Then there was a particular incident where a ‘Real Mum’ (how self-righteous is that title) decided to have a go at a Mum who had missed a problem her daughter had. Us bloggers tend to cover our embarrassment and shame with humour, and ‘Real Mum’ didn’t understand the psychology of it, so just decided to lay into the Mum. Of course what this does is create a scenario where loads of people come to rescue the ‘victim’ and it all escalates. Included in this conversation was an attack on the ‘new bloggers’, blah blah blah.
It’s a pretty typical Mummy Blogger rant about how some people are better than others etc etc.
Officially a blagger is basically a scrounger. The feeling is that they ask for too much for free, and they are a pain wasting people’s time. There is a sense that they are asking for too much and not giving in return and with no discernment. There is that feeling that they are asking for something that they probably don’t deserve or haven’t earn’t.
So let me set a few things straight.
- We are ALL blaggers somewhere in our lives. If you aren’t blagging on your blog, you are doing it somewhere else, it just might be somewhere more socially acceptable or subtle.
- It’s always wise to aim for a fair deal where anything is concerned, and in this case that the PR, company with a product, blogger and reader wins. It’salways going to catch up with people if they don’t follow this rule, and you don’t have to do anything in order to make sure of it.
- It’s crazy in a recession to be self-righteous about earning money or being valued for your time as an entertainer/writer/blogger. It’s not bad to get something in return as well as the enjoyment of writing.
- You don’t get much unless you ask. Just because you aren’t tweeting, doesn’t mean you aren’t asking. If you are on any kind of blogging list or using any kind of SEO you are basically putting yourself out there to be found.
So I’m going to confess. I’M A BLAGGER.
I’m not of the old school, my blog was started in 2009. So I’m also not of the new school of Mummy blogs. I have some street cred blogging wise, but there are people who get thousands more hits a month than me. But I’ve definitely blagged. There are also times in my life where I didn’t blag.
How can I say that everyone has blagged? Be open minded for a minute and look back over your life. Did you ever blag clothes, food, money or stuff from your parents? Did you ever blag to get a job? Did you ever blag to keep a job? Have you ever asked your kids to do something, go somewhere or get ready for bed/dinner/bathtime without really offering something in return? Have you ever pretended that you were in complete control of the situation with your kids, but weren’t really? Have you ever asked your husband to buy you something that was probably too expensive, but you ‘really needed those shoes/handbag’. Did you ever cover up a haircut? In the case of anonymous bloggers, isn’t there a sense of them pretending to be someone? In fact don’t all of us do that a bit, as most of us have rules about what we don’t blog about. Have you ever pestered someone to get something done, at work or at home? Rather than think that you have never done it, just look for where you did.
Here are some examples from me:
I failed at blagging when it comes to money, rent free living, car etc from my parents, whereas my brothers got all that stuff. But I did come out of it more independent and financially stable, so it worked for me long term.
I totally blagged my first job, it was a recession, I’d just graduated and I phoned up a company for a consultancy job I didn’t have the experience for. Someone told me a week ago that they heard me as a 20yr old saying ‘You’ve got to interview me, because otherwise you’ll miss out on a really hard worker’; what a cheek! I feel that my 13 yrs in IT was a blag. I might have become a ‘global technical specialist’, but it was actually because I did work hard, and not because I was a techie at heart.
As a blogger I blagged the most amazing competition prize from The Wagon company, and in return I got nearly 600 reads of my post, The Wagon company got more hits, more learning about social media and some great contacts, and one of the 126 people who applied for it got £180 worth of Red Radio Flyer. I count it as a blag as I hadn’t done a competition before, and suggested it to the company after they approached me to use a picture of my daughter in our wagon. Plus I was really lucky that I had a relationship with some family festivals who were happy to let me mention it on their walls, so I got lots of mentions.
I don’t do many reviews, normally it’s of stuff I’ve bought already. Mainly because I do them on a whim and can’t be bothered for a few pounds. So I’m not just a blagger, but I’m an expensive disorganised blagger. I can’t really be self-righteous about the fact that I don’t accept many of the offers I get, or that I don’t take free stuff from events, because I’m just a choosey blagger, that’s all. Plus, if I was more organised, I’m sure that I could review products that I need and it would work out for everyone. It’s a bit like the fact that there are people who earn a living from competitions, and one of the reasons is that loads of us don’t enter competitions because we don’t think we will win. They don’t win all of them, but they enter so many that it works out to be viable.
I have just blagged an £89 gorgeous coat for my readers (watch this space, because it’s going to be in a competition in a couple of weeks). To be honest the lovely ‘Best British Bloggers’ offered to connect me, after I cheekily tweeted that I loved Joe Brown’s stuff, and had lost weight and couldn’t afford to buy a new coat, so did anyone know how to contact them. This is still true, however in the rules of wiseness that I mentioned above I’ve now suggested to them that we might all gain more fairly if I do a competition (sob sob, shiver shiver). So they agreed, and have kindly thrown in a consolation prize of a top for me to review. It’s totally a blag according to the rules of the game, because I tweeted the company name and was there anyone who could get me a free coat. No I haven’t done many such tweets, part from a blog post about how much I love IKEA, which didn’t work. However, it was really cheeky considering the price of the coat, and although it will work with one of the themes of my blog, there are people out there with more hits that might work better for the company.
My blagging is going really well because of the MADs win. Someone with three times my readership asked me to write a guest post about being a successful blogger, and I agreed. I decided that if that’s the way people wanted to see it I wasn’t going to argue with them, even though it was really only down to a very beautiful glass ornament. In reality I blagged the glass ornament by asking my readers to vote for me, several times, and maybe a few more times, and did a silly video. Because of the blag that got me a MADS win, I’ve won a Netbook, which I’m seriously considering giving away as a competition prize to my readers because of the wiseness rule I mentioned above and because I’m about to ask for something else from my readers. You see; another blag.
Stop worrying about other people blagging, it’s a waste of energy. It’s a phase, people will grow out of it. Things will change. New ways of blagging/PR requesting/making relationships with companies will come and go. Yes, it puts us into disrepute, but the media will always find a new way to have a go at Mums or bloggers anyway. There will aways be blaggers. We will all blag free stuff somewhere in our lives. Blagging will continue. It has it’s uses. When misused it backfires.
What’s most important is that we are all MUMMY bloggers (i.e. Mums who blog, please don’t get all het up about the fact that you happen to be a Mum and a blogger and that I’m not distinguishing between them). So we are all MUMS. What this world needs is stronger MUMS. It needs MUMS who stand together despite their differences and say that we are a force to be reckoned with. Mums are where everything starts. It’s where the family starts and that’s where society grows from. We are REALLY important.
Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we don’t have much clout out there in society. They don’t value us much, we don’t get the pick of the resources from the governments, and the media totally enjoys taking a hit at us. So what do we do. Do we give other Mums the benefit of the doubt, imagining that we might do the same if we were standing in their shoes? No, we slag each other off. No I don’t imagine that we can stop being judgemental, just maybe that we could stop being judgmental of Mums.
I’m not suggesting we stop disagreeing either. It’s just that there is disagreeing, and there is trying to make sure the other person knows you are right. There is discussion and there is bullying. There is open and interesting exchanging of views and there is ridiculous mud throwing. There is politeness and there is the use of inflammatory words that will piss people off and upset them. There will always be mistakes in communication. The key is to own up when we piss people off and not keep trying to defend out ‘rightness’ in making it look like we were criticising someone. It’s about being secure in the knowledge that we are all different and that is OK.
My final blag is that I’ve written a book. Some people think this is amazing to have been able to write a book. To be honest it feels like another blag to me as it is a Kindle book, and I love to write, infact I’ve got another 10 books sitting in my head. But I know that my intentions are true, even if it is a blag. This blag could help a pile of Mums who are overwhelmed to get less stressed and enjoy being a Mum more. It could bring back the sparkle to their lives. So it’s a blag worth doing. Oh and it’s a blag that will be out next week, and following that on other ebook readers, and then paper back. Oh and it’s a blag that will only cost 99p, so it’s a no brainer as far as far as I reckon it.
So I’m all sorts of things that make people cringe. I’m a Mummy. I’m a Mummy Blogger. I’m a Blagger. I’m judgemental, but I’m trying my hardest to stand in the shoes of other Mums and give them the benefit of the doubt. I make mistakes, but try to own up to them and not get defensive.
You are also all of those things, but are you aware of it? Or are you spending too much time in your neighbours business? Or are you interested in making a change, using your blaggness for good?
I’ve got a plan for 2012. It’s a HUGE blag. It’s to do with getting Mums together, and showing how powerful and important we are. It’s going to encourage Mums to proudly stand together in their differences (not against Dads, or none Mums, just together). I need some fellow blaggers …. let me know if you can blag enough to make a big enough difference. I need blaggers with influence, blaggers with something inspiring to say, and blaggers with connections. I’d like to connect to other blaggers also interested in the same issue too. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, more combine a pile of wheels into a juggernaut for change. I’m not going to explain how/why/what yet, it’s a secret for a little longer, but if you are interested let me know and we can start the ideas growing.