If Bloggers Want to Be Seen as Professionals They Can’t Write Posts Like This

I worked for a blog/social media conference for three years and whenever I saw people calling bloggers unprofessional or making fun of “mom blogger vacations” I’d cringe. If anyone knows how seriously bloggers take what they do, it’s me.

Most of the bloggers I know are professional and take their conferences in the manner in which they’re intended. They use their time away to network, learn and collaborate. However, there are also bloggers who ruin it for everyone else. They have a strong sense of entitlement or have no clue what it means to be professional.  Sometimes through their words and actions they inadvertently become a case study on what not to do.

This morning I received a link via Facebook messaging leading to a blog post at The Martha Project entitled, “So you’re going to be hosting BlogHer at your hotel...”  I thought I was going to be treated to a funny and entertaining post about people tweeting in the lobby and photographing food. Instead, I found a post filled with nothing but entitlement. The blogger, whose name is Jen, posted an open letter to the Sheraton Chicago who will be hosting BlogHer in a few weeks.  She wanted to prepare hotel management for what’s to come.

After explaining what a blogger is, because apparently hotel staff aren’t hip or in touch enough to know, Jen goes on to tell the hotel what to expect if  BlogHer attendees aren’t treated super special.

3) What should I expect from bloggers? You should expect from them as you would any other customer unless you piss them off. Then? Expect your social media to BLOW UP LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. You should warn whoever* runs the twitter and or Facebook page now. Really. And buy them a bottle of vodka for each of the 3 nights that the conference is going to be there. (*feel free to tweet me @thenextmartha to say thanks for the vodka I just got you)

Of all people bloggers especially should know that this is not what social media is or what it should be used for. In essence, Jen is using what I like to refer to as “social media blackmail.”

Do you know what most professionals (and yes, that includes bloggers) do if something isn’t satisfactory? They discreetly take it to the front desk. If that doesn’t work, they discreetly take it to management. However, it’s all handled person to person and not brought out into the general public.

I ask you, if bloggers tweeted all day in a negative fashion about their host hotels, how difficult will it be for blogging conferences to find hotels to hold their conferences in the future? Very difficult. This attitude and entitlement can make things awful for BlogHer moving forward.  If anything, Jen should be buying the vodka for hotel AND BlogHer after putting them all through so much crap.

Listed “under other stuff to know” is this gem:

Swag. What does that mean? It means that there are corporate sponsored parties that donate items to get them into the hands of this shopping powerhouse of the family. How does this affect you? Housekeeping. At the end of last year’s conference my room had ½ a closet stacked 3 feet high with stuff we decided to not pack and bring home. We left a note explaining that we were leaving housekeeping with any of the stuff we left. A lot of this stuff is NOT junk. It simply cannot all be taken. Please come up with a policy for items left behind in the room for housekeeping if you don’t already have one.

Here’s an idea: instead of putting the onus on housekeeping to find a home for your left behind swag, how about you don’t take it all back to your room? I assume you know how much luggage you brought with you. I assume you can eyeball everything you’re carrying back to your room. If it doesn’t fit, don’t bring it upstairs. And if you did bring it upstairs and it’s looking like it won’t fit, bring it to BlogHer’s swag exchange room where you can leave it for someone else or the people at BlogHer will donate it.

Way to get out from under the “swag whore” myth, there.

I once requested late check out from my hotel room after a blogging conference. I left the door of my hotel room open as I worked and the conversations from housekeeping left me furious. Rooms were left in shambles. Room service trays, food spilled all over beds, glasses and booze bottles all over, but what bothered them was the waste.

Bloggers think they’re doing housekeeping a great big favor by leaving all this swag behind, but not everyone wants your left over squeezeballs and shampoo samples. So get over yourself and clean up your own dang mess. And leave a good tip too, because the staff deserves it.

Don’t water down the coffee you serve us. Don’t. We’ll hunt you down and kill you with hashtags. #WheresTheCaffeineSheraton?

Really? You’re going to accuse them before you even get there? And you’re going to create a whole social media campaign to slam the free coffee, coffee that cost a ton for the conference organizers to put out there? If it’s not to your liking find a Starbucks. Chicago is sure to have more than a few within walking distance.

Here’s the thing…

And when it’s over? You can thank me for giving you a heads up.

Or bloggers can thank you for setting them back and proving the myth that they’re entitled, unprofessional, and special.

Bloggers, if you’re going to write posts like this and let others know that you’re special cases deserving of special treatment, and if you’re going to tell brands that if they don’t make you happy you’re going to get all hashtaggy on them, be prepared for the repercussions. Don’t get all outraged when the Wall Street Journal paints you in a less than favorable light or people don’t take you seriously in what you do. If you want people to see you as a professional, act professional. You can’t have it both ways.


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  1. teemorris says:

    This entitlement has always been a problem. I remember back in the days of Podcast & Portable Media Expo in Ontario, California, the complaints of “The swag was better last year…” and this was the event’s second year. In its third (and final) year in Ontario, there were complaints that the hotels were being rude; but I also remember the numerous parties that were nothing short of epic, violating fire codes a-plenty.

    In full disclosure, I remember at the PPME an incident with my beer and the fit I threw on a podcast about the service. However, the Internet didn’t melt down. Why? I was playing it off as a joke. The hotel (a Marriott, I should add) did make it right; however, one of the offenders — a guest from the PPME who ran into my server, sending my beer to the ground — didn’t come up and apologize or even offer a round. He looked at me, said “Sorry, man” and left the bar. Quickly. How’s that for community?

    Many of the pro bloggers out there are people who have never attended a conference in their life, and therefore believe that they could be catered to in every way. What they think is “I’m here at the conference and I’m a rock star” because some of the biggest names in social media have convinced them they are such. You have to earn respect, and once you get it you can’t abuse it. This means knowing the difference between bad service and a hotel that is caught off-guard or overwhelmed by the attendance. This means showing some respect for your hotel staff. (“Please” and “Thank you” can go a long, long way.)

    This kind of change begins with us, but with people who don’t respect good behavior to begin will miss it entirely and continue to act like frat boys on the town.

    What do you think? What needs to happen to change this age of entitlement?

    • Deb Ng says:

      What needs to change the entitlement?

      – More people need to say “this behavior won’t be tolerated.”
      – People need to stop treating bloggers as if they’re the end all be all queens of media.
      – Enough of the swag suites and high end gifts.
      – More people need to say “this behavior won’t be tolerated.”

      • Angele @shoeboxbegone says:

        well said! I love swag as much as the next person, and if I can justify the conference to my (non-social-media-savvy) husband with a year’s worth of common medicines, a few cool new toys etc, then all the better. But swag is not the conference. it’s a bonus. BONUS. It’s privilege not a right. Staying in nice hotels is a privilege not a right. Getting to hob-nob with reps from the greatest brands is a privilege, not a right.
        So like I tell my kids when they misbehave a privilege is earned – if you’re behavior doesn’t warrant all that extra stuff you may just end up with a learning-only conference that cost an arm & a leg and maybe – just maybe – the only swag available will be the mini ketchup bottles in the breakfast room.
        I don’t tolerate rudeness in my household, and won’t tolerate it in the biz world either. Play nice or get out of the sandbox.

  2. Danny Brown says:

    Well said, Deb. I’ve seen this from both sides (as a brand working with bloggers, and as a blogger attending conferences and being appalled at the way my peers treated brands).

    People like Jen do the good bloggers a disservice, and represent all that’s wrong with the ego chamber of social media. You don’t demand respect – you earn it.

  3. Mommy Blogger says:

    If I was going to BlogHer, I’d be horrified that the hotel staff might think everyone was an entitled brat who never stayed in a hotel before.

    Anyone who has been to a conference has seen staff hustle to get meals served, breaks set up, HVAC just right, and AV functioning. A preemptive “thank you” would probably have a more positive affect that her screed.

  4. modsuperstar says:

    Wow, some people need a good slap to bring them back to reality. I hope this blog post serves as such. To the hotel BlogHer is just another conference coming through and they will do their best to accommodate them. Expecting the sun, moon and stars when the conference is probably mostly frugal Mommy bloggers who won’t tip seems pretty ridiculous. Tipping in free crap that wasn’t good enough to carry home is pretty laughable.

  5. Claudia Krusch says:

    I totally agree with you! I was offended by her post and how she portrayed Bloggers, generalizing our attitude based on her perspective.

  6. 1dad1kid says:

    Unbelievable that someone would say these things. Especially in advance of a conference! Good grief.

  7. TalkingIsMyPrimaryFunction says:

    Well done. I’m embarrassed to be a blogger sometimes. And on Jen’s post, her supporters are raising the humor flag. Um, if you have to tell someone it’s humorous, it’s not.

  8. Thank you for your well-written post regarding that post. I was to attend BlogHer this year but had to cancel, but I was going to learn the business of blogging and to meet friends that I’ve made of the last couple of years of blogging. But writing a post that “threatens”/warns the host hotel what bloggers are “like” in the eyes of that blogger – gives us all a bad name. I’ve been blogging as a brand ambassador for 4 different brands since last fall and I think one of the golden rules of being a brand ambassador is not bashing brands on social media!

    Again, well said!

    • Andplusalso…as a mom of two young boys who doesn’t have a ton of “me” time…I take offence that I’m being painted in a group of “bloggers gone wild” because it’s my only vacation of the year. Please. Also if my baby was younger I would be in the breastfeeding group she ‘warned’ the hotel about…it’s a baby eating, how to draw even more negative attention to nursing in public in a negative way.

  9. leighshulman says:

    So basically, you advocate that bloggers act respectfully to others as really any adult should do. Crazy Talk! You’d think it was common sense, but for whatever reason, it’s not.

  10. Josh says:

    I like edgy and I like pushing the envelope but there is a difference between doing it with taste and doing it without.

  11. Week99er says:

    This will be my first Blogher, and it’s close to home so I’m extremely excited. I’m appalled at her post.. Why act so entitled? Why take the swag if you can’t take it home? You don’t need to grab grab grab and then leave it behind. It’s OK to say “no thank you” – I really hope we, as a community can get beyond this..

  12. Katrina says:

    I’m not familiar with themarthaproject.com, but Jen (the author) clearly states in the description of the site “…a lot of sarcasm”. Additionally, comments from some of the regular readers seem to indicate that hers is a tongue-in-cheek statement:

    “I always find it so silly when there is a piece that is obviously sarcasm as this one is, and people start freaking out. I love that they keep telling her to “get over” herself and yet, they are the ones who are highly offended by her highly sarcastic post and should probably take their own advice. This post isn’t setting bloggers back, it is blogging in the way that Jen blogs – with humor and sarcasm and a dose of reality. You can’t deny that some of that is true.”

    So… take a breath and reassess?

    • Deb Ng says:

      I don’t need to breathe or reassess. If there was humor in that post it wasn’t apparent. But that’s not what bothers me.

      See, the problem with posts like these is that they feed into the stereotypes that bloggers (especially mom bloggers) are trying hard to fight. The swag, the entitlement, the partying, the squealing…if bloggers don’t want places like the WSJ writing about these very things, they (the bloggers) need to stop writing about these very things as if they are things, even if they think they’re joking.

      If you have to explain that a post is funny, it’s not funny and the thing about sarcasm is that there’s always an element of truth behind it. There ARE bloggers who go postal on social media. There ARE bloggers who fill closets with swag. There ARE bloggers who will complain about the weak coffee. And if mom bloggers don’t want to be seen as THOSE bloggers they need to stop writing about being those bloggers.

      So no. I’m not taking a deep breath and reassessing because I absolutely stand by everything I wrote.

    • Danny Brown says:

      There are also comments from her regular readers that show she missed the sarcasm and humour front, and came across poorly. When your own readers question your intent, that’s a red flag you’ve missed getting the message across.

    • gjgustav says:

      Sarcasm is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. This is not sarcasm. It doesn’t even meet the definition. You can’t just say a bunch of nonsense and then say “oh, it was sarcasm” and expect everything to wash over.

      • Melinda Piette says:

        I am a supremely snarky person—and frequently my snark does “wash over” just a bit….and I still found her post just unspeakably snotty and entitled. As someone who worked in hospitality for over 20 years, she’s precisely the person who gets their food spat in.

  13. Marc Smith says:

    I have a simple rule I live by when confronted with people – some people are just assholes and an asshole in person tends to be a bigger one online.

  14. Anglo Italian says:

    I cannot believe someone would say such things, I hope stories and behaviors like this won’t ruin the blogging community reputation.

  15. AmyVernon says:

    Well-said, @debng:disqus .

  16. NickCobb says:

    Jen, if you’re reading this, it’s BlogHer, not Blogher … you should know that by your fourth visit. That’s almost as annoying as seeing “expert” WordPress developers refer to it as “WordPress.” Branding, branding, branding, it’s all in the details.

  17. AlexisGrace says:

    I’ve actually not read your blog before or Jen’s (followed a link to this post!). And I have to give your props. While I have my own personal blog, I actually have a day job as head of social media for a hotel company.
    Meaning, I am the type of person that Jen’s post was meant for.
    Let me just say, it made me cringe. This is the type of post that would cause members of my brand to not want to work with bloggers ever again. Seriously, after reading her post I have my fingers crossed no one else in our company’s sales and marketing teams sees the post— I just don’t know how I will defend bloggers if they do! Let alone suggest working with them on future projects….

    • Deb Ng says:

      No one usually reads my stuff, so I didn’t actually expect it to get the airplay it did.

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out with both the Sheraton and BlogHer.

    • Dani Blanchette says:

      As a blogger Alexis, this is not the norm at all! I was recently rather offended when a hotel offered me free ‘extras’ than straight out said, they would really “love it if i’d write a review on TripAdvisor” (sure , not problem)… “a GOOD review” (wait, WHAT?).

      If we feel like you are bribing us, most bloggers (and legit bloggers) will actually feel like I did. We are writing for our readers. If Wifi is free for us, we assume it is free for EVERYONE, and our readers will be pissed if they show up and are told they have to pay (and we will too, because it makes us look like liars).

      Unfortunately, the blogger who wrote this is the kind that gives the rest of us a bad name – one of the “If you don’t give me free extras I will write a bad review”. I am personally embarrassed by these bloggers. I will write an honest review no matter if the service was comped or not. I will always try to find one improvement, and one total gem.

      And you know what, some of the best places i’ve stayed:
      1. they had no idea I was a blogger
      2. something went wrong

      To me, its all about how nice you are to Joe Schmoe, how you work to resolve issues (if they occur).

      Besides, free crap doesn’t pay my bills. I’d rather keep my brand integrity, have my honest reviews seen, and be hired by hotels to do secret/private reviews for internal improvement.

    • Kimberly Morris Gauthier says:

      And this is exactly the damage that I think posts like this can do; it really taught me to think carefully about what I say in print and think about how it not only reflects on me, but others like me.

      This was eye opening. It’s cool to hear a hotel rep speak about their reaction.

  18. Tammi Roy says:

    wow! I didn’t read the post you mentioned, but the quotes say it all. You hit it out of the park with this:

    “They have a strong sense of entitlement or have no clue what it means to be professional. Sometimes through their words and actions they inadvertently become a case study on what not to do.”

  19. Dani says:

    I wrote more blog posts my first year than that woman has written in her entire blogging “career” and she thinks she is entitled to special treatment? She’s been going to BlogHer for years and she has obviously learned very little about managing a brand and working with external constituents.

    I’m cringing.

  20. Bravo!

  21. Kelly Whalen says:

    Amen! Sadly this kind of behavior is one reason I’m not attending BlogHer this year. While I think the majority of bloggers are professional, it was clear to me last year that more and more attendees started blogs just for the freebies and swag. It got to the point where it was hard to have a conversation with sponsors and learn more about their business because of a staggering lack of professionalism. I don’t fault BlogHer it, but wonder if its because I’m more jaded now having a few years under my belt.

  22. rachelsegal says:

    Well said. Her post was cringeworthy, start to finish.

  23. joaneisenstodt says:

    Thank you for this. As a blogger in the meetings/hospitality industry, I thought Jen’s blog was offensive in so many ways. She clearly knows bupkes about hotels, housekeeping, etc. Perhaps at another year’s conference, one of us who does training about meetings should do “Meetings 101″ and a “Hotel 101″ sessions. Perhaps Jen and others should learn more about how this all works. And about the swag .. there are so many ethical implications about giving and taking it. A subject for another time.

  24. KjKarl says:

    As a PR professional, I receive a number or requests for said swag from bloggers which is usually accompanied by how influential and important they are. It only takes a couple of keystrokes to find that most of them have an audience of only two.

  25. Jenn Emerson says:

    Wow. Stunning. Great post, Deb! You said exactly what needed to be said.

  26. Jessica says:

    “Do you know what most professionals (and yes, that includes bloggers) do
    if something isn’t satisfactory? They discreetly take it to the front
    desk. If that doesn’t work, they discreetly take it to management.
    However, it’s all handled person to person and not brought out into the
    general public.”

    This this this!!!

  27. Eartha says:

    Oh my goodness, this is awful! Thank you for sharing…

  28. Adam Finan says:

    What a bitch! ha ha..

  29. Suebob says:

    No, she’s right. These warnings aren’t really tongue-in-cheek, they’re true. A hotel should be careful when 5000 social media types converge, because a small but significant minority will flip out over small things. I remember a blogger blowing up and posting repeatedly about plumbing problems in her room. Saying Jen shouldn’t talk about it doesn’t solve this problem for the hotel.

    The commenters who say that this will make hotels reluctant to do business with bloggers never met a hotel group sales exec who wants to book a conference. Hungry sales execs would probably book a conference with Hitler Youth if there were enough bodies with enough meals catered…(ok, joking. A little)

    And they SHOULD have a policy for housekeeping to be able to take the swag they want instead of consigning it to lost and found for a couple months or whatever their policy is. I imagine they have this policy anyway, because this crap comes up all the time, and not just with bloggers. The swag that looks fun in the conference hall suddenly looks less necessary when you have to pack it.

    • Kimberly Morris Gauthier says:

      Great points. You’re right that hotels should be prepared. At my last blogging conference there was one blogger who had nothing good to say about the conference or the hotel. She was just plain unhappy and very vocal online about it.

      I have a friend in the hotel biz and you nailed the sales execs; this blog post will not deter them.

      And about the unwanted swag – at conferences I’ve gone to there was a table for unwanted swag. It wasn’t necessary to leave it in the closet. I don’t believe it’s the hotel’s responsibility to deal with the stuff left behind, but in all reality, they probably will have to and it’s important to be prepared.

      The post was just a little over the top.

      • corecorina says:

        I had an issue with the Rio in Vegas for NMX 2013… but I didn’t feel the need to preemptively stir the pot before I arrived. A savvy (and classy) social media personality/content producer wouldn’t burn bridges before crossing them; putting your potential future collaborators on warning blast is just short sighted.

    • Deb Ng says:

      Most hotels do have a policy for houskeeping and stuff left behind by the guests. They can’t accept it. So it will all be sent to some lost and found somewhere and go to waste unless the housekeepers want to risk their jobs and sneak the items home. There are no favors being done by leaving swag behind. It creates more work and stress for the people who clean the rooms.

  30. corecorina says:

    Tone is EVERYTHING in communication; particularly perceptual tone in digital environments.

    This blogger strikes a bad note; doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t sing the same song with greater skill and make it much easier to listen to (and appreciate?)

    • Deb Ng says:

      I do agree with that, Corina. I think tone means everything. But, still, I think if mom bloggers don’t want us to see them as party girls or swag whores or entitled, they can’t write that they’re that very thing. Even in jest. Because some of us will take it that way.

      • corecorina says:

        I agree, but I also don’t think this individual necessarily represents a community. I don’t mind someone pointing out some truth to the ugliness, but it could be presented in a much smarter way. Ultimately this person is likely suffering from chronic entitlement and a digitally swollen ego; a real plague these days :)

  31. Kimberly Morris Gauthier says:

    I am completely blown away by the article. When I first read yours, I thought you nailed it, but were a little harsh. She had to be joking. And then I read the original article and although I still think it’s a joke, it’s just shocking.

    As a blogger, I hate the idea that she’s perpetuating this negative stereotype that businesses and brands hold for bloggers. I was even more disturbed by the number of people cheering her on and sharing the post with The Sheraton. Wow!

    • Deb Ng says:

      I really wasn’t trying to be harsh, it’s not my style. I attend a lot of conferences, and I’ve been to BlogHer, Type A and other “mom blogger” conferences. Most attendees are there because they want to network and learn and grow their businesses. However, what they choose to put out there has nothing to do with any of that. They share blog posts talking about the parties and the booze and take pictures of themselves with famous people. So they’re creating their own stereotypes and reputation. When people pick up on it, they get all outraged. I see it all the time.

      Jen’s post was a last straw for me. You can’t have it both ways. Either you want to be a fun little party group or you don’t but don’t get all up in a wad when people pick up on what you yourself put out there.

      The other thing is, I didn’t expect many people to read my post. I hardly post here any more and for me to get this kind of traffic and attention is unheard of and unreal.

      • Kimberly Morris Gauthier says:

        Well, I thought this was an amazing post and I appreciate you sharing it. As I stated above, I wrote my own post in reaction and shared it with my peer group and everyone who wasn’t a blogger took everything written to heart and were highly offended. They felt that it made bloggers look bad.

        I completely get that it’s just a joke, but it really doesn’t read that way if you’re not a blogger or you don’t know this blogger.

        • Deb Ng says:

          Kimberly, thanks for your kind words I’m glad you liked my post and understand the intention. Let’s make no mistake, though. I am a blogger. I blogged since before it was called that and even employed bloggers when I owned my own blog network. (And I paid them a monthly wage, not in page views, thank you very much). This isn’t my first rodeo.

          I worked for a conference for bloggers and attended many conferences for bloggers. I also provide blogger outreach for several brands on a contractual basis. I know everything about bloggers. I’m not the new girl.

          This has nothing to do with how “non-bloggers” see things. This has to do with bloggers not knowing how to filter and present themselves in a professional manner. If a blog post has caused so many people to get all huffy over it, it’s not a simple case of misunderstanding the author. The author didn’t come through on her intended tone and delivery.

          You’re correct in that I don’t know this blogger and if it was humor I totally misread her tone. The thing about humor though – if people have to tell you something is funny it usually isn’t. I like to think I have a good sense of humor and can spot a joke. Nothing in that post made me laugh. Not one thing. If only a few people laughed it’s an in joke for a clique and that’s a whole other can of worms.

          • Kimberly Morris Gauthier says:

            I’m actually thankful for that original post, because it made me rethink my own online behavior. How many times have I taken a gripe to Facebook or Twitter and how did that make me look? Like a professional or like a spoiled brat who wasn’t getting her way.

            I think it’s a great example of what not to do as your title points out.

            I just found it interesting how my friends reacted to her post – they were very very offended, which made me wonder how brands would respond. I get that The Sheraton probably could care less about this one article, but they’re not the only brand out there.

            One person mentioned that we’re making a mountain out of a mole hill; I disagree. I think this is an amazing opportunity to discuss how we want to be perceived by the social media community.

          • mathfour says:

            I actually prefer to share first via twitter – but not in a nasty way. @Aweber knows me best this way. I tweet something like, #ARG I can’t get @Aweber to do X – somebody #help!

            Within an hour or two, bless their hearts, they CALL me! When the problem is fixed, I tweet, #thanks again @Aweber – Joe just called and fixed me all up!

  32. mommycracked says:

    I have never been to BlogHer, but I have read some very telling posts written about this conference since its inception. I truly believe that Jen wasn’t writing this to set any blogger back or make her personal expectations known beforehand. Unfortunately, some of the things she pokes fun at have happened before and are the stuff of “BlogHer legend”. There are bad apples in every profession.

    • Deb Ng says:

      The people who run BlogHer are good people. I know what it’s like to put on a conference. It hard work and it’s expensive and my hat is off to them. BlogHer doesn’t have a problem. However, some of the people who attend BlogHer don’t realize they’re the ones who are tarnishing the conference’s reputation.

      • Mandy says:

        I fully agree. I’m sure it’s quite a feat to pull off a conference of this size and I know from other blog posts that the good at BlogHer definitely outshines the few who make a spectacle of themselves. I, too, think it’s sad that a few misbehave and give other bloggers a bad reputation. I just think Jen was poking fun at the bloggers who think they’re a much bigger deal than they really are. I’m a fan of dry humor, so I suppose this is how I took her post. But yes, to other non-bloggers who might happen upon her post, this might be seen in an entirely different light.

        • Deb Ng says:

          I wish people would stop referencing “non bloggers” as if only people who don’t blog have the right to be outraged by this. Most of the people who are commenting here and elsewhere are bloggers. I’m a very old school blogger. We’re not new at this. To suggest only people who don’t get blogging are the ones who “might” be angry is silly. None of this has anything to do with misunderstanding someone’s sense of humor but it has everything to do with how bloggers present themselves to other people.

          • Mandy says:

            Well, I apologize for my silly opinions here. I was under the assumption that this could be discussed here without feeling like an idiot just because I didn’t take this article the way some people did. I was only stating that to people who don’t blog, they probably don’t get the little bits of humor or inside joking. I didn’t mean that bloggers don’t have the right to be upset by what they’ve read.

          • Deb Ng says:

            Of course you can discuss your opinions, and you’re always welcome here whether we agree or not. And I don’t think your opinion is silly. Because we don’t agree doesn’t mean your opinion doesn’t hold value. I apologize for making you feel like an idiot, that wasn’t my intention.

            I’m not a fan of the “well, I can see where non bloggers could get this wrong” approach as if to suggest their the only people who don’t get the joke. It’s not the non bloggers who are taking issue and not seeing the humor. Many of us have been at this for a long time.

  33. Lisa Cash Hanson says:

    Personally I just do what my mom taught me; I don’t make mountains out of mole hills. The Sheraton is a multi-million perhaps billion dollar business. I’m pretty sure they can handle themselves and don’t need help. Besides that bloggers are as different as our writing.

    Some do insane things and others don’t. I should know I’ve personally been attacked by some :)

    As far as swag and PR it’s never really free. Everyone always expects posts, tweets or other things to get their name out there.
    And I won’t even go into all the PR people who write with “no budget” but they are being paid about 2-5K monthly retainer by clients they are asking bloggers to promote. So we all have our things and I just follow my own path and don’t worry about the rest. The blogger who wrote this is trying to get her name out there- And you helped her do that strange world we live in online.

    • MSC says:

      PR person here, respectfully disagreeing with you. Those retainers that PR people are being paid is their salary. They get paid to do a job — get EARNED media for their client, not paid. The client is well aware that if they wanted to pay for someone to say nice things about their product, they would buy an ad or hire brand ambassadors. Think about it like this: Magazine editors don’t get paid by the PR people that pitch them, they get paid, essentially, by their advertisers.

      I not sure why you put “no budget” in quotes. Are you saying that I should use client retainers to buy ads and pass them off as earned coverage? That is highly unethical and definitely not my job. Please don’t perpetuate the idea that PR people are evil hacks shamelessly trying to con bloggers into “working for free” when you don’t have all the information. You’re making dangerous implications here.

  34. Katie says:

    Oh sheesh. People are crazy. Jen is not one of the entitled bloggers…this post she wrote? Was MOCKING those entitled bloggers. So silly.

    • Jackie says:

      Erm, I don’t think so. But it’s an interesting save if that’s what she’s claiming now.

      • chasing the donkey says:

        I agree Jackie – too many caps in her blog for it to be tongue in cheek if you ask me.

        • Angela Roeder says:

          Too many caps in her blog for it to be tongue in cheek? Wow – I guess I missed the memo on how many caps are allowed. LMAO

    • Deb Ng says:

      @Dressed in the City – Here’s the thing? All those things Jen wrote about – swag, coffee, tweeting? They happen. So whether the blog post was intended to be funny or not is a non-issue. Regardless of the humor, these things happen. Bloggers act in the very manner Jen describes. Does being funny change that? Absolutely not. Tweeting the hotel to make sure they see the post, which really wasn’t very funny, only highlights the immature behavior many bloggers take on during some of these conferences. But this goes way beyond whether or not I took Jen’s post the wrong way.

      The problem is, when someone calls bloggers out on that very behavior they get all in a tizzy because “that’s not who they really are.” But that’s who they portray themselves to be, and this is where I have my problem.

      Whether Jen is joking or not and whether she is entitled or not isn’t the point of my post. My point is that if mom bloggers want to prove they’re professionals and that they’re not at all like what is portrayed in the WSJ article, they simply can’t write posts like Jen’s. They can’t continually highlight these behaviors and then claim to be ever so misunderstood when folks pick up on it.

      People act up at other conferences too. Dentists, doctors, teachers and accountants all get drunk and act out at their parties too, but do you know why no one talks about it? Because they’re not instagramming themselves jumping on beds or taking photographs of all the wonderful swag they received. So if bloggers don’t want us to jump on their ever so funny bits of reality, then they have to stop putting t out there. Otherwise people like me or places like WSJ will pick up on it.

      People don’t see mom bloggers as professional because they don’t paint a professional picture of themselves. That’s my issue.

    • Kimberly Morris Gauthier says:

      Katie – I totally get that, but people who are outside of our blogging world don’t get it. I shared this post with my friends and not one person (except the bloggers) picked up on that this was a tongue ‘n cheek post.

      Although I would never tell someone how to behave on their own blog, I think that this post just gives brands and businesses justification of why they shouldn’t take us seriously.

      That’s just my opinion based on my reaction and how my peer group reacted to this article.

  35. Jackie says:

    Meh. The post just sounded like it was written by somebody who doesn’t get out much.

  36. chasing the donkey says:

    Gah! Another blogger with an air about themselves. She just does not know she STINKS!
    Well written Deb!

  37. Dressed In The City says:

    This is outrageous, talk about a blogger with a huge chip on her shoulder. As a blogger myself, I’m much more interested in creating a positive reputation, I prefer to work WITH brands and creating relationships with people, whether that be with a hotel that hosts an event or the actual brand themselves. Common courtesy + manners, that’s all.

  38. Chris Carter says:

    This breaks my heart and opens my eyes to a side of bloggers I didn’t want to know about. How awful to think that there are writers that leave behind a reputation such as this. Clearly, the honor is taken away in our profession if these things happen at conferences.

  39. SurferWife says:

    This blog post slamming a fellow blogger is hypocritical. Talk about entitlement. Why are YOU entitled to slam someone else’s SENSE OF HUMOR? Have you never heard of a parody? Self-deprecating humor? Deb Ng, you should be ashamed of yourself for being a part of this thought process that it’s ok to tear a fellow blogger’s words to pieces. I bet if you lighten up and laugh a little you would be a happier person. Try it.

    • Deb Ng says:

      I like to think I’m a pretty happy person with a good sense of humor. I tell jokes, people laugh. People tell jokes, I laugh. There are very few awkward silences by folks who don’t get it. I have a good life. I’m not angry. I’m not one of those people folks are afraid to say things around for fear of setting me off. I don’t go off on rages. I can get a joke when a joke is told.

      I very rarely go on rants, especially rants directed at another blogger and it has to be something truly major to set me off.

      But this has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I have the ability to get a joke. By pinning this on my inability to see humor in a blog post you’re glossing over the entire issue here.

      Here’s the point of my post – and it would be the same point whether I got Jen’s humor or not. What Jen said is true. Bloggers do all of those things when they’re at conferences. She knows it. I know it. You know it. We all know it. By highlighting these issues, whether it’s in a joking manner or not, she’s bringing to light certain unprofessional attitudes in our business. This is where the problem starts.

      Bloggers can’t go off in a stew when the WSJ writes about “mommy blogger vacations” when they themselves are highlighting this very behavior – whether it’s told with humor or not.

      Bloggers can’t complain that they’re not taken seriously when people write posts like Jen’s. If bloggers are going to write about watery coffee, or take pictures of themselves partying or Instagramming a roomful of swag, they can’t say to us “but this isn’t really who we are.” People judge by what they see, not by what they don’t see. If this isn’t who you are, show us something different, but don’t get all huffy when people see you as exactly how you present yourself. (I do mean the collective you, here, and not you personally, by the way.)

      That is my point and it has nothing at all to do with whether or not Jen’s post was told with humor.

      • SurferWife says:

        First, I’d like to point out that not all of us claim to be professionals, new friend. Some of us write just because we like to write. Unfortunately, when I saw you openly slam a fellow blogger on your own little piece of the Internet, I lost interest in the point of your post, so no need to try to convince me that you DO have a sense of humor. I would appreciate if you did address one issue for me though. You speak of Jen’s (and other unnamed bloggers) sense of entitlement. Do you agree that you too have an inflated entitlement by writing this post about another blogger in the community? Surely, one must first feel entitled to write about, call out and link to another’s erroneous ways (erroneous in your opinion) before actually doing so, yes?

        • Deb Ng says:

          I guess the difference between us is that I respected Jen enough as a writer to at least take the time to read her post and determine her point, even if I didn’t take out of it what I was supposed to. If you don’t want to take the time to understand my point we really shouldn’t be having a discussion. But I’ll play.

          My post wasn’t about entitlement, it was about perception.

          Do I feel as if I have an “inflated sense of entitlement”? I don’t think so. Entitled means you feel as if you have earned the right to something and that’s not how I feel about writing the post. It’s not the word I’d use.

          What gives anyone the right to any editorial commentary? What gives an individual the right to write a rebuttal to a newspaper? Why is the Huffington Post allowed to do what they do (not that I’m even close to being in their league)?

          I think as bloggers we all are entitled, if we must use that word, to call things as we see them. For example, why are you entitled to come question me here? Probably because when something resonates with us, we talk about it. That’s what I’m doing here on my blog. I’m talking about something that resonated.

          If we see someone doing a disservice or has missed the mark, we have two choices, we can present our side of the issue or we can stay quiet. We are not bloggers because we want to stay silent. We do this because we have something to say and we want our voices to be heard. Mostly my somethings to say are about community management and social media. Yesterday my something to say had to do with perception (not entitlement). I don’t think that makes me entitled anymore than it makes any blogger entitled.

          My goal wasn’t to call out another blogger, my goal was to highlight an important issue.

          Here’s the thing. When you post something on the web, you have to stand by your words. I stand by mine. I don’t think it gives me an “inflated sense of entitlement” but if you see me in that way, I’ll respect the heck out of your opinion.

  40. Mrs. Jenna says:


    • Mrs. Jenna says:

      Also, we’re “profeshionul.” THANKS.

    • Deb Ng says:

      I get that, Mrs. Jenna. Constantly pointing out that I’m missing the humor is glossing over the point. Regardless of whether or not Jen’s post was funny, there’s an important issue here. It’s about perception and thinking about what you put out there.

      • Mrs. Jenna says:

        I think Jen would agree with me that your concern over her “professionalism” is falling on deaf ears. The point of the post wasn’t professionalism. Or to be a scapegoat for your “professional blogging ideals.” It was…to be funny. Comedy. If people read this and thought, “Bloggers that attend conferences must all be assholes!” THEY missed the point. Taking one post from someone’s blog without the context of the voice of the rest of the posts is probably a bad idea.

  41. Maegan E says:

    I have to give my 3 cents. It’s called humor. Anyone who “knows” Jen,
    either online or IRL I think can grasp that she is not 100% serious.
    ALTHOUGH, every single point was legit IMHO. Also, “unprofessional”?
    We are not all pros, nor do we all wish to be. Jen doesn’t pretend to
    be the Head Blogger of The United States of America. She pretends to be
    a Humor Blogger (note: that was humor. Where I said she “pretends”.
    She doesn’t pretend, she is a real humor writer. Get it?). Also, some
    of us suck at grammar…. no body likes the grammar police. Back off on
    the whomever vs whoever thing. #Lame

  42. jess craig says:

    I’m so embarrassed for you. I bet you’re so excited for your OMGPAGEVIEWS. Piggybacking is probably one of the most annoying things in the blogging world. Talk about entitlement. WE ALL MUST HEAR YOUR OPINION BECAUSE YOU’RE SO PROFESSIONAL. Dude, NO1CURR if you think you’re an awesome professional blogger. Blog about something interesting please.

    • Deb Ng says:

      My goal wasn’t for page views or to piggy back. That’s not what I do. Thanks for dropping by.

      • jess craig says:

        Okay, so what was your goal? To shed light on the swagwhore/rude blogger persona? So you’re agreeing with Jen then? It sounds like you’re just embarrassed that someone blogged about the realities of these conferences.

        • Deb Ng says:

          I’m not embarrassed at all.

          My goal was to point out there that it’s all about perception.

          If we don’t want people to see bloggers as swag grubbing, partying, entitled conference goers, we have to stop putting it out there – joking or not. People are watching the hashtags ready to pounce on every little infraction. If we don’t want to be stereotyped we have to think about how we want to be portrayed. We can’t write posts like Jen’s if we don’t want people to take it the wrong way. We can’t leave room for misunderstanding. If bloggers aren’t swag grabbers, don’t pretend to be. If they’re not raiding the mini bar, don’t pretend to be. If you have no intention of playing hashtag roulette with someone’s reputation, don’t pretend to be. If you decide to go that route, don’t get your jeans in a gather because someone called you on it. Pointing that out is my goal.

          After the WSJ article was posted about “Mommy vacations” mom bloggers posted photos of themselves raiding the mini bar, jumping on beds and Instagramming food. It was in humor “Hey WSJ, look at us!” However, very few people highlighted education or valuable networking opportunities. So what did we have to go on? Raiding the mini bar and jumping on beds.

          We judge by what we’re given and if we’re given closets full of swag and weak coffee, that’s what we’re going to judge by. That was the point of my post and whether the original post was intended to be funny or not doesn’t negate any of that. Bloggers can’t complain that the WSJ got it wrong and turn around and say “Better not give us weak coffee” the next week.

          My post is about perception and how bloggers are judged by what they bring to light. Talk about what you want, but don’t get all outraged when someone else paints you in the light you paint yourself.

          • jess craig says:

            “If Bloggers Want to be seen as Professionals They Can’t Write Posts Like This”

            You literally do not know what your argument is.

          • Dawn C. says:

            I think it’s pretty clear what the post is about. What I find amusing is the maturity level of the comments from people in Jen’s camp. I mean, .gifs and shouty caps? Is this middle school? Y’all come over and prove Deb’s point so beautifully.

          • Melissa McCann says:

            My dear. Deb is a professional writer with two books published. She is a well respected social media professional with many accolades behind her. She ran a conference for bloggers and has worked with bloggers for years before that. I’m guessing she knows how to get her point across.

            I agree with Dawn. The quality of writing in the comments has greatly declined and does feel rather high-school cafeteria-ish.

            Is it possible for Next Martha’s followers to get their point across without shouting, cursing and pouting? If these temper tantrums are what we can expect from BlogHer attendees I’m glad I don’t go.

        • DorothyP says:

          You seem a bit deranged. Is the heat getting to you?

  43. jess craig says:

    Why hasn’t it occurred to you that maybe some bloggers don’t care if they look professional or not? You’re acting as if all bloggers want to be perceived in a certain way (business women) but maybe… JUST MAYBE, some don’t care at all. The reality is that you’re not making a difference, not in the least bit (SO MUCH PIGGYBACKING). In fact, you’re a hypocrite even attempting to write a post like this because you’re wearing your sense of entitlement all over your sleeve while pointing the finger at Jen. Who are you to say how people should act? If you’re a professional and think that other bloggers are not, maybe you should get a new line of (unsuccessful) work?

    • Deb Ng says:

      I have a great job, thanks, and I do quite well. I also know that there are all kind of bloggers and some are hobbyists and some are professionals.

      For the record, I’m not telling anyone how to behave. I’m not telling anyone what to blog or how to blog. All I’m saying is, if you’re going to put this stuff out there, be prepared for others to judge you (by what you’re putting out there). That’s all. Folks can say or do what they want. But when people lump BlogHer attendees in as a particular stereotype, you can’t come back and say, “You’re getting it all wrong.” We’re not getting it wrong because that’s what you gave us.

    • Dawn C. says:

      Oh no you didn’t just come here and tell Deb Ng she needed a new line of work. Maybe you should do some research before telling someone she’s unsuccessful.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

  44. Blogger in a Bubble says:

    All of this? Both posts? Is why I no longer attend blogging conferences.

  45. This was a really great post. I personally think all these ‘conferences’ are a joke and I would never go to one and the reason being is pretty much from the picturesi see and what I hear. It sounds like some hillbilly convention.

  46. Debbie Anderson says:

    I think posts need to be “judged” given a whole lot of context. For example, who is the author? Is he or she known for a particular thing (humor? business? writing?)? What is his or her history of subject matter and writing approach? Everyone is absolutely entitled to write from the heart, head or funny bone on their own blogs, and the rest of us can hope that the REST of us will take the post in the spirit of context.

    Deb, if you want to take Jen’s post seriously, then I personally believe you missed the context. But hey, this is your blog and you can be serious about something funny if you want.

    In all truth, I wonder about the impetus for such a strong reaction. I get your points from an academic point of view – like if Jen’s post were meant as serious advice, but for writing clearly meant as humor, I find this discussion out of context.

    But hey! I’m just an unprofessional blogger.

  47. Shannon Bradley-Colleary says:

    It seems you may not understand .. what is it? .. oh yes, humor.

  48. Jessica Bern says:

    As a professional writer, I would think you’d have done your due diligence and found out more about the author of this piece before you put your fingers to your keyboard. Had you done so and taken the time to read more of Jen’s posts, tweets, etc, it would have given you a big clue as to her writing style which is undeniably, humorous through and through.

    Also, as a professional writer, I would think that you would have, at the very least, acknowledged the truths in this piece which I myself have witnessed first hand.

    Finally, being you are a professional writer, I also found it interesting that you didn’t acknowledge in any way the part where Jen asks and answers the following question:

    Why should I care about these bloggers? You don’t have to but I can guarantee that they will be one of the most diverse groups of women that you’ve ever hosted. If you just take a moment to talk to them you might find yourself inspired, in awe, laughing, and better just for meeting them. You’ll meet writers who talk about humor, loss, love, family, crafting, food, technology, politics, their spanx and their lady parts. —-


    Perhaps because it fails to back up your argument? Because it clearly indicates that this piece was written tongue-in-cheek and not as a threat or from a place of entitlement as you seem to have deemed it so?

    I make my living from my humor. I make jokes people really do laugh at and I’d be happy to show you the paychecks I’ve gotten in return for sharing my “funny”. This would make me a “professional” would you not agree? Great, so then trust me when I say that in my professional opinion you need to lighten up lady and please stop calling yourself a professional until you actually behave like one.

  49. OBVAVirtualAssistant says:

    Blogging is a tough job, and all who are not serious are just wasting their time and others also as they can never give quality blogs. Thanks for this share.

  50. Momekh says:

    Why I came to your blog after such a long time: I had bought your book “Community Management for Dummies”… tried chatting up with you on G+ regarding that. No cookie. Fair enough. People are busy. But then I saw an old post on ProBlogger… and wondered, “yeah I wonder how Deb’s doing”.

    I think this is the second time in the last 1 or 1.5 years I’m here. I’ve never ever heard of the blogger in question (The Martha Project).

    But, seriously?
    That’s your complaint? The word “sarcasm” is in the HEADER of that site!!
    That deserved a post on YOUR blog, instead of maybe a comment on HER blog?

    Why not make a policy, “I will only write about the good?”

    either way, you have way more potential than writing stuff like this. I wish you the best.

    I hope that this comment gets liked by others who agree with having a POSITIVE outlook in one’s expression, and people follow through to my blog and I get a book deal. And a jet. Wait what?

    • Deb Ng says:

      I just received notification for this comment today.

      I am rarely on Google+ so I apologize you didn’t find me engaging there, I’m on Twitter more – @debng:disqus and would love to chat with you.

      I try to keep positive and only write about the good but every so often something sticks in my craw and I like to bring it to light. The Martha post was one such item.

      Hope you have a great day.