Giveaways and Reviews

Background Noise

This week, I attended the P&G Mom blogger event in Toronto – an event hosted by the PR firm that represents Proctor & Gamble in Canada and Proctor & Gamble representatives themselves were in attendance.  Bloggers that were invited to attend were unsure of what would be asked of them at the event, or after the event for that matter.  For many of the 40 or so bloggers that attended, this was their first sponsored-trip which of course brings with it lots of excitement, anxiety and hey, let’s face it, clout among friends, families and readers.

It was wonderful to read all the excited tweets using the #PGmom hashtag leading up to the event and as the bloggers arrived at the hotel for the event.

Unfortunately, some in the social media sphere used the hashtag to voice their own views, opinions, and snark about the company and the bloggers attending the event.  Sure, Proctor & Gamble, like many huge corporations, have had their share of controversy, haters, and drama.  I knew that going to the event, and I also had some questions about specific products that I was hoping to get answers to.

Asking questions is great – it’s when you don’t want to hear the answers to these questions that it becomes ridiculous.  Some of the same people peacocking on Twitter sharing their opinions on P&G, showcasing why they are obviously such a better mother than the rest of us, had the same attitude and Twitter-licious fun with me when I was part of the McDonald’s program last year.  My GOD – Proctor & Gamble AND McDonalds!!  Pretty sure I won’t be receiving any Christmas cards from those Tweeps.

Reading the snark this week on Twitter really ticked me off.  Not so much for me (because I’ve become an old hat at it in the past year) but for the many excited, mindful and hard-working mom bloggers that attended this event with the best of intentions and eagerness to work with a national brand.

“I hope these mom bloggers enjoy working for free toothpaste” was one comment made online.

You know what?  Screw you.

Screw you and your self-righteous “I’m so much better than you” attitude.  If a mom blogger wants to go to an event – let her.  If she wants to listen to a brand, ask questions, and decide how she wants to bring the message to her audience, let her.

My blog is MINE.

It seems to me that the attention paid to the mom bloggers this week shows me that those with an ax to grind are quite irritated that 40+ mom bloggers (both big and small) may spread a message about a company they use everyday that these people don’t want to hear.

Good.

If you like a brand, use a brand, and want to share that message with your readers, do it!

Should bloggers be compensated with more than “toothpaste”?  That’s up to each blogger to decide for herself.

Intimidation and snarky commentary on Twitter gets us nowhere.  If anything, it shows media that the mom-blogosphere is full of the same snark, bitterness and yes bullying that exists in high school (so thanks for that.)

P&G Moms: congratulations on attending a pretty cool event, whether this was your first or your fifteenth.  Take what you learned, take the swag, and decide what you’re going to do next.  Ignore those who had no interest in you until 10 minutes ago when they discovered you were involved with a brand they don’t like.

Or ignore me.

After all, your blog is YOURS and your voice is YOURS.

The rest is just background noise.

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  • Right on! Great post and way to stand up for yourself and other mom bloggers whom are empowering and educating themselves as they see fit! If we collectively put all of our energy towards doing good instead of putting others down the world would be a better place. Hiding behind free speech and the internet anonymity to be hateful and disrespectful is terrible. Water off a ducks back, keep smiling 😉

  • Ah-freakin’-men.

    “They” will say that their questions/comments are respectful and not rude and blah blah blah but the snark is there and there’s no need for it no matter what you believe in. Makes me wonder if these women would have the gull to talk in the “tone” that they do in real life as they do on twitter.

  • Bravo Tenille. As I tweeted yesterday I wouldn’t blog about a product that I wouldn’t have in my home. I welcome anyone to take a shopping trip with me or spend a day in my home seeing what I have on hand. You will find many P&G products and some that I just don’t like for me or my family, and that’s OK. I have always felt that we need to focus less on bashing/complaining about others and more about what we can do to improve in our own lives, and be happy in the moment. I don’t claim to be “green”. I do try, but sometimes I like Febreeze. Why do we feel the need to tear people down. It’s the same with the breast vs bottle, cloth vs disposables, etc. I say do what works for you and your family. I used cloth and Pampers and I breastfed, but I also relied on formula sometimes. Stuff like this just makes me think that some people are Drama mongers.

    • I’m used to getting emails about things I put on my blog. Readers and other bloggers like to think they have a say in what I should accept or not. Julia you’re right – at the end of the day it comes down to you and your family. If someone came to my house they’d see exactly what I “preach” on my blog – balance and a mix of a lot of different brands and handmade products. I never claimed to be a crunchy granola au natural mama…just trying to find the balance of green and modern. Yes, I have P&G products in my house.

      My name is Amanda aka Natural Mommie and I use Covergirl brow & eyemakers pencils. *gasp!*

  • Well said. It seems everyone just wants to use social media to “voice their opinion” these days. And most times, it’s not really in a very kind or charitable manner……

  • Bravo.

    I was not one of the PGmoms but I was following along on the hastag. Moms (in social media and in real life) need to stop bashing each other and be supportive of one another. We are all just doing the best we can for OUR OWN families.

    If someone has a problem with a brand then deal with the brand – not the moms who are doing what they feel is right for them and their families.

    As women who are active in blogging/ social media, let’s start a movement to bring back respect and common courtesy to fellow human beings.

  • I am very proud to represent P & G, and I’m happy to speak of any products which I use and love. I welcome differing opinions, if they are done respectfully. Well said!

  • I did use the # to tweet @mommygearest but it was not in a rude way at all. I asked her to ask P&G a question. Andrea and I had a nice conversation yesterday and today actually. 🙂 🙂 Do I like P&G? nope. But that is my opinion. What you do with your blog, and what you decide to attend is your decision, not mine. You are right. And I most definitely do not think I am better than anyone that attended by any means. Many of the women that did in fact attend, I know personally and most know how I feel about certain products, the environment and such! I don’t need to tweet in their face. I can’t speak for the others, but when I did tweet with Andrea, I wasn’t directing anything towards the bloggers, it was directed at the company. I can most definitely see your view point and understand where you are coming from. I think the many bloggers that tweeted were just trying to educate. Sometimes things get misconstrued on twitter.

    • We did have a lovely conversation. 🙂

      Did you know that I’d written that question down weeks ago, along with at least half a dozen others (some that I didn’t get to because of time limitations)? I’d already asked it before I saw your tweet and I was so glad to hear that the ingredient is long gone.

      I figure that if P&G invited me to attend, they must have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things I’ve written about. If they’re open-minded enough to have me there, I can be open-minded enough to hear what they have to say. Not just yesterday, but in the conversations that we’ll have as part of the P&G Mom relationship.

  • Of course we can all blog about whatever we want.

    But when there’s no room in this space to question how we intereact with brands and companies, particularly multi-billion dollar companies known for their toxicity? Then that is bullshit.

    I would never have called you a name for participating in this program. I am honestly shocked that all of you with the ‘amens’ think it’s okay to call people who use critical thinking and question companies and their blogger outreach ‘jerks’.

    Whatever. I’m going to own it now. Thanks for the new identity.

  • I thought about staying out of this because I have enough real life drama that the thought of it online makes me ill, but here goes. Some of the bloggers who attended are my friends and to see the tweets pissed me off. I know those women didn’t go to hock toothpaste for a brand, and neither are they stupid.

    Not everyone can be a babywearing, breastfeeding, homeschooling, from scratch cooking mom nor can they only purchase products that are produced ethically, sustainably, organic, fair trade, blah blah blah. There is no medal at the end of the day if you do, and it makes nobody better than anyone else. EVERY company has a dark side. People do the best they can and as was so well said above, it’s their blog. Their family. Their dollars. Everyone needs to decide what they can live with, and what they can’t. Their choices don’t make them bad people, it makes them human. I personally bought a container of Tide Free today, because it’s the only laundry detergent my family likes. We use Crest toothpaste, Charmin toilet paper, and I swear by Pantene shampoo. What can I say? I like the products. Would I blog about those ones? Yes.

    Companies will always find someone to shill their products, be it a Mom blogger or not. What I value is honesty. If someone loves P&G, great. Own it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. But lets not make people feel that if they even just attend an event to learn about the company, the blogging community will then label them as unethical and a product whore. Nobody knows the motivations of the ladies who attended, except the ladies themselves.

    If one is passionate about what they feel is something bad about the company, by all means share it. But when people become afraid to even attend those events because of the backlash even when they want to, it becomes more about being afraid of the judgment of people on the Internet, not about the actual issues with the company-so instead of being about educating, it becomes more about intimidating people. Huh. Is that the message, then?

    I have no desire to fight with people online but I can tell you that if I had gone and some of that had been directed at me, my response would’ve been two words, which I rarely use, in response. And it wouldn’t have been ‘screw you’.

    • As a homebirthing, breastfeeding, babywearing and homeschooling mother, (kids are now 7 and 12) I wanted to say, that I am not one to be holier than thou about mothering, and I am in the middle on this taking neither side. I’m just s struggling to pair socks and keep the plants alive over here.

      So, Please do not paint “them all” with the same brush 😉

      I think both sides are raising very good valid points, and getting info on companies and their practices ad products is good. We do however have to always remember that there are two sides to every story and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

      which is what I think everyone on both sides of this is upset about. it is hard to read context in the written word. it can be taken either way, and if you are like me, a person who is jaded from life, I tend to read everything with a slightly negative filter on the same words, a very optimistic person would take as positive.

      i see it all as a large amount of miscommunication between sets of moms who happen to be passionate about certain things. That they used a relevant hashtag to raise awareness on the exact thing they were trying to question should not be such a big deal, in my opinion. if they had not raised the questions, I’d have known nothing of the whole situation, until I started to search the hashtag and see what was going on. or that there even WAS a hastag.

      The name calling is a big deal when we are constantly trying to teach our kids that bullying and being rude is not ok. healthy debate is never a bad thing. haivng been online for over 14 years now, I have seen my fair share of healthy debate, mud linging, outright bullying, bashing and hate campaigns….i’m so over the drama, it tires out my brain.

      Me.. I’m passionate about ADHD and learning disabilities, mothering my two kids and enjoying what I can in life, since we struggle so hard day to day.

      I am by far crunchy, i can’t afford to be, and if I could, would I be? NOPE. So, I look forward to reading about what the PGmoms have to say about products ( not that I can afford them anyway.)

      Being a mother of two special needs kids who is on a very low disability income,who has to go to a food bank once a month AND bakes from scratch to make the food stretch far enough to keep my kids from being hungry…..I use a lot of boxed and canned foods, and products that would make my crunchiest vegan friends cringe.They do not judge. I eat meat, and *GASP* hotdogs.. ( anyone want my AMAZING corndog muffin recipe to replace how expensive pogo’s are??)

      We are all unique in our own ways, and we are all just trying to do what we can to raise happy and healthy children who will one day be caring for US when we age. we all differ on where we stand with that view of what is happy and healthy, depending on where we are in life. ME, i’m not worried about possible hormones in my food, because I HAVE FOOD. when I can afford more expensive food, or be able to be more choosy, maybe I will be. but trying to raise a family of 4 on less than $28,000 a year is HARD work. ( which BTW is one of the main reasons I clot diapered, and breastfed and homeschool..because it is CHEAPER!)

      Maybe I’m raising your future son or daughter in law…..I believe we ( the grander we) can all be passionate about our beliefs, and even question each other beliefs without needing to sling each other in the mud. Life is hard enough as it is to be fighting about it with those who could be our allies and backup in the world of motherhood.

      Raising awareness ( in either direction) is a good thing, cause when we know better we do better.

  • Well said.
    I’m all for people having their own opinions – everyone is different, and everyone should be able to say what they want to about products, brands that they feel strongly about (in either direction). BUT USE YOUR OWN DAMN HASHTAG!

  • While I’d love all the mean-girl stuff to end, it won’t. Not today, not with #PGmom. I see it over and over from the same people on Twitter – the almighty accusation. That TONE. I don’t understand the motivation to try and make others feel small. What gets me is that if any of the “haters” took a moment to read some of our posts, and instead take 140 characters to – nicely – ask WHY we attended or what we were hoping to get out of the experience, they would still be able to make their points. But maybe there’d be no name-calling. Maybe there’d be a two-way conversation.

    I replied to a post today on @phdinparenting’s site about “Mompaganda”, using the P&G Mom program as part of my argument. I thought the event was very good. Despite missing a Q&A period after the first presentation, the rest all had Q&As, and I found it easy to ask my questions during the smaller breakout sessions. I work in PR – I’ve written key messages for a decade (and thankfully I’ve never had to compromise my sense of self at my “real” job, either). It’s very hard to “spin” me, and I didn’t feel spun when I asked pointed questions – not once. I got some pretty frank answers, and was even impressed by a number of things – not least of which was dispelling the urban myth about dioxin in Pampers diapers.

    Do I think they can do more? Sure. And I hope those of us who CHOOSE to put suggestions forward as part of this process are met with a listening ear. But for those who CHOOSE not to, let them be.

    • Thanks Andrea! Just wanted to note I took out the link to her site in your post. I’m sure she gets plenty of her own traffic and my blog certainly isn’t going to be a source of it. People are welcome to research the post on their own though. 😉

  • I have to say that I am against many P&G products for health reasons (One of their products severely hurt my son). BUT, I love this post. Even though I don’t use their products, your post puts it just right. Anytime someone doesn’t like something I post or talk about, I just tell myself – It’s my blog and I can do what I want with it. Love your post and congrats on attending a bloggy conference! Very happy you got that opportunity!

  • Kudos for writing this post. I am SO TIRED of hearing about people attacking bloggers for attending events or being involved with brands that they don’t approve of. There is room enough in this world for everyone to have their own opinion!

  • I happily wasn’t privy to the conversations had but am trying to catch up a little this morning. Can I suggest there be a balance that we should all be seeking? I believe every woman should be able to take on opportunities as they see fit – after all, lots of companies (possibly most) have issues or are going to be troublesome for some. However, the key thing I think we all need to appreciate is that we need to do our background research, and be prepared to stand by our decisions to work with the companies we do. I am troubled that you say many of those attending did not know what to expect during or even after the event. That’s a massive problem because if that’s true, the attendees are therefore unprepared, and I’m sorry, but it’s also unprofessional. They are also then in a position to be asked to do things they may be uncomfortable with, and where does that leave them? Being a mom who blogs and has promotional and other relationships with brands does not suddenly bless them with teflon-like super powers to be above questioning by others. In fact, in social media that’s the difference between broadcast advertising and real engagement. Just my 2c.

  • I am so far removed from this but have watched it all unfold.

    You are super right, on one hand, each Mom and Blogger is allowed to choose what they will and won’t participate in. No one should feel bullied for those choices.

    On the other hand, becoming an ambassador for a brand means that you have to accept that questions could be asked. It is great that the #PGMoms were allowed to ask questions at the event because as bloggers they will likely get the same questions. And asking questions, even if they reflect negatively on the brand, is not bullying.

    And for that matter, by starting a hashtag on Twitter, brands and Tweeps need to understand that they are opening it up to ANYONE who wants to join the conversation. That isn’t hijacking. That is social media.

    • Are there brands that WOULDN’T allow people to ask questions? That wouldn’t be a brand bloggers would be lining up to work for. I’m honestly thrilled to have been chosen and I realize that comes with the price of having some backlash, but perhaps before people start ripping us apart for taking the ambassadorship, they could treat us the way they wan’t to be treated. Pretty sure no one works for just toothpaste and if we did, who cares, it’s up to the individual blogger.

      • I don’t mean that brands aren’t open to questions, just that from reading what PGMoms have said, there seemed to be a question period, which is awesome. Not only are they open to questions but they are encouraging them. That was my point.

        My other point on the questions was that a blogger choosing to be an ambassador has to know that as the face of a product/brand, they will also be getting questions/criticism about that brand. Comes with the territory. Sorry. But like you and I both said, it is up the individual blogger to chose whether or not they want to support that brand. If they feel like they want to support it, then the questions shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Thanks for speaking up about this. I’m a P&G Mom and this was my first sponsored event. I resented the comment about working for toothpaste. How does anyone not in this group know what kind of compensation we are getting? I agree with some of what was said above in the comments, I have no problem with people who disagree with certain companies or lifestyles and they have every right to share their thoughts with the world, BUT on their own blogs and not hijaking our hashtag. How would they like it if I started tweeting on a #natural hashtag or somethign like that horrible things about how they choose to live? What bothered me more than the ones that were anti-P&G were the ones that sounded like a wounded puppy whining about not being chosen to be a P&Gmom. We can’t all be picked for everything.

  • I enjoyed this post, even though I did RT one of the questions directed to the P&G moms using the #. And I think the Momganda post over on @phdinparenting is extremely thought-provoking and well-researched. Now, after reading this post, I feel bad …. I didn’t mean to come off as “self-righteous” but I probably did. Please accept my apology to you and all of the other P&G moms.

    I agree that “bashing” people is just not cool. But, like Laura at Mommy Miracles noted, asking questions is not bullying. And using a public hashtag is just social media. It doesn’t “belong” to anyone. I suppose it’s all in the way that it’s done.

    I’m not perfect (of course! not one is) but I like the questions being raised and all of the blog posts sharing different perspectives because blogging is such a new arena and moms are a really hot market for brands.

  • at BlissDom Canada the lovely Bonnie Stewart spoke about The World’s Biggest Small Town – aka the internet. Her whole talk was amazing and inspiring and addresses this very topic (not specifically of course) – she has written a post about her talk here- http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2012/10/23/the-worlds-biggest-small-town-or-be-the-twit-you-want-to-see-in-the-world/ – but here is a quote:

    “Connections matter. As humans, we need them. And we are making and modelling them every time we talk to each other online. We are shaping the norms and etiquettes of these online environments with our own traces and approaches. And when we treat each other as if there are no bodies on the other side of the screen – as if what we say online doesn’t have real, human effects and consequences – we contribute to making our small town less.”

    I think essentially what people are saying here is that they felt like the criticisms of P&G were being said as though there were no bodies on the other side of the screen and that hurt. It is not the fact that P& G was criticized and questioned- I think we all agree that everyone is not only entitled, but encouraged, to have their own opinions and beliefs and to OWN them. It is how we pass those beliefs on to each other that makes the difference. That of course goes both ways. We all need to remember that there is a real person on the other side of the screen and that real person is NOT all bad- even if they have supported / tweeted / written something that we passionately disagree with. 🙂

  • I couldn’t agree more. I hate when others judge us bloggers because of the brands we choose to work with. Why do my values/opinions always have to line up with everyone else’s? It’s just ludicrous. Very well said, Tenille.

  • Very well stated! I agree with you completely. The judgement for working with brands really needs to stop. It’s not healthy in the the blogosphere and just creates divisiveness. We look like a bunch of harpies with nothing better to do than complain about toothpaste.

  • What most people choose not to understand, is that blogging the right way, takes an enormous amount of work. It’s no ones business who a professional blogger chooses to promote on her own blog. Excuse my language, but the twatty moms who judge others as you have stated above, have no business representing ANY organization with attitudes like that.

    To each her own.

    And for the record, I’d take toothpaste ANY freaking day!

  • Great great post! If they want to have a blog hating on P&G those people are more then able to do that. But I bet they don’t. So they will just troll other people.

    Congrats to the P&G Moms in Canada! I bet it was an awesome trip! 🙂

  • I just hate the insinuation that we don’t have questions of our own, or that we will just blindly move forward without asking our own questions. If I choose to work with a brand that others wouldn’t…it’s most likely because I don’t share their views, not because I don’t understand them.

  • No offense, but you are acting like a child – just like they are. If you want to be better than them, then don’t let them get to you.

    • I disagree. Standing up for mom bloggers who had their intelligence, values, and motives questioned on Twitter in a hashtag that was meant to unite us at an event is not being childish. Reminding mom bloggers that they shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty from their choices in who they work with on their own blog is not childish.

      Calling someone a jerk? Maybe. But I call it like I see it.

      • I’m flashing my I heart Tenille sign at the moment. I have to disagree that Tenille is probably being the opposite of childish. Sticking up for other bloggers who felt bullied that we can’t make decisions on our own and that we can’t ask questions and decide which brand to work with (we as a collaborative we). At least that’s how I’m raising my own daughters- care about the people around you, and stand up for yourself.

        • wait. Apparently I forgot how to use a comma. “I have to disagree, Tenille is being the opposite of childish” my own CHILDREN were asking me a question so I typed half of what I was saying to them. :p

  • I have never seen it as bad as when I went to the #NestleFamily event. I was called baby murderer and so many horrible things and when I asked questions and Nestle gave answers but apparently the answers Nestle gave weren’t true??

    I get so tired of people like that. Find something better to do with their time is what they need.

  • As a blogger that represents brands AND makes 100K a year at home, I resent the “free toothpaste” comment. Sounds like a bunch of 3 year olds fighting over who got invited to the birthday party. Any professional blogger would know that any professional blogger in attendance would ask the right questions and not be spoon fed, and THEN make up their own minds. This is the kind of petty discussion that went on during the presidential election. Sitting behind a computer and throwing an insult is too easy nowadays. It would be far too mature for someone to actually ask questions or better yet, ask to attend to ask them and report.

    I am sorry you had to experience it, Tenille, as you are a fantastic person, blogger, and brand representative.

    Trisha

  • I have no problem with people who don’t like the brand that I am representing, but mudslinging is an entirely different story. We can disagree with what products we want in our households, but calling people bad mothers is being a bully. Be respectful about your opinions. I teach my classroom of 27 first graders that manners can get you so far these days. That applies to adults too!

    • Hi Kathy – I just went back through the hashtag stream and I didn’t see anyone getting called a bad mother. I didn’t see any name calling at all actually (except for the “jerk”) reference. What am I missing here?

      • On a personal level I couldn’t care less what laundry soap you use or whether you eat at McDonald’s or not. But when you choose to work for a company, regardless how/if/how much you’re paid for that work, then you have to realize that means more than just tweeting out positive statements with a hashtag. If you’re representing a company on a public platform, discussion goes both ways. Looking back through the hashtag, I also didn’t see any accusations of bad mothering or other personal attacks. I suspect many of the brand ambassadors were not properly prepared for questions and took them as personal attacks. However if you’re going to take a job promoting products, that is part of the work IMO.

  • I don’t know what happened with the whole P&G thing nor do I care…Both sides have a valid argument…and I agree on many levels with both sides..

    I LUV the you OWN what you do..and there is absolutely no justification needed..like you said..it’s Yours..as their blogs are theirs..

    All Hashtags are Social…hence Social Media..

    And if you are going to get behind anything or anyone on Social media you need to put your Big Girl Panties on and make damn sure your Owning it…because no matter what brand, person, event or type of coffee you drink…There will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t like it…

    Cheers to Owning what you do…

    • Thanks Dee – you definitely own it so I completely respect your point and direction here. xo