Before Social Media Influencers …
… there were mommy bloggers
I first got that dull gong in my gut that signified just how blogging was going to die before Facebook was a household name.
It was about 2007 or 2008 and I’d just started blogging. There was still life in it then. Social wasn’t even on our radars. The community was so wonderful. We read each other’s posts, left thoughtful comments. It feels like 10 million years ago. The internet was inferior graphicswise — think flashing GIFs and frames — and superior socially — think a community-minded space that hadn’t been commodified and turned into the corporate and surveillance hellhole you endure today.
Even before that I got an inkling of what was to come when capitalism saw an opportunity and wormed its way in via that cohort of bloggers, the mommy blogger.
Who could resist all of those free items? What was the problem? Nothing wrong with taking your personal experience as a mother and incorporating freebies for promotion, right? Nothing wrong with commoditising your actual children. I mean, that’s how we live now, right? Everything label-slapped with an external value so that companies producing nappies and teething rings and baby food can leverage in via the warm folksy naturalness that was the land of the mommy blogger. Right?
Well, of course there was everything wrong with that and part of us knows it surely, the part that hasn’t co-opted ourselves into the frenetic destabilising of everything by this horrid, horrible, destructive monster searching endlessly for growth just to stay alive. Just like a cancer.
The kids of the mommy bloggers are growing up now and becoming social media influencers. I envisage them getting two-for-one vajazzling deals with their mothers, laughing at the old-fashioned nature of those blogs their mothers penned, featuring them in various stylised poses, plastering on their smiles as they pose for the latest Instagram round of yoga shots filmed against a Bondi Beach sunrise and wondering when the hell they’re gonna start feeling like they’re living.
Of course we should stop taking notice of social media influencers. They have been bought for yoga pants and nappies and sponsored overseas trips to promote their yoga pants.
We need to up our price. The value of our attention needs to be far higher than a bunch of crap people who like to fake it can sell to us for their own benefit while making us feel bad in the process (all the better to try to get you consuming more to fill the extra gape in the hole created by seeing a perfectly fake stylised life that nevertheless feels real). We are worth far more than that and we have far too much work to do that requires us to be as strong as possible. Not least dismantling a system of profit that, as the saying goes, knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.