Branding and how the New York Times got it wrong

March 16, 2010

I never write much about my work on my blog. Mostly because I blog and participate in many forms of social media for work. I maintain that brand and identity separately, because, well.. it is a separate brand and identity. I dont do it because I’m trying to hide anything, I do it because I am paid to build a brand and interest around a certain type of participation and conversation venue that requires a completely different audience, a different level of participation and a role for me that includes many aspects that the public doesnt see (such as encouraging and teaching others to build strong content). Even in this role, the fact that I am a parent does surface, but in a way that in congruent with the message we are building there. This is where I choose to build my brand, others choose to build themselves as a brand.

As I have stated in a previous post. I DO consider myself a mommyblogger. Although my blog has taken a hiatus in the recent past, I still tweet as a mommy (mommytweeter?) and use social media as a way to talk about being a parent. Not only do I find these types of social media activities as a mom, helpful and cathartic, I feel like I belong to a community of parents (notice I say parents, dads are also full participatory parents who deserve recognition too) who understand when I complain about poor sleep habits, childhood illnesses and the challenges that come with raising children.

One of the reasons I think that people are up in arms about the New York Times piece.. is because it is so shortsighted and doesnt even begin to capture the essence of being a parent-blogger. There are so many great parent blogs out there that they ARE brands, as well they should be. When you write interesting, useful articles about a subject that people are drawn to and want advice about, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t build a brand. Parents want to feel like they are part of a larger, understanding community, and many times, these blogs help them feel connected when they are feeling isolated. What makes these articles that are informative and helpful, any different than an article in a magazine? Nobody bats an eye if a magazine builds a brand.

Journalism is changing.. I know how much you all (read: mainstream media) hate change, but if you roll with it, you might find some interesting people, subjects and new material to feature. There is no reason the two types of media cant live harmoniously together. There is no reason to belittle conferences geared toward mothers who believe in themselves and what their blogs are about.These people are rockstars who believe in themselves, dont be the bully on the playground.

There are many great posts out there that talk about how the Old Gray Lady (NYT) got it wrong, and I can only hope that one day I can see a great mainstream media article about the wonderful, powerful, emotional and positive impact blogging has been to this new era of raising children in a digital age. I think that we as parents are more informed, more willing to speak up and more open about what we do now than we ever were. And I believe our children benefit because of the things parents are willing to share with each other in whatever medium makes them feel comfortable to do so.

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