I am a Mumsnet blogger, part of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network.
I have worked on various projects with Mumsnet, including a trip to Kenya to blog about reproductive rights, the miscarriage campaign and the We Believe You rape awareness campaign. I was invited to speak at the Blogfest last year, where I met some of the wonderful women I have ‘known’ online for so long. Mumsnet have been supportive of Jump! Mag and have even promoted my book via their Bookclub.
It is fair to say that I am not an neutral observer, and I make no attempts to appear to be. I have spent hours on the site, chatting with those who have become friends, discussing politics, feminism, childcare and also being very silly and having a good laugh. The site is incredibly diverse, even more so now than when I joined.
“Mumsnet is an internet phenomenon” – The Sunday Telegraph
If you join the network, take the time first to have a look around and see if it is the place for you. If you are offended by swearing, or by strong women presenting their opinion, then you might want to think again.
This inevitably causes conflict on the boards, as the Mumsnetters response to someone advertising their blog is likely to be short and to the point. Perhaps sometimes even rude. I am not defending them, it isn’t nice for bloggers to hear comments like
Blogs are boring
Why would anyone want to blog? Why do bloggers think that strangers would be interested in their lives
Only the most self-absorbed person would want to share their entire life online
Bloggers who share photos of themselves online – well that is their prerogative, but they shouldn’t share pics of their kids. It is an invasion of the kids’ privacy
Please note thought, that although these comments are directed bloggers in general, they are not directed at a specific person. If a blogger takes offence at this, then really she should get out of blogging.
If a Mumsnetter steps over the line and launches a personal attack, then their post may be reported to MumsnetHQ and deleted. Note that MN is not moderated, and the site relies on self-policing.
These threads generally go the same way. Someone posts their blog, MNetters respond – some reasonably, some less reasonably. Often fellow bloggers will jump in – we Mumsnet Bloggers do tend to take note if a thread is posted about a blog, and will defend the reputation of our fellow blogger. Or at least try to explain the differing points of view.
We remind the MNetters that not all blogs are the same, and that there are plenty of interesting blogs. We often compare to magazines. Just because I find the Fly Fishing Monthly boring as sin, doesn’t mean ALL magazines are boring. More and more blogs are becoming proper eZines, and are far from the traditional ‘online diary’ that they once were.
Inevitably, the Blogger will express her distress on Twitter, and her pals will turn up to defend her honour, and the honour of blogging. There follows a long bunfight, with ever more reports and deletions, till MNHQ are reaching for the gin, and we MN Bloggers are left holding the pieces.
We are then caught in the middle between the blogging community, who retreat back to their blogs to write scathing accounts of the hatred and bullying that went on, and the Mumsnetters who crow about seeing off that silly blogger.
Things calm down after a few days, until the next time someone in the press mentions bullying Mumsnet, and all of a sudden the bitter recriminations start again, and another lot of blogs are published, recounting the terrible time that the blogger was bullied on Mumsnet.
I have friends there. Some are now real life friends. And the Mumsnet Twitter crossovers, who keep me amused in 140 characters or lessI have asked and received advice on everything from personal issues, household tips, technical problems, child raising, moving house and much much more.I have taken part in above mentioned campaigns, and helped other women who don’t have a ‘voice’ to find theirs – particularly the We Believe You campaign, where many women told stories of rape and abuse for the first timeI have taken part in the amazing Blogfest last year and saw the immense amount of work and care that went into pulling it offThe amazing women on Mumsnet who will sit till the early hours of the morning, supporting the despairing, the bereaved, the desperateThe Woolly Hugs crew, who started knitting and crocheting to make a blanket for a bereaved Mumsnetter, and forgot to stop. They have now made 250 blankets, which have gone to comfort bereaved families, children with terminal illnesses, and children in Malawi.Mumsnet Classics – where the very best of Mumsnet is saved for eternity. The wit and intelligence of threads such as The White Knuckle Ride of a Thread about PEARL BARLEY, the hilarity of Thickos of Trip Advisor, the eeeeuuuuw factor of Memorable Poos in Inappropriate Places and of course I AM CANADIAN (which despite repeated pleas, has not been moved to Classics). Don’t start reading these threads if you have some place to go in the next four hours. Or in the case of Random Acts of Kindness, without readying a box of Kleenex.
This and so much more is why I am a member of Mumsnet. Yes, they can be very direct. If you ask if you are being unreasonable, you will get a straight answer. If you just want to rant, don’t post on Am I Being Unreasonable. In fact, if you are a bit tender hearted don’t post on AIBU at all till you get used to the site.
Many of the Mumsnet Bloggers started out as Mumsnetters, who became bloggers and when the Blogger Network was formed, joined up. We want to share our blogs on Mumsnet, because we feel part of the community and we wish that our community were more welcoming – or at least less critical – of our work. This blog post is a plea to both sides of the divide, to think before you post.
Together, we would be an incredible force – to help promote womens’ rights, to protect our children, to have a voice. Not a shouty, ranty voice, but a strong and reasonable voice.