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Well, That Certainly Helped to Clarify Things....

Sunday, September 17, 2006
Life Success Tip #4592
When you go to write a note of clarification in the comments section of someone's blog, it's always best if the clarification makes the situation less confusing.

Case in point: I was responding to this post by Mother'Hood columnist Catherine (Her Bad Mother) but addressed my clarification to the site owner. (I didn't spot the bio in the sidebar for Catherine until after I posted, so I assumed that the post had been written by the site owner, Jen.)

I had three key reasons for posting a clarification:

1. I wanted to offer an apology in case anyone at Urbanmom.ca felt attacked or singled out by my most recent blog post about parenting media. (I haven't heard from anyone else I cited as an example of parenting media in Canada in the article, so I'm assuming no one else took offense.)
2. I wanted to highlight the type of online marketing that I find really objectionable and to highlight my personal stake in the momosphere
3. I wanted to point out that it's perfectly legitimate for people to have a discussion that other people have had before -- or for the same people to have the same discussion over and over again, for that matter. That's how ideas evolve and grow. Saying, "we already talked about that" or "it's been said before" are great conversation stoppers. But I don't think we want this conversation stopped. At least not yet.

- Ann


Dear Jen [this should have been "Dear Catherine" -- Catherine is the columnist (a.k.a. "Her Bad Mother"); Jen is the site owner]

I apologize if you felt singled out or attacked by my blog post on parenting media.

I'm co-presenting a session on Motherhood and Blogging at the ARM Conference in late October and, as always, when I'm doing research on an important topic, I wanted to get a sense of the grassroots thinking on the issue.

In listing parenting media outlets, I was trying to provide a representative sampling of the range of media voices that we now have on the Canadian parenting scene -- big, small; well-known, not-so-well-known; online, offline; chain, independent; etc. These were the examples I chose.

Babyvibe.ca -- a Westcoast parenting e-zine that was recently launched by a former journalist. I picked it because it's new and because the editor does a great job of providing a mix of editorial and product info, plus news and events of interest to moms in the BC-lower mainland.

UrbanBaby.ca -- another example of a BC parenting publication that's doing a great job, IMHO. In addition to carrying a lot of really intelligently written health/parenting editorial (you have to get the print version of the publication to really see what Urban Baby is all about), the publication helps advertisers reach Vancouver families.

Thyme Maternity: This is an example of a high-end "magalogue" aimed at Canadian moms.

Glow.ca: Glow is a Canadian women's magazine that provides strong coverage on motherhood. I included them to show how there's women's/motherhood magazine market crossover. (Not all magazines make the crossover. Chatelaine is an example of a Canadian women's magazine that doesn't.)

SavvyMom.ca: I included Savvy Mom because they -- like UrbanMom.ca -- are an example of a product-focused blog/zine/newsletter. They specialize in drawing Canadian mom's attention to noteworthy products/services. Savvy Mom has a rather noteworthy crossover deal with Canadian Family magazine and has recently extended into Vancouver. Because Canada doesn't have a parenting/pregnancy equivalent to the US baby shopping magazine "Bundle" online blog/zine/newsletters are currently fulfilling this function. I personally think its only a matter of time before someone in the print world steps in and fills this market gap. (Think "Baby Lulu"!) However, given that the blog/zine/newsletters have had a significant head start in this category -- and given how crowded the parenting media category in general has already become -- a print mag may be reluctant to wade in.

City Parent: I included a mention of City Parent as an example of a GTA newspaper for parents. I tried to find a URL for "The Little Paper" that is published in the city's westend because I wanted to add them, too, particularly since they're an independent, but I couldn't find a link for them. Does anyone have one? I'd like to add them to the list of links in the sidebar of my blog.

UrbanMoms.ca: I included a mention of UrbanMoms.ca for the reasons stated in my discussion of SavvyMom.ca; because the site has just undergone a major makeover; and because it has always had a strong product focus (parents testing products).

And, of course, my list was not complete/exhaustive. I could have listed 50 Canadian online/print parenting publications and not covered them all. But that would have been kind of redundant -- and time-consuming!

As to your point that people have had this parenting media discussion before, well, that is true. I've been part of those discussions before -- just as I've been part of discussions about moms and stress, work/life balance, the childcare shortage, the homework debate -- all the topics that bounce around the blogosphere because they still warrant more discussion.

And I suspect we'll be having some variation of this online marketing discussion 10 or 20 years from now. I think the evolution of parenting media, parent blogs, etc., is a fascinating topic. (In fact, I think the evolution of media in general is fascinating.) And the more we talk about these things (and the more voices that join in the discussion), the more we can learn from one another. (And along that vein, thanks for the excellent link to bubandpie's discussion. Lots of very insightful posts over there.)

One final comment that may also provide some insights into why I care so much about this topic: because I gained so much support online after my daughter was stillbirth (and at other dark times in my life as a mom), I'm very protective of the sanctity of mom-to-mom communications. I know from first-hand experience -- and from talking to countless other moms -- that the networks that are created online can be lifesaving, literally. I don't want someone pretending to be my online buddy so that they can sell me a cleaning product or try to get me to join their market-to-moms network or any of that kind of stuff. The few times it's happened to me, I've been enraged. That's what I object to -- the ugly underbelly of blog marketing -- people trading on online friendships to make a buck.

I hope this helps to clarify my comments. If you would like me to remove your link from my original post, please let me know. Otherwise, I will leave it as is so it can remain in the company of other respected Canadian parenting media.

- Ann


I just realized that Catherine was the author of the column above. (I didn't see any byline, so I thought it was by the site owner, Jen.)

And then after I posted, I was looking at the baby photos and I thought -- wait....that's Her Bad Mother's baby.

So Jen, I don't know if you were offended by the post or not -- or if Her Bad Mother was offended on your behalf -- or whatever. But if anyone was offended and wants the Urbanmoms.ca link removed from my original post, please advise.

I'm off to bed (where I clearly should have gone before posting.) :-)

- Ann

| posted by Ann D @ 1:51 AM