This is the post where I not only sell out, I admit I’m selling out. And I’m OK with that. I always have been– this isn’t the first time the whole blogging/sponsors/ sell out thing has come up on RRSAHM… I’ll try not to repeat myself.
Some of you may have seen this article in the SMH last week, talking mummy blogging and how much brands kiss our arses. Woogs looked glam and Eden looked all funky hot. Eden happened to mention that she, like a lot of other bloggers, declined an event invitation, knowing it wasn’t something she would blog about, not being relevant to her readers. Which is awesome- that’s what we do, as our own editors and publishers. We make our own calls.
But the journalist took that one and ran with it, I say. They showcased the blog, Twitter and FB feeds of another blogger, the lovely Samelia’s Mum, who did attend KFC, and blogged about it turn– the general vibe of the article was that she sold out for chicken.
Had the journal on this article searched my Twitter feed from the day, they would have found sentiments comparable to those expressed by Samelia’s Mum– basic chit chat about the bits and pieces (of chicken) that KFC were showing off.
Did anyone really think the chick with blog covered in jellybeans would turn down an invite from KFC on healthy eating principles…? No? Good. We are all the same page here.
To be honest, when I first received the invite, I felt… dirty. Or greasy, as the case may be. I did have a moment of “ummm”, “ahhh” “what will people think of me?”… then I cracked another can of Coke and forgot about it. The Twitter stream on the morning of the event was a graveyard… It seemed no one was actually brave enough to Tweet where they were going to (sell outs!), and once it was revealed, the number of bloggers who came out to say they had knocked the invite back were… terrifying. I felt like the only girl in high school munching on hot chips while everyone else took sensible bites of their salad sandwiches.
But I accepted the KFC invite. In fact, I accept most invites. I really do attend the opening of an envelope– and I’m OK with that. For a couple of reasons that are very valid, to me– and I’m the only that counts.
Number One– We all know I’m hardly the healthy eating advocate. I’m a learner, an absorber, a sponge… I like to know things. If a company wants to bring me into their space and show me how awesome they are, I’ll go with an open mind and see what they have to say. Just because I attend does not mean I’ll blog about it– you lot would be so, so bored if I did.
|Deep fried canola flowers. Not really.|
And for the eternal record– KFC actually was quite interesting… even if back of house raw chicken prep made me squirm. While blogger Trish loves the support they are giving Aussie farmers, I respect the fact they are not actually as full of shit as one might first believe. As they firmly portrayed to us, they’re not trying to be a ’healthy’ food option– it’s fried chicken, for canola’s sake. They’re aware that their food is used as a treat, and should be utilised as such. They don’t market specifically to children and are the only major fast food chain in Australia to not offer plastic tat toys with their kids meals. As I’ve said before– and if I haven’t, then I should have– here, we eat healthily but moderately. Having few issues with weight or sugar levels in our extended family, I’m teaching my kids that they can eat any full fat food, as long as they keep moving. I’m OK with a certain amount of sugar and fat in our diets– it’s additives and preservatives that bother me. While the body can burn off sugar and fat, preservatives and chemical additives are simply stored– the human body isn’t sure how to process them, and it will be a few hundred years before we can.
Number Two– I am freaking lonely, and sometimes I need to get out of this house. If you’re a parent to small children, you know how intense the craving for adult company can be, especially if you’re the only adult in the household. My kids go to daycare three days a week and spend one day with their paternal grandmother– if an invite comes for one of those days, I’m there. Why wouldn’t I be, really…? Someone is going to pay for my travel, food and expenses, in a nice venue, with other woman who I adore, or with interesting new people to meet– logic tells me that as a single mum on a limited budget who has lost all her closest friendships, passing up the chance to socialize on the house is just illogical.
Which brings me to Number Three.
I like free stuff.
Doesn’t everybody like free stuff, especially when it’s practical? Hair dye, toothpastes, pantry items, computer needs, toys and books and movies and clothes and days out for my kids. What do I have to do in return, you ask? Well… not much. Show up. Be an interactive part of whatever experience or product the brand is promoting. If I like, I can Tweet or Instagram or FaceBook anything that takes my interest. I go with an open mind, and then I tell the truth. If it’s something I find interesting or relevant or touches me, or something I think you jellybeans would groove on, then I blog it. And if not, I don’t.
It’s a commonly held principle amongst bloggers that, to quote the so-beautiful-she-can’t-be-real Lady Melbourne, “you can’t pay the rent with shoes.” To a certain extent, I’ll beg to differ– toothpaste won’t pay my rent, no. But if it’s practical or necessary, then the money I would have otherwise spent to purchase it does go to the rent or the bills or the kitchen table or where ever its needed. With two tiny kids to feed, clothe and protect… as I said, I’m OK with that.
Speaking of the munchkins, the low blow comments that seem to follow every article about mum blogging were evident– hey, even TV presenters who featured us just a few weeks beforehand get all weird about the mummy bloggers. Don’t we have anything better to do. We are neglecting our children, being on that computer all the time. We are exploiting our children, writing about them.
To all that, I say– if having their stories shared with people who have a genuine investment in them is the worst exploitation my children suffer in their lives– massive bonus. And, in truth, my children are minor characters on this blog, and they will probably shrink further as they grow older. I’m far too narcissistic to blog about my kids all the time– this is my story, not theirs. And, again, if having a detailed, truthful, if not painful, written account of their formative years available to them at an older is the most traumatizing thing that ever happens to them– again, massive win.
I have far greater concerns for my children than those that result from blogging about them. And, quite frankly, without the extra income and the social interaction blogging gives to me, I’d be a work at least part time. Same amount of cash, same amount of childcare. Less enjoyment and fulfillment for me. And the kids would not have the ample collection of Disney DVD’s that they currently possess. In fact, I think they would complain if I stopped exploiting them– we’re supposed to going to the movies next month. (Again, thanks Disney. You rock.)
|Lori hides from
Don’t I have anything better to do? Maybe. Don’t you? How much time does the average person spend a day engaging in passive entertainment– watching TV, for example, or reading a book? I don’t watch TV, and books are difficult to find time to read these days. So I’m simply entertaining myself, the way most people do; its just that I happen to be creating something at the same time.
You’re into Home and Away or playing the piano or collecting ceramic cows… I’m into my laptop. Let’s all agree that all our hobbies and interests are, broken down, probably pretty pointless. That’s the whole point of them– the essence of a hobby is to find an activity with which to enjoy yourself, right? It doesn’t have to change the world. And if you happen to get paid for that hobby and you still enjoy it– ’nother bonus there.
And, while some days my never ending email inbox most certainly feels like work; I can still classify this as a hobby. I thoroughly enjoy it. It improves my self esteem. I could, potentially, become a faceless post farmer and write for nothing but the cash– but it wouldn’t be anything like this place is. Just to begin with, I wouldn’t have you lot. And I’d be having nowhere near as much fun.
I don’t earn as much off this site as I should, I’ve been told; but I like it that way. I’ve kept my ad space rates low on purpose, because I like having them filled with the businesses of work at home parents and small entrepreneurs, cloth nappy sellers and Etsy stores.
I choose my review posts and giveaways on a case by case basis, and I apply all the following factors to the equation– do I like this product? Do I want this product? How many giveaways do I have scheduled for the next few weeks? Is it a PR company I’ve worked with before or a small business owner doing the grueling email outs themselves? Are they Australian owned, organic or natural or environmentally friendly? Is it some awesome new product that I think is way cool, or I know a lot of people would use? Will my readers get any enjoyment out of this post, or will it just tick the off?
I throw in all those factors, and come out with a price. It’s a sliding scale. The less I want to write or publish it, or the more it will irritate my readers, the more I charge– but having said that, sometimes I charge nothing at all.
Case by case, sliding scale– I think it’s the only way to ensure that the products and brands featured on your blog are consistent with that inner thread of yourself that weaves its way through ever post you publish. The accusations of ‘selling out’ have been floating around for at least two and half years now, since I first got here.
Selling out to what, selling out to who? The only person I’m selling out to is me– and as long as I pay me well… I’m OK with that. We all make our own calls- the only people who have to be OK with them is us.
Coming soon… the post where I didn’t sell out. Stay tuned.