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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thinking about blogging and popularity...again!

The past few nights have been particularly sleepless, so things start passing by my mind, things I usually don't ponder about at all. But last night one of the myriad of unconnected thoughts was how 'mommy blogging' changes from year to year. A couple of years ago, the super-d-dooper (to quote Barney) mommy bloggers were totally different than who they are now. Oh, except for Dooce. She doesn't count. She's above all this.

A couple of years ago there were some self-appointed queen bee bloggers. They all blogged for a time at Parent Dish, nee Blogging Baby, and they all had very large egos. Some were so busy anointing themselves as the cream of the crop that they started believing their own self-importance. They spent much of their blogging time either plugging their friend's blogs, or self-promoting like crazy. You remember the "I'm here today" controversy. Thankfully, it's pretty much confined to a few bloggers.

Those self-appointed queen bees are mostly not queen bees anymore. I don't know why. I think it some cases they just lost audiences because they wrote the same old same old for years. Blogs get boring without the occasional post that's not about either yourself or your family. In some cases, their audiences changed. In some cases, Google Reader and BlogLines made it easier to just ignore posts that didn't look interesting in the first 3 lines. There's a lot of reasons why they're not such big MommyBlogging stars any more, and far be it from me to analyze why.

Now we've got a new crop of absolute stars. The difference between the new stars and the older ones is that the new stars don't take themselves so seriously. They have humor, they have self-deprecating posts, and they're interesting without self-promotion. Some of the stars are very different than the 'I'm too cool for you' stars of the recent past. Look at three that I think stand out:

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. This is an incredibly popular blog, one of the most successful personal blogs on the 'net. Ree, the author, is a fabulous photographer, a really great story teller, is hilariously funny, and she's so damn real. Everyone loves her, no matter where you're from. I haven't ever heard one disparaging word about her or her site. She's universally adored. She also raises large sums of money for Special Olympics, takes care of a passel of "punks" and gives us insight onto what's it like to live on a working cattle ranch. Her blog is unique. Even her cooking blog is unique. She uses the most mundane of ingredients bought in a local market she claims carries nothing remotely gourmet, and yet she makes food you just want to gobble right down.

Rocks in My Dryer. Shannon has taken it upon herself to create a really interesting blog filled with a sense of community. While Shannon and I are about as politically and religiously apart as two people can be, I love her blog. I love that she's worked really hard to be very inclusive, to encourage other bloggers to take part in her various weekly blogging events, and I mostly love that she really likes her friends on the 'net. She has created some of the most successful blogging 'events' ever, including her two "Giveaways" where hundreds of people offer items in their own personal contests, and of course, Works for Me Wednesdays. I've taken part in both giveaways, and you wouldn't believe what this did to my stats. I got thousands and thousands of hits during the giveaways. You would have thought I was giving away gold or something. While she does blog about her family, that's not her central theme. Community is her theme, and she's built up the most successful community I've seen on the 'net.

Because I Said So. The title of this blog gives you a hint to Dawn's method of parenting. She's a hoot and a half, and she rarely isn't hilariously funny when she talks about the daily grind of parenting 6 kids. Dawn's new to blogging, starting this blog last June. Dawn was the woman that wrote the hilariously funny Ebay ad selling an old, dirty baseball for over $1100. From there, she has continued to write a fabulously funny entry almost daily, chronicling her kids antics, how she got the book deal she's currently procrastinating writing, her trip to NYC to be on TV, and about how all this success came down to one funny ad on Ebay. Since Dawn first started blogging, she's been able to increase her family's financial intake from her ads, and she's been equally generous in giving to charity and helping to support a family with a dying child. Dawn keeps her audience hopping because you never know what she's going to come out with next. You can always count on it to be funny, though.

Why do these stand out as excellent examples (in my not-so-humble opinion) of mommy-blogging? Because they're all different blogs, they all have a vast following of non-sycophants who aren't telling them how pretty they are and how beautiful their clothing is because they don't freaking NEED to be constantly stroked, they all promote community or charity or good works on the blogs, and they are women who don't need to tell you how 'cool' they are. And most of all, they don't post about American Idol or Dancing with the Stars! That alone gives them huge points on my Best of Blogs list!

To tell you how much I like the direction that the popular blogs are heading would be obvious. I'm thrilled that we finally seem to have gotten beyond the 'I'm so cool you MUST come and shower me with adulation' blogs of the past. I'm loving that the new popular bloggers are getting recognition for being talented writers and photographers, and not for being cool. I like that these are thinking women who aren't stuck on the same story week after week after week. I like that they bring a sense of community to their blogs. I like that they have open comments and yet rarely if ever get even one nasty troll commenter. I like that their commenters talk about the content and not feel the need to tell the poster how pretty they are and how cool their shoes are. I love that these bloggers aren't solely baby-oriented and that these particular bloggers have older kids. Honestly, I just like these blogs a lot because they seem like their written by women who are secure in who they are and don't need their commenters to stroke them continually.

So what about you? What blogs that aren't old time "cool blogs" are you digging these days?

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8 Comments:

Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Of the 3 you mention, I only have "Confessions. . ." on my Reader and love, love, love her. Her photographs are killer. Her writing is hilarious. Her recipes are awesome.

I haven't been blogging for long enough to know who is 'old time' and who is 'new time'! But, I love Blog Antagonist (Blogs are Stupid), The Cleaner Plate Club and From the Frontlines, among others.

29/12/07 6:17 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

I've read "Rocks in my Dryer", but not the other two. Thanks for the links and reviews!

29/12/07 6:42 PM  
Blogger BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I secretly would love to be Ree at Pioneer Woman minus the cow poop and the living out in the middle of nowhere. She is a fantastic photographer. My 70-year-old mother reads her cooking site.

I really like Jess at Oh, the Joys. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry... I've been reading Mrs. Flinger almost two years and Debunot and Mama Tulip in Canada are favorites of mine, too. Some newbies to blogging I'm reading these days including Sarcastic Mom and Fabulous Mommy Fussypants (both fellow Nashvillians.) So many blogs, so little time. ;)

29/12/07 8:31 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Of the blogs you guys mentioned, I'm madly in love with Blog Antagonist, who I think is both BRILLIANT and moving. I also read Cleaner Plate Club, and have learned so much from her; Oh, the Joys is a blog I enjoy a lot, and I've been reading Sarcastic Mom forever. Lindsay is hilarious, just frigging hilarious. Plus, I have a friend IRL from Nashville whose kid plays on Lindsey's daughter's soccer team, and the inside poop is that she's just as funny and delightful IRL. I wish I lived closer. I want her to be my best friend.

29/12/07 8:41 PM  
Anonymous bethany actually said...

I don't really know who the former superstar mommybloggers are. I read and love, in no particular order:

Oh My Stinkin Heck
Secret Agent Josephine
DutchBlitz.net
Whoorl
Kerflop
The Reign of Ellen
Amalah
Catherine Newman
Julia (Here be Hippogriffs)

And one daddyblogger: jmadigan.net

All these bloggers are fabulous writers, and many of them are talented photographers as well. They write about their kids, their jobs, and any number of things with wit and style. I know you know about Ellen, because she is how I found you. :-)

29/12/07 9:18 PM  
Anonymous H.A. Page said...

The medium has been new; popularity and the desire for it/acceptance will never change; reasons for blooging are diverse and the medium and we change.

I enjoyed studying it. Here's is my study for grad school.

30/12/07 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

I needed to write to give props to one of my first "commenters" - her blog is Barbra Peapod Disco Bubbles, and she is real as real comes. She's hilarious, self-deprecating, and makes me want to move to South Philly. She also taught me how to find your blog - you just keep hitting the "Next Blog" button on the top of the page - it's always a mystery as to what will turn up next!

Thanks for what you do, and to all the commenters for the excellent new pages to read - I'm excited to read them.

(As for my name, it's a nickname from one of my friends. I'm no royal, and I'm pretty much the antithesis of cool, if you poll my teenagers.)

Shelley

30/12/07 5:03 PM  
Blogger Ladybug's Picnic said...

I'm a mom but I just can't get into the mommy bloggers. I do have several reads that aren't "popular" per se but that I think are really well written - those are the blogs I enjoy the most.

31/12/07 11:36 AM  

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