17 Oct

Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years)

I know there’s been a lot of conversation around Martha’s recent “who are these bloggers” comments the past couple days, and – even as someone that’s been blogging for over 7 years – it wasn’t my initial instinct to publicly weigh in, partially because a lot has already been said, but mainly because for some reason I just wasn’t experiencing as strong of a reaction personally as most of the ones I’d seen.

At first I wondered what my deal was – why I wasn’t getting all up in arms like I should be – but after reflecting on the situation for a bit, I figured out the reason why I wasn’t having a strong reaction, and it honestly kind of surprised me! So… I decided to share a few thoughts on the situation after all, in hopes that an alternative perspective might offer some comfort – or at least food for thought – to fellow bloggers that may still be feeling a sting.

The reason I wasn’t all that offended by Martha’s generalized opinion is that… I don’t really care about it all that much. Period.

I have to admit it feels a little weird to say that out loud, and this may not have been the case a few years ago, but it’s true now. And I don’t mean it in the nonchalant “I could care less” attitude sort of way at all. I mean it in the “I sincerely just don’t think her opinion affects my life” sort of way. Here’s why:

1) In regards to the things that I am or am not an “expert” on, I don’t feel any differently today than I did before the comments were made. I still have the same level of confidence in the abilities I do have, and am still well aware of the specific abilities I do not have… those areas have always been pretty easy to figure out on my own. ;)

2) While it’s true that I’m not a “trained expert at Vogue” so to speak – I’ve never pretended to be, not even for a minute, so I really don’t feel like that’s something I need to apologize about.  That’s the beauty of blogging, really… you don’t have to fit in a certain box. You’re free to be you, whether you’re a seasoned pro in your field, just starting out, or somewhere in the middle. Your unique perspective & experiences are actually what will make you resonate with a certain audience – and that audience is the one worth worrying about. The people that are actually reading your blog – the ones that are taking time out of their day to check out what you have to say – those are the people whose opinions about you matter.

3) Blanket “opinion statements” on huge groups of people are just not accurate. Ever. Her statement was just so broad and cast such a wide net that it’s almost hard for me to take it seriously. However, one thing she may have been trying to convey (I think) that I will agree with – is that just starting a blog on a topic doesn’t automatically make you an expert on that topic. Starting a blog is one thing… Maintaining a top quality blog with great content on a consistent basis, and putting in the incredible amount of time and grunt work required to continuously grow and stay relevant in an extremely crowded and ever growing space… well, that’s a whole different thing, my friends – one that’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. And I know quite a few bloggers that can proudly claim expertise in that. ;)

So on the bright side – the silver lining of this whole situation for me – and for all of us at HWTM – is that it made us stop and reflect on whose opinion is TRULY important, and the answer is: our readers. On that note – please let me know what we can do better… we don’t want to be sitting here spinning our wheels round and round; we want to be effective. So, please tell us what you want to see more (or less) of – whether it’s a certain kind of topic or column, more “behind the scenes” posts, being a little more open about the side of party planning that’s not always “cupcakes and confetti” (i.e. the epic fails that don’t make the final “party cut”, the times when centerpieces blow off the tables, etc.) And yes – that last part really happened to me. I’m really feeling like it’s time to freshen up the blog, but want to make sure we focus on what’s relevant to you – so please tell us what you want to see. We are listening. :)

 

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23
Rachele Funk SAYS:

Martha who? She lost her reign a decade ago. I agree. Who cares?!?!?

Reply October 18, 2013 at 8:06 am

24
Kiddy Delight SAYS:

Dear Jennifer, I have not watched the clip but I have to say this. This opened my eyes to who do you see yourself as? You think you are a blogger? No you’re not. You are a solution provider to people like me. Who was made redundant while pregnant and decided to focus on what she really loves to do. Creating beautiful things, parties. How do I get started by reading, checking and focusing on the tons of work people like you put on the internet on a daily basis. You are not a blogger. I recently started a party planning business for children in Aberdeen Scotland. It may seen easy but I can tell you it has not been. But people like you have made it easier for me to start. The ideas I have with your help I am able to bring them to life and create truly unique and beautiful parties for children. Not only that you have brought a lot of other small businesses to limelight. Through the candy table steps you posted about a week or so, I have seen new vendors I can source from. Where would I have seen these businesses if not that you showcased them. I cannot think of a week that I don’t visit your site or blog for unique inspirations and ideas. Thank you for all you do. And please keep at it and stay blessed. If you are not already a christian, I pray the Lord Jesus find you

Reply October 18, 2013 at 8:32 am

25
Kiddy Delight Event & Fun Food Services SAYS:

Dear Jennifer, I have not watched the clip but I have to say this. This opened my eyes to who do you see yourself as? You think you are a blogger? No you're not. You are a solution provider to people like me. Who was made redundant while pregnant and decided to focus on what she really loves to do. Creating beautiful things, parties. How do I get started by reading, checking and focusing on the tons of work people like you put on the internet on a daily basis. You are not a blogger. I recently started a party planning business for children in Aberdeen Scotland. It may seen easy but I can tell you it has not been. But people like you have made it easier for me to start. The ideas I have with your help I am able to bring them to life and create truly unique and beautiful parties for children. Not only that you have brought a lot of other small businesses to limelight. Through the candy table steps you posted about a week or so, I have seen new vendors I can source from. Where would I have seen these businesses if not that you showcased them. I cannot think of a week that I don't visit your site or blog for unique inspirations and ideas. Thank you for all you do. And please keep at it and stay blessed. If you are not already a christian, I pray the Lord Jesus find you

Reply October 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

26
Pinatas Couture SAYS:

When you honestly don't care about something, you ignore it. Who cares what Martha thinks?..Honestly.

Reply October 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm

27
@modpodgerocks SAYS:

Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years) http://t.co/iRrn6eOlCf via @HWTM_Jenn

Reply October 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

28
becksinvinciblesummer SAYS:

You asked what we wanted to see, and this is a thought I have had for a LONG time – I really love HWTM. It’s my ultimate party inspiration blog! That said, sometimes I just feel like I have to roll my eyes at some of the parties posted because really? Yeah, it would be easy to be the “hostess with the mostess” if I was having a baby shower at the Ritz, it was catered by a 5 star restaurant, and I had an army of professional florists, event planners, and staff to do it all for me. Oh, and $20,000 to spend. But for MOST of the people out there, it’s just them and maybe their mom or their best friend trying to pull off a great party without all the professional help. As much as the lavish parties are fun to look at, they make it feel like throwing at great party is out of reach for the average Jane, and that just not true.

The other thing that bugs me a lot is that there is a LOT of emphasis on the material aspects of the party, and very little on anything else. It makes it seem as though what makes a party REALLY great is having a fancy cake table, custom sugar cookies and a plethora of color co-ordinated party printables. While that makes a very impressive LOOKING party, it doesn’t necessarily make a fun or successful party. You can have a very beautiful party that is deadly dull, and that no-one enjoys. I would really love to see more attention paid to making a party successful in more than just the visual aspects. When people leave my parties, I want them to say “wow! that was the best party I’ve ever been to!” Not “wow! That was the most expensive/elaborate party I’ve ever been to!” Tips or posts on guest lists, party activities, menu planning, etc. would be very welcome. That post on how to set up a candy buffet in 6 easy steps? BRILLIANT. More!

Lastly, I know that this blog is trying to present unique parties that are not run of mill, but sometimes the parties featured are just so silly. Yes, I’m super glad you are not featuring parties sponsored by Disney brand paper plates, or Dora the Explorer, or other branded characters (unless the host/ess really makes it unique) but I wish sometimes you had more parties featuring popular themes. Instead of so many “Healthy Yoga 2nd birthday!” or “80’s workout neon 2nd birthday!” (because lots of 2 year olds are SO into that, and not, say, princesses or trains), I really wish I could find more on how to throw a really great pirate party, or Alice in Wonderland tea. If you go over to catchmyparty.com, they rank the top 20 party themes by event type, and those are the types of parties that are most often requested by guests of honor. I guess what I’m saying is, sometimes the party themes featured are nice or interesting to look at, but totally irrelevant to what most people are going to choose. Yes, maybe an event planner has thrown a million fairy princess parties and is SO over it. Maybe they are going to get excited by something like an ombre gingham yoga picnic because they’ve never done it before, but MOST people are not, because they haven’t ever thrown a fairy princess party yet, and they are probably only going to throw one in their lives, ever.

Reply October 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

Lisa Frank SAYS:

Becksinvinciblesummer, your comments made me laugh! Oh yes, an “ombre gingham yoga picnic” party is definitely at the top of my “must see” list now. :) That’s awesome.

I liked your blog post suggestions and, as a new DIY party + craft blogger, I hope you won’t mind if I use some of them for inspiration! Since I love food and recipes almost as much as I love parties, one of my ideas for an ongoing series was to take a popular kids party theme (pirates, mermaids, princess, cars/trucks, etc.) and create menus (with links to recipes) based on that theme. I’ve already posted a round-up of 6 Autumn events/parties with menus to match (apple picking, pumpkin patch, football game/tailgating, harvest dinner, etc.) and people seemed to really like it. I think doing the same thing with ideas for creative food at kids parties would be really fun and helpful for busy parents, especially if the ideas include a mix of homemade and store-bought foods that just need a little creative packaging.

Lisa :)

October 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm

29
@aruffledlife SAYS:

Great post by HWTM: Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. http://t.co/cghgI4yDYq via @hwtm_jenn

Reply October 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

30
Janet Rafferty SAYS:

Well said, by someone with a healthy attitude. I don't understand all the blogger indignation, she's Martha Flippin' Stewart not your BFF. :)

Reply October 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm

31
Tanya @ Greetings From the Asylum SAYS:

Love it!

Reply October 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

32
Valerie Payton White SAYS:

Just shows me who she is…like Oprah says " when people show you who they are listen". She obviously has great PR people who have respected and used bloggers for the companies gain. She would have been smart to use that opportu ith to speak about how wonderful blogging has been for increasing interest in crafts, cooking, decorating etc.

Reply October 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

33
Valerie Payton White SAYS:

To speak with such disrespect and tout Ralph Lauren and Vogue shows me how shallow she really is…but I didn't need the interview to know that.

Reply October 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

34
Rhi SAYS:

This was wonderful. Thank you for your positive attitude!

Reply October 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

35
Eva Scarpenter Raley SAYS:

This woman started the have pride in what you do no matter what. If your a housewife try to be the best why not? If you look at her and all the years she has worked to get to where she is one should be thankful she paved the way. Yes, she makes mistakes, yes she is now very far removed form "normal" people because that is normal, that happens when you move up in the world. Your life your world changes you can not relate to everyone anymore. The more you learn the more you want to learn the better you get at what you do. You become that person one day someone will dislike. That person that will seem to perfect to much of a know it all. She has failed and she has come back, but all of it is a business and no way to go back on that. She will forever be talked about no matter how much good she does. Thin line between love and hate and it get crossed very easily. Good for you, for being you, awesome that at this point in your adventure you only care about what your readers think and say. Hope you can stay that way it will be hard, your readers will change and when they do I hope you can see it or maybe by then you just won't care or they won't either. Evolve and teach women that you can do what you like. Not all bloggers are good at it, some are darn right terrible but somehow they still have a following. Good for them wish them luck and hope they enjoy what they do. I am a Martha fan have been and will continue to be. Unless she does something mean to her Grankids lol, that is my line.

Reply October 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm

36
Marilyn Taleon SAYS:

The saying is "I couldn't care less". If you could care less, well…you must really care. Just FYI.

Reply October 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

37
rona b. SAYS:

So true. Keep up the wonderful work you’re doing here in hwtm, you inspire a lot of people.

Reply October 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm

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