howze 11 November 2012 at 21:27 #

      You’re right in that increasingly bloggers are more and more appealing to traditional newspapers and magazines as well as publishing houses since they come with a legion of followers — a readymade audience.

  20. HPMcQ 11 November 2012 at 20:18 #

    What the silly woman doesn’t understand, is that somewhere there is a blogger who is a mother, a knitter, a baker, a writer that could wipe the floor clean with her, and one day that blogger will take her job and do so much better!

  21. amummysview 11 November 2012 at 21:31 #

    wow, what a narrow minded view. Like everyone is saying it’s only because social media is taking off and talents emerging. Hope she manages to brush the chip off her shoulder soon!

    • Jennifer Howze 12 November 2012 at 07:53 #

      Yes, I think we’re past the point where this “social media and blog thing” will just blow over!

  22. MamaMarmalade 12 November 2012 at 08:01 #

    If anyone else had written what Liz Jones did, it would have riled me up and I’d have been furious.
    But since it was indeed the miserable Liz, it really doesn’t bother me – the opinions of someone so bitter, twisted, misinformed and obviously deluded about what 99% of the country thinks of her just don’t rate on my list of things to worry about.

    • Jennifer Howze 12 November 2012 at 11:08 #

      A good reminder to consider the source of any piece of writing, whether an endorsement or a slam.

  23. Jeannette 12 November 2012 at 10:33 #

    I started my blog in January and its to raise awareness of life with special needs children (autism) and to get awareness and acceptance out there. I don’t make any money for my blog and have to pay a yearly fee for my domain name. There are many many wonderful parenting blogs, offering advice, support and (yes) recipes.
    Ms Jones sounds very bitter at the way her life has turned out and after the initial frustration at reading her article, I feel very sorry for her. Yes, she has success (at a price) but is she happy? It doesn’t sound like it.
    I’ve been a career woman, I’m now very happy being a SAHM mum and a carer to my beautiful children.
    Great article btw! Jeannette aka @autismmumma

    • Jennifer Howze 12 November 2012 at 11:02 #

      Jeannette – Talk about a comment that focuses at the heart of the community and the support that can make blogging so amazing and life-affirming. You’ve brought a tear to my eye.

  24. Mumof2 12 November 2012 at 11:54 #

    The only reason I had a look at the offending article is because I was curious as to why people were talking about Liz Jones. Sad . I know.

    Great response Jennifer and all the other points made on here. I worked with someone similar to Liz Jones and there is no changing their view points. There is no point in arguing with ignorance except to raise awareness to it. I like the irony that her column is a)online (sort of like a blog really?!) and b)she doesn’t understand basic economics in that the ‘holidays’ mums go on when they have had a baby is going to help pay for her pension/nhs visits when she retires or is ill as it will be those children will have grown up and in theory be working and c) those who earn money from their blogs in help lessen the burden in current economic times.

    One day Liz Jones will need support in some shape or form and probably won’t even realise when she googles her problem that her answer came from a blog.

    P.S I too am a fan of carrot cake or anything chocolate ;-)

  25. HonestMum 12 November 2012 at 11:56 #

    This is the woman who tried to impregnate herself with her ex husband’s sperm without his consent right? That says it all. Bitter and twisted and the antithesis of a feminist. Puts the FAIL in DAILY! Yuck. Fab post!

  26. Helen 12 November 2012 at 11:58 #

    Brilliantly put – gosh I’m excited to see how things pan out in journalism!

  27. Kip Hakes 12 November 2012 at 12:04 #

    Arrrrrghhh!! Stop talking about that wretched woman and her articles, we, as a community are being trolled by her. It’s as simple as that. The Newspaper she writes for are well known for writing ‘provocative’ and ‘incendiary’ pieces. Why?

    Money.

    ALL publicity is good publicity, and when people hear about such articles, they hunt them down, generating traffic for the website. We’re all talking about it, and lo and behold both the author and the sordid newspaper are immediately trending on Twitter. Then all the ‘offended’ parties start writing pieces mentioning aforementioned stupid cow, and newspaper, and thus the fire continues.

    Who wins? The newspaper.

    We’ve generated a massive load of traffic to them, meaning they have the figures to sell more advertising as their site is so damned popular.

    Just brush it all off and ignore it, and above all – DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.

    Kip

    • helloitsgemma 12 November 2012 at 12:39 #

      I have to say I completely agree with Kip.
      I think this is a great post Jen however I am really disappointed that the post includes a link to the original article. A link with value because it comes from Britmums.
      Time and time again publications such as the Mail justify awful content by the traffic/copies it sells.
      I considered not commenting on this because; while I agree with your post I really do feel that a better response is no response. When she no longer creates a stir she loses her value.

    • Michelle | The American Resident 12 November 2012 at 12:53 #

      Well said Kip–I totally agree! And Liz said it hersalf at Blogfest, if she doesn’t have anything to write about she writes something contentious to generate future stories.

      Bingo!

      She’s got a three-parter on this one, I’d say…

  28. Mumonamission 12 November 2012 at 12:10 #

    Good for you girl. I’m a Mum, I juggle a very successful on-line business, a marriage (just about!) and three gorgeous girls. I work with some lovely people and have some deranged competition. We’re all surely striving for a happy life – we’re grown bloody women for God’s sake and should be helping one another along, not passing judgement or trying to score points – and journalist or no editors by now ought to know better!

  29. simone 12 November 2012 at 12:10 #

    I joined this network with http://fromrattopositiveparent.blogspot.co.uk/, but I started blogging in 2005 to transition myself from print to digital journalism. I had no kids then, but a thrifty approach to life (http://cambridgecheapskate.blogspot.co.uk/).

    I now work in the digital field and started writing about digital marketing for a client. I am proud to put my blogs on my business site (I have four now and a dormant one) and say that I’m member of Britmums on my professional LinkedIn profile. It hasn’t hurt professionally, I got features commissions out of all my blogs, the latest, the SEO one has generated two business clients. I wrote lots of parenting features on the back of the others (even food recipes).

    I see blogs as a way to showcase my writing and get into new subjects I’m not commissioned to write about. I feel a bit guilty I have so many blogs and I’m not a frequent updater, but although they are of help, they don’t provide a living income…

    I have found the same argument applied to myself and our PTA members: we are not at all stay-at-home mums and we don’t live for the bake sale or the annual fete! Still that’s how we are perceived and how other parents make excuses: Sorry I couldn’t help but I work… We work too and some members have more than one kid, it just makes me mad! GRRR.

  30. Blissful Mama 12 November 2012 at 12:12 #

    Poor Liz Jones. I know she is offensive, and not very popular and that there is a reason for that, but I just found her so tragic I can’t help but feel sorry for her. What a miserable life.

  31. Sarah Arrow 12 November 2012 at 12:14 #

    I felt that mums net wanted journalists as their main speakers to help extend their influence (no judgement just and observation). Given the amount of strong and effective women bloggers out there why they didn’t have them speak? Instead the few they had were pr experts and relegated to panels. Such a shame to waste such a great opportunity.

    As for Liz Jones, she’s a one woman link baiting machine. Maybe she knows something about blogging after all?

  32. michelle twin mum 12 November 2012 at 14:20 #

    My head is firmly stuck in the ground, I had never ever heard of Liz Jones until this. Not on my radar at all!

    Good piece Jen.

    Mich x

  33. The View From the Table 12 November 2012 at 14:40 #

    Great response to this typical piece of DM bile. So ‘the hand of patriarchy is firmly on our backs’ then? Is there even room for it with Liz Jones’ hand pushing any mother, or let’s face it woman in general, who writes about the things she wishes to on-line out of the picture? I agree, Liz Jones is completely out of touch with the power of blogging. I have just signed a contract for a column in a print magazine solely as a result of my blog, lord knows how I’ll find the time to do this what with all my knitting and trying to find my way out of my ‘tiny, safe fragrant home.’ Grrrrrrrr!!!

    • The View From the Table 12 November 2012 at 14:49 #

      Damn I wish I’d read Kip’s comment before clicking on the DM site and yes, therefore generating more traffic for the hate fuelled rag. Doh!

  34. SAHMlovingit 12 November 2012 at 15:17 #

    Great post Jen.

    I soooo wish I’d been there and she’d met me. With my blog name she’d have a field day and jump to so many wrong assumptions it would be hilarious.

  35. Hannah 12 November 2012 at 17:51 #

    Great post, Jen.

    I was so mad when I read that article. How dare she presume to judge a whole section of womankind just because we choose to blog?! Most of us are so far removed from her stereotype that it’d be funny – if it wasn’t so infuriating.

    What a shame she chooses to live her life judging and belittling others instead of supporting them. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for her… Almost.

  36. e11ie5 aka the mushy brained rambler!! 12 November 2012 at 19:52 #

    I’ve been away at a funeral since BlogFest so not had a chance to reply on this …but have to say several things:

    1 – what a shame that after such a superb event we are all left blogging about her, perhaps playing into her own narcissistic hands in just the way she wanted us to … I have an image of Cruella de Ville and puppies as I think that is how she views us fruffy (yes fruffy), measly, mumsy bloggers

    2 – my blog is called Mush Brained Ramblings and not the Mushy Brained Rambler

    3 – she has actively lied in her post, I never exchanged a single word with her at the event, to be honest never even had a clue who she was until she spoke … I just got into a lift that she was being ushered into … me and my baby girl in her pram …. I smiled at her and she looked straight through me, then glanced up and down (perhaps at this point she saw the blog name on my badge) … then Hope (my small person) gurgled in a chatty kind of a way, I smiled down at her and then beamed around the lift, the lady from mumsnet escorting Ms Jones smiled at Hope and I in a friendly sort of a way but Ms Jones looked at Hope in the same blank, you’re irrelevant kind of a way that she had looked at me … I just thought she must be an unusually shy blogger or someone having a bad day … turns out she’s an incredibly adept self promoter and inaccurate journalist with a penchant for misreporting…

    4 – I have never made a penny from my blog (I wish), I support myself, my daughter and until very recently my husband too, when I’m not looking after Hope, working, washing, sorting out the hum drum blah of day to day life, sleeping or eating I grab a couple of moments to blog, I suspect that is the reality for alot of us …

    so … well done Ms Jones you’ve got everyone’s attention and are I’m sure sitting on your high horse … just don’t forget people on high horses fall off and there are a good many positive, decent, well read, reviewed and respected writers who will over take you and won’t look back.

    Great post Jen and good to see you …

    right forget the cupcakes with orange frosting I want a glass of Liebfraumilch … (actually just the thought turns my stomach but eh … )

  37. Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh 12 November 2012 at 20:40 #

    That zany Liz Jones and her crazy ways. I think if we were to scratch beneath the surface – the botox, the fake tan, the make-up etc – we’d likely find a woman who would love to have a happy marriage, children and the chance to blog and make connections with other bloggers that could turn into friendships. As it is, she has a very sad little column in the national newspaper that anyone with half a brain loves to loathe.

  38. Carole 12 November 2012 at 23:16 #

    Nice one! I’ve tried to explain my passion for blogging to my friends. they don’t get it either, but then they have an excuse. I’m surprised a Mail columnist does not “get it”.

  39. Deb 13 November 2012 at 09:32 #

    I’m a bit late with this news. After giving myself a twitter and blogging break for a few days, look what I miss. Anyhow, more seriously I agree with what you have to say though I am a bit disappointed that you’ve given the DM a link. In some ways I agree with Kip and others about the need not to fuel stories like this but the problem is that people read the DM and believe what they read. In that way I do think we have to challenge this negativity about mom blogging; this isn’t the first piece that I’ve read that criticises mum blogging. Great post.

    PS I also don’t think there is anything wrong with blogging about cakes and knitting; said as much on my own blog. That’s the great thing about blogging; the diversity. They all have something to offer.

    • Jennifer Howze 15 November 2012 at 18:17 #

      Deb – Amen to that. In fact blogging about knitting and cakes is on the rise for good reason: a lot of people want to read that content!

  40. Laura@howtocookgoodfood 13 November 2012 at 14:42 #

    Ah this is just what I wanted to hear and you say it so well. I agree with you and we are still in the very early stages of the power of social media. I think it will hopefully give us bloggers more value and bigger klout in this mad media world!

    • Jennifer Howze 15 November 2012 at 18:16 #

      Then soon we will rule the world. Mwhahahahahahahahaha! *clenches fist and swings black cape while exiting*

  41. New Mum Online 15 November 2012 at 13:58 #

    Have any of you seen that The Guardian has now taken up the story?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/15/delights-dangers-mummyblogging

    Liska
    @NewMumOnline
    xx

    • Jennifer Howze 15 November 2012 at 18:15 #

      Liska

      Thanks for sharing this. I glanced at it early but need to give it a proper read

    • EmmaK 15 November 2012 at 19:05 #

      Yes it’s an interesting argument Sarah Dint in the Guardian puts forward about mommy bloggers re “I think there is a difference in the way we expect men and women to expose and exploit themselves for money. I can’t think of a male equivalent to Jones or Marnell, and I’ve spent a really long time looking for them.” thoughts?