A while ago Jessica Gottlieb (I think) asked if there was a cut-off date for mom blogging. She based this on blog fodder vs your children's rights to privacy. While do agree that we have to be aware of our kids and how much they want shared online, I was a bit aghast that my site had a shelf life as I felt I would ALWAYS be a parent and therefore always have something to talk about. But on Wednesday night I attended Vancouvermom.ca's annual Top Mom Bloggers celebration that has grown into this HUGE glam night from the small group of us (I am an alumni) all those years ago, and I started to wonder if Jessica was right.
Now this may be the perimenopause talking but while it was great to see so many bloggers I have gotten to know and meet some I had not yet connected with in real life, I started to feel quite old. Each year it feels like the age gap between myself and these bloggers grows bigger and bigger. They are young and pretty and have cute little kids. I am well into middle age and so -- compared to these blogs -- is my site.
Things have changed a lot since I started blogging. Only the elite few had ads that paid them well and we looked at those who had PAID gigs from their efforts in awe. Blogging was about blog rolls and link building. Over the years the influence of brands and marketing has crept more and more into the blogging world and no matter how 'personal' your blog is.....you will get noticed by mainstream media....especially if you have nailed your niche. If you don't understand what I mean by 'niche' take a look at how straight out of the gate successful Melissa Carr's site was and is, and grows more every day. She is getting noticed.
Even if you call your blog a hobby, the brands and mainstream media are watching you these days. It is far easier to connect with brands now than it was when I started out on this journey. While I still dream of Crunchy Carpets turning into my sole bread and butter, I have (wisely, I think) regarded it more as a jumping off point and have worked hard at spreading the word about my LEARNED expertise gained through blogging and social media. I love my blog and the amazing opportunities it has brought me, but I can only imagine what it would like if I was ten years younger and so was my blog.
I also feel that despite being a 'Vancouver Mom' I am not Vancouver enough and the local small companies notice that. I am not west side. I am not even in the hip parts of East Van. The Crunchy clan survives on a budget that does not allow for fancy art camps or overnights at the aquarium for example. I also don't really have a niche apart from focusing on school age life... we aren't vegetarian or gluten free and we let our kids play video games. Brands and the media tend to look for key focuses that they can grab on to and I don't have that.
I am not trying to make everyone feel sorry for me or my blog. I do think that my site, my reach and my influence do have value to brands and marketers. But the competition is a lot tougher these days especially in Vancouver, with this new crop of eager influencers getting the nod from Vancouvermom.ca every year.
For many years Canadian bloggers felt left out of the hoorahrah. We attended BlogHer and looked upon the swag and sponsors with envy. Then the east side of Canada started getting more attention from the brands. The sophistication and savvy-ness of the bloggers I have met from Ontario left me slack jawed. Especially the review bloggers. They are courted by brand after brand and are smart adept business women. BC has been slower to get noticed but it is happening and it is happening quickly. Conferences about social media and blogging are gaining traction here and are attracting bigger and better sponsors. Vancouver bloggers are getting noticed and the growth of events like the one put on by Christine Pilkington at Vancouvermom.ca are proof of that.
I suppose I could embrace my middle-agedness, there is nothing I can do about it. I am Crunchy Carpets and Crunchy Carpets is me. I can't change me and so in realty I can only tweak the blog so much too. I can't imagine NOT blogging. I love it and I love the opportunities and friends I have made because of it. The most I can do is try to keep these young whipper snappers in line and show them what an OLD blog looks like.
Oh and I suppose when my kids tell me to talking about them on the blog and Facebook, Twitter etc... I SUPPOSE I will at least pretend to try to do so and hope they don't catch me.