Rarely do I use my blog to rant and vent when it comes to other bloggers. However, what I saw go down last week on blogs and on Twitter has me rather irate. What am I talking about? I am talking about the #nestlefamily blogger junket. I watched on Twitter as the chaos and mudslinging occurred. I stayed out of it. I know most of the bloggers that attended and I know they do not support “baby killing” as it was so often referred to. I do understand that many people have issues with Nestle. I read posts and followed links to see what the firestorm was all about. I saw the outrage and anger towards Nestle- some backing up their outrage, some just jumping on the bangwagon.
But here is where it went too far: When other bloggers went as far as to slam, criticize and be downright cruel to the bloggers in attendance. Seriously? That is just uncalled for when you attack the attendees. Some of the bloggers were very hurt by the accusations and cruelty thrown their way. And some of this venom was by other blogger they respect(ed). Did those of you who attacked the bloggers personally approach them in a respectful way or just throw stones?
You see, as one of the pioneers in mommyblogging, I have seen how far we have come. We were once at the bottom of the blogging ladder. We were the ones at the back of the list when it came to asking opinions of us or looking to us to educate and inform others about a product or service. We (including some of the bloggers in attendance) fought hard to gain respect in the world of social media and with corporate America. It was through our hard work, quality writing and open mindedness that we opened doors to major corporations to reach out to us. Yes, we opened the door to gain access to these companies. We earned their respect and therefore they have seen the power mom bloggers have online. Believe it or not there was a time when there was no such thing as a blogger junket.
I remember one of the first held was Johnson’ s Baby Camp. Yes, there was a blow up over that one. However, when bloggers were upset, they went to Johnson’s. I did not see the actual bloggers being attacked personally. Since then there have been many, many blogger trips to corporations where mom bloggers can learn about the companies, their practices and what they stand for as a company. (Disclosure: Yes, I have been on some of these. Yes, I do enjoy going. And, YES, I have learned more about these companies from attending. It is not about a free trip and swag. Do I enjoy going on these trips? Of course I do. A prime example is the trip I took to Hallmark. I learned so much there and met amazing creative people. I did have fun but more than that, I learned so much more about the company itself. I do look into the companies when I am asked to go on one of these blogger junkets. Just for the record. The majority of us do not just get an invite and automatically jump for joy and attend. We attend for a reason. We attend to hear what they have to teach us and show us about their company.) For the record, Johnson’s did learn from the constructive criticism they received. I worked with the PR person on this and saw it from their side as well.
Some of these women were at the forefront of mommyblogging. They were ones that (even if the term mommyblogger made their skin crawl) fought to be heard and respected. They are not into blogging for free trips, swag or bragging rights that they have been able to go on these trips. They are the ones whose quality of writing brought these trips to you. (Yes, you who have been on them yourselves and enjoyed them.) They helped show that we are powerful, useful and want to learn more about the products they may (or may not) be buying for their families. To suggest anything else is not only inaccurate but cruel. These women were blogging about their lives long before there was any monetary compensation or free trips involved. Long before some of you were even blogging.
I saw and heard many women I respect personally attack these bloggers and frankly, it pisses me off in a big way. I lost respect for women I had admired who used social media as a way to attack the attendees themselves. What do you hope to gain doing that? Do you think that by attacking their ethics, motivation and character makes you look more informed and a better person/mom blogger? Well, it doesn’t. It makes you look foolish and immature.
If you have a problem with Nestle, bring it up with NESTLE. You want to boycott them, you go on with your bad self. You want to tell Nestle off, do it. It is well within your right to stand strong in your beliefs when it comes to a company and their practices. I applaud you being an advocate for what you believe. I seriously do admire those of you who stand up for what you believe and fight to see that injustices you hear or learn about are dealt with.
However, the moment you made it personal towards the mombloggers (and dad blogger) who went to this event, you lost your credibility. At least with me. It amounts to nothing more than school yard bullying. Not to mention bullying some of the very people who have opened doors that I know you have enjoyed walking through yourself.
And, yes, I know that not all of the people who are anti-Nestle berated these bloggers. I know that. Enough did, though, that I feel it should be addressed.
Those of you who did make it personal with these bloggers, the next time you decided to throw stones at these people, you think long and hard about what stones could be thrown at you. Their attendance did not mean they support Nestle’s practices. Do you know why they went? Did you ask them what their motivation was to attend? Did you find out if they wanted to become better informed on the issues you brought up? Or did you assume their attendance automatically made them the bad guys?
With social media such as Twitter it is so easy to sit behind a computer and hurl your insults and make these people feel bad. Are you using social media as a tool or as a weapon? Think about it.
Had I been able to go, would I have gone? Probably. Not because I discount the research done by many bloggers on the company. Not because I wanted a free trip. And not because I will blindly go anywhere I am asked to go. But because no matter how much research I read from you, I want to get my own answers. I want to see both sides. I want to educate myself.
I am so disappointed in how my fellow mombloggers were treated personally. It infuriates me.
I fear that behavior like I saw will drag the mom(my) blogger name into the mud and shove us back into the depths of “we don’t want to hear from them” because dammit we have worked too hard for too many years to gain respect.
And, no, I am not talking about speaking out about your feelings, research and ideas about Nestle itself. I am talking about the rude, mean spirited attacks against women I know to be admirable, respected and intelligent well educated bloggers who have done amazing things when it comes to blogging–namely momblogging.
Shame on those of you who saw fit to attack the attendees themselves.
Use your anger and your outrage over the company to open a dialogue with Nestle or use your words to educate those who do not know what you have researched.
And for the love of all things community, back the hell off of these bloggers. They are good people.
/ end rant