Thursday, September 03, 2009

Mommy blogger, or just a blogger?

The controversy of Dooce and Maytag, day 9.

Okay, so this was actually (finally) becoming old news, and then Forbes posted this brief story.  And it was temporarily re-ignited.  And then (I think) it's died down again. But I'm behind since this week has kicked my butt, and I have to comment on the Forbes post.

Parmy Olson wrote an article about Dooce tweeting her dissatisfaction with Maytags service. (For those that live under a rock, Dooce is big. She's become a pop-culture figure (at least for most social media people), and people listen to her. Not all of them have the ability to think for themselves, which is the case any time you mix a million people together.)   Dooce was angry and tweeted about the lack of customer service, and included phrases like "Do not buy Maytag."  This tweet bothered some people.  They sympathized with her plight, but were concerned about her tone.  And of course, people began to retweet, and soon, it was big.  And Maytag called her and her washer got fixed and another company wanted to give her a new washer and dryer and all's well, right?  Well, not quite.

When you throw out a tweet (or any public statement) in anger, and you have a million followers, you have to think of the repercussions.  You may credit most of your readers with having a brain that allows them to think for themselves, but not all of them do.  And the potential to drastically impact a company is real.  And there was no background information given during this tweeting frenzy, no explanation of how much she had gone through.  A few days later, she posted about the whole episode, and I agreed she had every right to be angry.  (Although I really wanted to comment with "have you ever heard of a laundry mat" several times while reading the post.) 

But this isn't just about this one tweet incident. This is about the responsibility we all have.  Yes, that organization needed to give her better customer service. And she achieved getting that service, and scored a new washer and dryer for a shelter in the process.  Our responsibility is to realize that there is a greater story here.  That 3 months of non-working washer sucks, but why hasn't it been working?  What has the company done to fix it?  Did a mouse disconnect a wire?  We didn't know the whole story.  It turns out in this instance, she had been trying to get something fixed that wasn't her fault, but what if it was?

During Blogher conference, apparently there was a woman who tweeted about Nikon not allowing her to bring her baby into their party, held at a bar.  She tagged it with something like "Nikon hates babies" and immediately people began retweeting. But many of those people didn't know the whole context.  She made an assumption about what would and wouldn't be allowed, and she was wrong, and then she tweeted about it in jest.  That doesn't mean Nikon hates babies.  But that one tweet could cause the business harm. 

We've all said something we've regretted.  Nowadays, we need to be even more diligent in thinking before speaking (or typing) as our words have a greater potential to reach a larger audience.

All of that isn't even the point I wanted to make with this post.  Sorry for the tangent.

My real point is the article itself, and statements made in the article.  This one made me mad..."in the so-called mommy blogosphere (ie. the thousands of blogs penned by stay-at-home moms, and it's larger than you think)..."  First of all, it "sparked a debate" in the blogosphere in general.  The people discussing this weren't just "mommybloggers."  But what really pissed me off was the ie statement.

Excuse me?  There are so many amazing bloggers out there today.  Some of them are mothers.  Some of them are fathers.  But they are also, husbands, wifes, girlfriends, boyfriends, aunts, uncles and cousins to name a few.  There are people who work in marketing, writers, firefighters, students and many more.  None of us should be defined by one title.  And to insuate that only women who stay at home and pen a blog cared is demeaning.  It demeans those women who do choose to stay home.  It demeans those people who don't, but still cared.

Moms are not the "little women staying home with the kids while their husbands go to work and pay the bills" anymore.  Moms' go to work, whether they do it in an office or at home.  They buy cars, they decide what insurance to carry, they make travel arrangements, they live busy and full lifes, just like other people that aren't mom's do.  But marketing firms and the general media seem to be missing the boat lately.  They are playing up a stereotype that they created, and it isn't valid any longer.  Yes, I wonder how many cup holders my vehicle has in it.  But that isn't a reason I will use to determine what I buy.  How roomy is it?  How many miles to the gallon does it get?  How safe is it? That's what matters to me.  And when you treat me with the respect that I deserve, you'll get my business.

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