Let's Call It SlapHer. Then I'll Be Less Nervous.

So. Let's talk about it. That thing over there to the right. Something about me and words that are scheduled to come out of my mouth at some conference thingy in Chicago next week.

Here's the thing: I have no idea what I'm going to say on this Momosphere panel. (Lisa Stone says "What delightful news!")

I'm hoping it will be like last year where the moderator keeps the conversation moving along with probing questions and offers ideas. Which would be a good thing. I can be stimulated. (Especially since I'll be sitting next to Catherine and Chris and the girl love abounds.) What I am certain will be a bad thing is if the panel turns out to be something like: someone shouts a topic and then I'm pointed at and told to "Go!". I will cry, I am certain of it.

So, I turn to you, my dear wonderful internet friends. Whether you're attending BlogHer or not, I'm dying to hear your opinion on these topics which will undoubtedly be addressed on the "Momosphere" panel.

Identity Privacy

  • Do you use your kids' names on your blog? How do you feel about bloggers who use their first and last name? (You love them. You want to kiss them.)
  • How do you feel about using your children's photos on your blog?
  • For you, when a blogger holds back (names, faces, details), does that take away from their blog?

Ads on Blogs

  • How do you feel about this recent wave of blogger advertising? Do you think bloggers should have the right to be paid for your readership? Or does it make you feel used? Do you feel a distance from a blog you used to be attached to because they now have many ads?
  • Do you think ads add credibility to a blog's voice?
  • Most importantly (to me), do you think ads change the writing on a blog?
Social Politics of Blogging
  • Is there a hierarchy in blogging? Do you feel obligated to align yourself with a "group"? Do you ever feel like blogging has lost its sense of community?
  • Do you feel like the blogosphere has been divided by numbers? (Comments, traffic, links, etc)
  • How do you feel about bloggers linking to their other various gigs? (Read about me here and here and here and here!) Does that turn you off to that writer? Or are you happy to follow?

These are just a few of the topics that have been buzzing around the interweb lately. And, frankly, that have been buzzing around my brain. So, please, give me your opinions.

**Cross-posted to my Club Mom blog because #4 is awesome.


Missie said...

Mkay, here goes.

I think bloggers who don't use their last names or cities are smart for trying to protect their families and privacy. But I don't have any problems with others who do disclose all their info. That's the bloggers' decision. I use my name and state and my childrens' names and pictures, but never my last name or city. I also don't put pictures of the front of my house where my address is, etc. Not to flatter myself or think that anyone would actually care enough to stalk me, but you never know. (LENA, LENA LOTSEY...I AM AFTER YOU!!!!) Just kidding. Don't call the authorities.

I could care less about ads. If a blogger can get some company to pay them to be on her blog, I say more power to ya. Please let someone pay me pretty monies and I will put them on my blog, too. Mama needs new shoes. And some highlights.

There are definitely the "cool" bloggers that everyone knows, then the "middle class" bloggers that have some popularity but aren't too widely known...aaaaand then there's ones like me. Whose own family isn't really sure what a blog is and doesn't read mine. Again, no real opinion. I have been mentioned on a famous blog, and that resulted in about, oh, 2 new readers to my blog, so there ya go.

And I forgot what else you asked. And am jealous that you all will be in Chicago having fun while I am throwing a 50th anniversary party for my parents. Try not to envy me.

Virenda said...

I don't mind if someone chooses to release their name, children's name, or not. Probably, because I'm not a stalker.

As for advertising? I don't think it takes away, or adds to the site. It's just there.

Self-promotion. HERE and HERE and HERE can be very annoying if not done right. The occasional reference is great, but constant is annoying as hell.

There is definite blogging politics. It's like high school, or it can be anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't use my son's name, but I'm fine with people who do. I don't care about use of first and last names, either, though I don't use mine. This is mostly so that my mom doesn't find my blog. The internet can totally come to my house. I think, though, that never putting up pictures (like I myself don't!) definitely takes away from the blog. There is something wonderful about being able to see the person whose words you're reading, and we're such a visual culture that it's hard to connect as much with just words (says me, the avid book reader who manages those just fine without pictures).

I don't think ads change anything - credibility, voice, nothing. Ads just are and I haven't seen blogs I read that have added them change anything. Kudos to anyone who actually gets paid for blogging!

There's definitely a hierarchy. I mean, you have Dooce, Queen of Blogs, then you have people who are in the next level and so on - it's sort of high school without (as far as I can tell) the meanness and cattery of high school. I don't think there's as much feeling of being forced to align with the group, but there are definitely sort of cliques, people who all read each other and make up each other's entire blogroll. I can't resent that, though, because usually it's simply because they are all GOOD bloggers - that's why they get read, because they're good writers and worth it. I think the community is still wonderful, and you see so many friendships being formed through blogging. I love going to blogs and seeing other bloggers who I read commenting there, too - it makes me feel like we all have this big discussion going on.

Self-promotion rocks. If I like someone's writing, I'd almost always love to read more, and so many times a different venue has a different voice and may suit me even better than the place I started at. But if your whole post is "read my entry at X", that sort of sucks. You can link within a post, but just posting a link to something else you wrote? That's not a post. I like links in the sidebars more than anything, so I can find things sort of organically.

Kelliqua said...

I don't think it matters either way re: identities. I read and love blogs by both genres. The decision on how much one divulges regarding their identity and life is, and should be, left up to each author. It is irrelevant.

Ads are also irrelevant. I really don't look at them much, but am not opposed to someone making money off of their writing.

There is definitely an A-list, but I don't believe most people limit themselves to reading only those.

Self-promotion is ok in good balance. Too much is annoying. My beef is that when the only content on Blog A is to tell me what's on Blog B, I feel jipped. It's like I am falling for one of those advertising teasers that lure you in on the basis of good info, but then ends every line with "to find out how send $19.95 for the book."

dcrmom said...

I have never posted my first or last name. I was using my kids' names, but I have recently stopped. I have also stopped using my children's photos, at least face shots, for safety reasons. I'm probably being overly protective, but I just feel better about it.

That said, it DEFINITELY takes away from a blog when a blogger holds back names, faces and details. That's why I do use my own picture on mine.

I don't mind ads on blogs as long as they don't overtake it. I'm getting ready to put ads up, myself. YAY!

As far as a social hierarchy, there definitely is that, but I don't see a problem with it. Of course the better writers are gonna demand a larger readership. I don't feel obligated to align with anyone. I read all sorts of blogs. And I try to represent most of them on my blogroll, although some of the less "family friendly" I just read from bloglines. That's mainly b/c if my kid ever gets on and starts clicking on my blogroll, I don't want him coming across anything with lots of language.

I agree with the others about linking. As long as it's not all the time, it's fine.

By the way, I don't comment a whole lot, but I read your blog avidly, and I really enjoy your writing style. I would love to hear you speak at BlogHer. Will it be recorded on a podcast or anything like that??? Have a great time!!

MommasWorld said...

I recently discovered something ODD on my blog. It scared me into taking photos off two of my posts. It really freaked me out! I asked others to check it out just incase I was the only one who could see this “hidden message” that appears between my blog posts and the header. (go here to see it) When I did a search on my blog using the “hidden message” two posts came up.

I am glad I have never used anyone’s real name on my blog. I am also glade I set it up to have my IP address come from state in which I do not live. I did this with the thinking - This website will be about my parenting experiences and daily life. The over protective mommy in me is scared to death someone will steal my children. It just makes me feel more relaxed about my blog.

Sometimes the made up names I have used actually add to the story I am telling like the descriptive names I gave to the girls who came to Snow White’s birthday party.

Ads on Blogs
Ads do not bother me one way or another. I do like to see really cute shops on line. Makes finding what I like a bit easier. Ads do not add credibility, what you write is what makes me keep coming back. I have heard bloggers make some sort of small income or receive really great freebies with their Ads. I see nothing wrong with them receiving an income from this or the freebies. I would like the freebies because hey, I like to get lovely packages in the mail!

Social Politics of Blogging
I do not feel like I have to be part of a group. My blog is my own thing. I was actually really surprised when other people started reading it! From all over the world even! They might not make comments but they stop by every day. My blog is really new (almost a year old) but I have found people I like to read. These people are the type I would love to hang out with in person.

Comments, traffic, links, etc. are not a concern for me. My blog has very few regular comments but the people who visit are so nice (minus one crab). I do not care how much traffic and such is going on in a blog I like to visit. My going there constantly just means I like what they have to say.

There are a few bloggers I read who have more than one blog so they can talk about different sides of their lives. One in particular has a website for her Parenting role, her role as a daughter taking care of an elderly parent, a Nursing site because she is a nurse and I cannot think of the other one right now. You have more than one and I follow.

Brillig said...

I don't care about ads--they're fine by me. I've had them on my site in the past and I'll probably put them back up somewhere in here. I'm not a big fan of the "paid post" ones where the blogger writes a piece about some product and gets paid to do it. That's annoying, because I want to read what someone really thinks--not what someone's being paid to say.

I don't use my real name, or my kids' names. We've all got nicknames and it works just fine. Our names aren't any huge secret--I was just hiding from friends and family when I started my blog and didn't want to be found. Plus, with so many little kids, I just thought I'd be on the safe side. However, i do use pictures. Lots of them. I don't have a problem with people who do or don't use their names--the important thing is to show your personality and be able to connect with people. I've been able to do that just fine with a pen name.

I've never felt pigeon-holed into any one group. I read all sorts of blogs and all sorts of bloggers read me. That's been the best part of my blogging experience--getting to know people that I'd never have met in person.

And good luck at BlogHer. You'll be fabulous. And I'm terribly jealous of all those who get to hear you!!!

Karen A. said...

Huh. I think ads are okay if I really feel like the blogger deserves it. If I feel like they're posting every day just to cash the checks then that is not cool.

I too wish I could hear you speak. Will there be a podcast??

Laural Dawn said...

I don't comment a lot, but for waht it's worth here are some of my thoughts.
About ads - why not. I don't have ads because I don't have readership, but if it were offered I would. My current job I love (usually) and I get paid for what I love doing. Why shouldn't others? I have never felt as a blog reader that I need to shop somewhere to make that blogger happy.

About pictures/names - I do it. I'm not terribly concerned. I would never name my child's daycare, our address, etc. But, I don't think that it takes away not including that.

I do think blogging is a community. Personally, I feel like it's a little too close knit and there are some politics, etc. BUT such is life. I think you enjoy it for what it is and deal.

Also, as for the people on your panel. I LOVE Catherine. I've read her blog for ages and have a ton of respect for her. I met her - she's really nice. You'll have nothing to worry about.

Michelle Smiles said...

I get a little uncomfortable when people put too much out there (in my opinion, last name is too much) just because I worry about them...but it is there choice.

Ads - I'm neutral. I don't blame someone for trying to make some cash off their blog. I also don't mind linking to others.

The community issue is fuzzy for me. I feel like guatemala adoption bloggers have their community but I've tried to branch out beyond that. I don't feel like I truly belong anywhere but in the Guat adoption community but I enjoy reading about other things.

margalit said...

Don't use my real name, don't use my kids names at all. No photos of me whatsoever, photos of my kids, but with no identifying info in them.

I don't mind that people don't post pictures of themeselves and their families, but it makes for a MUCH more boring blog, and I'll eventually stop reading.

I have ads, I don't mind ads, I use ads as revenue for my family. I dislike INTENSELY the people that claim that ads change content. My content hasn't changed one iota due to my ads, and never will. If an advertiser doesn't like what I have to say, then I don't want their ads on my blog. Period.

There is HUGE hierarchy in blogging. There are the people that get all the gigs, who are everywhere on all the aggregated blogs and social network blogs. They constantly refer each other. They rarely read anyone new, and they certainly are NOT supportive of new bloggers. They ONLY care about themselves and their tiny little band of 'cool mom' bloggers. Some of them are nasty, some aren't the least bit talented, and several of them are one trick pony's. They ONLY take postitve comments, can't abide any disagreement, and go ballistic if you don't kiss their feet. For the most part, they are so exclusive that they turn off any potential readers, which is good in my book. Eventually the tide will turn and new voices will pop up because the older ones are just plain boring.

I've been blogging since 2003 and I see two communities of bloggers. The in crowd, and the rest of us. The incrowd has no vested interest in adding to their legions, so they don't. They stick together, promote each other and themselves, and ignore the rest of the millions of bloggers. The rest of us make friends, but not really communities. The only real supportive community I've ever seen in blogging is within the Christian bloggers. The in bloggers... they're disinterested in ever opening their gates to anyone new.

HATE HATE HATE self promotion. If I see it, I will NEVER EVER click over. For me, it's a death knell to reading that blog anymore. There are several bloggers who have no new content on their blogs except to direct readers to their paying gigs. It's disgusting. I will not read them. And from what I see, I'm far from alone.

I'm a paid blogger and I never do that. NEVER. I blog at a bunch of different paid gigs, and I don't feel the need to promote myself. I have loyal readers at each blog, and the follow me because they like what I have to offer. If you have to promote yourself to the extent that some bloggers do, it's because they're more interested in money than content. yuck.

Alias Mother said...

1) Identity: totally a blogger's choice and I don't judge either way. Fake names are fine (except when the fake kid name is something like Sweet Muffinhead Schmooky Bear, but that's just a personal issue) and don't distract me.

2) Ads: I don't find them distracting, but there does seem to be some sort of inevitable "Oh my god, I have ads now, I must write daily to pay the bills" deadline downward spiral when someone puts ads up. So, yes, I think it can affect the writing. But some bloggers come out the other side of that just fine (Amalah, for example). Others never do seem to get it back.

3) Social politics: I have about three readers, and I don't care, so I'm probably not the best to answer. I do worry about so many kids being in the pool sometimes. You can only split an audience so many ways before it collapses. The blogging community has changed significantly since I started reading blogs (it seems to be following the Wild West->Organized->Professional track that the internet did back in the 90s), but I don't think it's better or worse. It's just different.

4) Hate the endless linking. It's fine in the sidebar. Don't put in a NEW ENTRY! post every time you write something. You get paid. We get it. Get over it.

Have a good time. I hate conferences and so would never go to one in my free time. Also, I'm not always a fan of GIRL POWER, so this really isn't my gig. But I always look forward to recaps.

Alias Mother said...

Oooh, oooh! After posted I read Margalit's comments, and I completely agree with her thoughts on the In Crowd only promoting itself. I just can't believe that there are only a handful of voices worth hearing all over the place, and I wish those putting together paid gigs would look beyond the obvious.

I'm not saying me. I'm just saying that there's a lot more talent out there than what we are seeing represented. So far sites seem unwilling to search for that talent. Perhaps that's the next blogging development. Agents searching for talented bloggers?

Stacey063 said...

I just put my photo of my unpolished pedicure needing toes on my blog today....does their privacy need protecting, I think not.....anyway I don't put my kids names or photos on there - we are freakishly childprotecting in that way - I don't mind this when I read other blogs either - heck you really could just make up names, like Tiffany and Chase (oops if those are someone's kids' names) or whatever. I do like reading your blog and hope to read it more often!

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with some advertising. Talented writers with a following deserve to be compensated, if they can.

I must say that I was surprised at the amount of identifying info that you put on the blog, though. Love you for doing it, because it does make me/us feel like we know you, but it would make me nervous. As you are a stay-at-home mom who is beautiful, who has a beautiful child, and who is likely home all day, who knows who is reading your blog and figured that out? There is likely enough identifying info that you could be found, if someone wanted to. With all the creepy crawlies who target people over much less info, it would worry me. I was stalked in grad school for a YEAR by someone who had me mixed up with someone he met at a party. It was terrifying and senseless and really made me leery of allowing myself to be too easy a target. Just my two cents. Good luck at Blogher and with the sale of your house!

Lena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lena said...

Anon - I don't use my real last name or my city name and I use an anon IP address. It's the advice I would give to anyone.

I feel it's important to provide personal information as I tell my story, though. It makes me more real, don't you think?

Lena said...

Alias Mother - We could have used your voice at the conference. I love your comment.

Lena said...

Margalit - Whatever you do, don't click that link at the bottom of this entry. DON'T! ;)

Absolutely loved your points and I attempted to touch on this on the BlogHer panel this weekend.

I think the topic deserves its own entry. Am formulating...

Lena said...

Karen A. - There is supposed to be a podcast. I think at Mommy Bloggers Toronto?

Huh. I shall find out.

girl in motion said...

Wow. Margalit's comments about linking to other posts on other sites really got to me.

I blog for free at my own site, and at one other, and for a few bucks at the third. I'm mainly posting links to let my friends and family know when to bother to check the other blogs.

But I'm also posting about my pregnancy on two different sites. I don't want to give up my personal site, just because I get to talk about myself somewhere else twice a week. I don't want to lose readers at my personal site because I link to myself other places.

I do want people to go to the other site because a) I'm freakishly needy of attention, and b) I'm telling one long story in two locations.

I wish I could have been more anonymous, but since I'm already listed with my full name at the other sites, it's somewhat moot.

I think it's the lack of anonymity (parents and colleagues read my posts), not the ads, that have affected my content. I was a journalist (and often published first-person pieces) before I started blogging, so the public/private struggle is a familiar one for me.

Even my home city is available online. That's just how it has gone.

I appreciate what everyone said about the communities. I'm very new on the scene and do feel some of the ways described. I want to join the party. But it's like a party where everyone is blindfolded and in the dark, and you don't know who you're kissing until the lights come on.

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