17 Oct Martha Stewart is not an Expert on Blogging
Just yesterday Martha Stewart stated during an on camera interview with Bloomberg News that she has “a minor gripe with [social media]” and that “bloggers are not the experts.”
Bloomberg: Is there an argument that social media is in poor taste?
Martha Stewart: Oh I do have a minor gripe about that too because who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue Magazine. I mean there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers uh.. create a kind of um.. um… popularity, but they are not the experts. And we have to understand that.”
In the same interview she says “Twitter is a good business tool” and she uses it for “departing instant news, information… to research…and everything.”
Sounds like Martha is doing the very thing of which she is accusing bloggers of doing- speaking on something she has no authority to do so.
For starters, let’s not categorically refer to bloggers as copy cats who have worked their way up the social media ladder on popularity alone. A blogger gains “popularity” because his or her work has been vetted time and time again by a loyal community of readers and fans who have been following their work, their voice, and their craft(s).
While there are certainly some bloggers who may give the rest of us a bad name (thankfully, I can’t even think of one that I know of), Martha’s statements are “confusing” given how often her company, like many other companies, has sought out bloggers for their ability to influence readers and drive sales or to raise awareness about products or campaigns.
But back to Martha’s statements.
Bloggers can certainly become subject matter experts. For some, that expertise has turned into a real business with real income from a variety of sources such as a line of products, cookbooks, or more. There are experts like Denene Millner who has published 19 books and has the uber popular parenting blog for African-American moms, My Brown Baby. Although she’s never written in Vogue, she’s had her own column in magazines like Essence and Parenting for her expertise in parenting and other matters. Then there’s Ana L. Flores whose award winning blog on raising bilingual children has resulted in a published book. Just yesterday she appeared on the Today Show as an expert guest on the subject of raising bilingual children. There’s also Laura Fuentes Schneller of Momables.com, the expert on preparing healthy school lunches for children.
There are many more I could name but if I tried to even list those that I’m familiar with, this post would go on for pages and pages.
Big hubbub about me not supporting bloggers. Martha Stewart loves most bloggers who are great friends and trusted allies
— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) October 16, 2013
So What is an Expert?
I’m a lawyer by trade so when in doubt, I resort back to my legal education and practice if I need to. But alas, it really doesn’t take a law degree or any degree to know that an expert is not someone with only Ivy League credentials or certificates on their walls. Experts are qualified as such by formal training, an education or by practical experience. Such as curating years of content on a specific topic or topics through the digital space, i.e., blogging.
And like in any industry, there are professional development conferences where bloggers are sought out for their expertise on the well thought, vetted, and researched topics on anything from cooking, crafting, photography, motherhood, business and so much more.
But when you combine many years of experience with a dose of “Therefore, I know it all” you may start to lose your credentials. Whatever they may be. Sort of like what happens to some medical experts whose expertise seems to decline with experience.
Could that be the case for Martha Stewart as well? Perhaps that may explain her steadily declining profit margin and recent layoffs?
I’m really not sure as that’s a subject I’m definitely no expert in. So I won’t speculate.