Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moms vs. Moms

I've been watching women bloggers (some mommybloggers and some not) fight on Twitter and in their blogs over the last few weeks about product reviews* and transparency and advertising and whatnot. I get it. I understand the positions. I'm tired of reading about it. I'm hoping we're about done with the whole topic. Move on.

The thing is, though, there will just be a new topic to fight about a few weeks from now. Another reason for us to decide to rip into each other, get offended and pissed off, write angry posts and fire off insulting Tweets.

Why is it that some women on the internet (and, I know, in real life) just can't get along? Why the constant tearing-down of others? Does it really make you feel that much better about yourself?

I was talking last weekend with a writer who writes for a prominent national political blog and she mentioned that their commenters are often very clique-y and territorial. And I get that. It's politics. Positions, debates and passions are to be expected. Though I would hope that people can choose to argue civilly.

But even that writer - a savvy, sage writer who lived through the very vicious, drawn-out election process last year - acknowledged that she would NEVER touch the three dicey-est subjects on the internet: breastfeeding, vaccines and spanking. Too much heat and venom. This is from a POLITICAL writer whose entire blog is centered around ideological positions and differences!

I told her that the only other internet communities I had ever seen be "clique-y and territorial" were moms forums and mommy blog commenters. Some of the most vicious things I've ever read on the internet were written by mothers, directed at other mothers. Brutal. I don't get it.

There is a local mothers' forum that I find particularly exclusionary. (And I know of several others in which I've never seen anything unkind or hurtful written - so, clearly, some women know how to play nice.) But this one just runs by its own set of unofficial rules - made up by the "regulars". It's kinda like they decide who gets to play and who doesn't.

I watched them gang up on an unsuspecting PR person one day. The PR gal started a thread, looking for "influential" local moms to help with a word-of-mouth/blog campaign for her client. The piranhas attacked immediately with absolute rudeness. How dare she seek out the help of moms for an interesting opportunity on THEIR boards? I understand policing boards for over-marketers but this woman was smacked down in the most disrespectful manner. No moderators to calm anyone down.

So, this post is kinda ramble-y. Sorry.

Am I wrong? Is it just political forums and mom forums? Do other boards get so nasty and personal with one another? I have to admit that I don't have much experience with online forums and boards (although I've dealt with a few rude commenters and emails on other sites).

Is it a mom-thing? What is your experience?

*The argument, in a nutshell, is whether product reviews should be included in personal blogs or in separate blogs - and how to deal with the relationship between blogger and manufacturer/retailer/whatever. Should you disclose that you received the product for free to review it? Should you accept money to write reviews in your blog? Okay, that's not so much a nutshell - but you get the picture. (For the record, I vote for total disclosure, no paid reviews and whether you include reviews in your personal blog or not is up to you and your readers. I don't.)

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