Friday, September 22, 2006

Wrapped Up Like A Dooce


I’m going to catch hell for this, but I have no idea what the big deal is with Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce. Sure, she is the patron saint of fired bloggers. She lost her job because she was making snarky comments about her bosses and coworkers. Boo-fuckin’-hoo. It’s great to become a verb, but what a way to go. She sure made a silk purse out of those lemons, because she is now about the most popular non-political blogger on the planet and has been annointed Queen Of The Mommyblogs.

To many, she is the face of the blogging world. When a MainStreamMedia type needs a quote, Heather’s phone rings. The latest example is this article by Washington Post writer Robert Samuelson that inexplicably tries to tie LonelyGirl15 and Facebook and all the personal bloggers together in some big trend. Why does Dooce merit mention? Because she is so popular that her ads can support her husband. Her site was probably recommended to Samuelson, whose blog-cluelessness is almost endearing, since he seems to have just discovered the internet.

I just don’t find her that funny or clever or enlightening. She talks about all the things other bloggers do, but everyone hangs on her every word when she talks about dirty diapers. In one post, she recalls a few bad dates and asks in BlatantCommentWhoring™ fashion “What are your dealbreakers?” The result: 390 comments in two days. I’d be lucky to get six on the same topic. Her toddler is adorable, but so is everybody’s. That doting "every gurgle from my baby is sooo pwecious" bit makes my eyes roll and causes the gag reflex to kick in. And do thousands of people bookmark her for lame Viagra jokes? It's only the name recognition that makes her a WebStar. If she were to restart her blog with an anonymous Blogger account, there would be nothing but cobwebs and chirping crickets.

Jealous much? Maybe. But I am resigned to my place as a Slimy Mollusc. I will always be a lot closer to the pointy end of the long tail and will never have 10,000 inbound links. This is my hobby and blogging is her career. And of course her website looks great. After all, she was a webdesigner in her former life. She has time and skilz to come up with a new witty banner every month.

In the blogiverse, like elsewhere, claim-staking and being first to market is a big advantage. There are doctoral dissertations on the phenomenon. It means the latecomers never have a chance even if they are better and sharper and funnier.

For my money, Lindsay Ferrier (nee Lucinda) at Suburban Turmoil, who is herself a tongue-in-cheek member of the Cult of Dooce, is way funnier. Lindsay has parlayed her step-mom schtick into a paying column with an alternative weekly and teamblogs all over the place. But no matter how good a hand Lindsay gets dealt, she will always get trumped by a Dooce.

Blatant Comment Whoring™:
Am I offbase here, or does the empress really have no clothes?

20 comments:

Josh said...

I refuse to get in the middle of your blogfight lest I get the Wrath of Dooce upon my peripherally, but what I do want to know is, how do you get rated in the ecosystem? Is this another thing I have to submit my URL for? 'Cause I refuse to stoop to that level.

Harmonica Man said...

You won't catch hell from me. I clicked on her blog once. Once.

yellojkt said...

Josh,

The TTLB Ecosystem is truly bizarre. It is allegedly opt-in, but there are over 50,000 blogs listed, so something else is at work as well. I used to have their sidebar linkie thing on my site but it slowed page loading to a crawl, so I ditched it.

If you're not on it, you don't need to be. It's pretty silly and anything that ranks Michelle Malkin as a Higher Being has to be suspect.

Chez said...

I had no fucking clue who this woman was until you mentioned her -- and I work at a network news organization whose Palm Pilots are constantly putting in overtime to find us idiots worth talking to (which is not to say that "Dooce" is).

That said, I'm totally looking forward to the moment when my superiors at said network news organization finally become aware of my site -- for several reasons. First of all, I'm still a rotten, subversive punk at heart and I can't think of a better way to go out than to have the clowns on the "Ethics Committee" tell me that I must stop writing immediately, so that I can basically tell them where to stick it. Secondly, you think Dooce is milking the hell out of her sacking? Just wait. I'll literally never work in news again -- which is just fine with me. I'll also become the Judd Hirsch character on Studio 60 overnight -- and everyone in TV news will listen.

My goal is to start a Jackass-style TV news show, which gives the entire medium the respect it deserves.

Claude said...

You're on base. It's a nekkid empress, but there was a time when she was a lot sharper. I was a very regular reader for awhile not long after she got fired, but I think she started buying into her own level of authority, if you know what I mean.

Nowadays I pop in about once a month or so. There's still the occasional bon mot but it's definitely not what it used to be.

Karen said...

yellojkt, I will NEVER go to her site. Who needs her when I have the foma?! :)(How's that gag reflex doing now?)

Seriously, it's a niche market. If you had thousands of hits, would you sell ads? Wouldn't that be kind of gross? As long as you're not selling ads, you can be true to your art, yj--once you're on that slippery slope, who knows where it would end?

It's like that joke, "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?" "Yes" "Would you sleep with me for $3?" "What do you think I am?" "We've established that, now we're negotiating the price."

Stay true to yourself and your loyal fans, yj. Don't worry about this chick, she's just a freak product of a sick popular culture.

Have you noticed I don't read your blog unless I'm writing mine? That seems like my version of comment whoring, but really it's just because the link to your blog is on my blog. When Achenbach gets around to putting links to the boodlers' blogs on his site, I'll check you every day.

Impetua said...

She occasionally makes me laugh but I don't feel the need to kiss her ass as completely and intimately as some evidently do. You're more fun anyway. And sure, her kid is cute, but hey: mine's cuter. :)

2fs said...

Who?

Mooselet said...

I'm late to the whole blogging thing, so I have no idea who she is and furthermore have no intention of reading her. I try to avoid "Mommyblogs" - I mean I'm a mother as well, and if I want to read about dirty diapers I'd return to my own life. This is not to say all blogs where kids are discussed are dull - Lindsay is a great example because she proves in a wonderfully witty way (say that 5 times fast) that there is more to a mother's life than her cutier-than-everyone-elses kids.

Can I also say I prefer the blogs that don't get hundreds of hits/comments a day. You get the feeling that what you say really matters to the blogger and you get to know that person. You're not just a number on a hit counter.

Now come visit my blog!!! :-)

Plain Jane said...

No clothes. I've clicked in once and left moments later - I don't get it either.

Josh said...

Hey Mooselet! I know who you are! I don't forget the little people! *sniff sniff*

Of course, I can't support myself and my spouse with my blog, either. Yet!

jf

dykewife said...

i enjoy reading dooce's blog. many of the things she writes about have resonance in my life. i also read to learn about new people and their lives and attitudes.

i also enjoy reading your blog for pretty much the same reasons.

you're both good writers and have a different focus. there are blogs that i've visited once or twice and thought that they were total crap, angsty nonsense and/or pointless drivel. even good grammar couldn't have saved them from the delete button.

my questions to you would be, "why do you blog? Do you blog for yourself and your family and friends, or do you blog to get hits? Has blogging been a very nice way of 'meeting' new people, or is blogging a competition in popularity?"

to me, it's all a matter of viewpoint and opnion. i blog as a way of communicating to family and friends, but also to inform. i have 'met' many new fascinating people on the internet.

Suburban Turmoil said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out! That was really nice of you.

I like Dooce, as you know, but I'll admit I only read her about once a month. And yeah, quite often she's not writing the greatest stuff in the world, but every once in a while there's a gem that makes her, well, the queen of mommybloggers.

You're right- I'll always be trumped by a Dooce on the web, but that's okay by me, because what exactly do you DO with Internet fame, anyway? I'd much rather, for example, have an NBC producer call me and offer to pay me lots of money to use my blog as the basis for a sitcom... ;)

I actually admire Dooce for pioneering the way for mommybloggers, and especially for living off her blog. I think that's AWESOME. Wouldn't we all do that if we could? Hot Damn!

Flyboy said...

I went to Dooce to check her out and found a link to a photo mag online submission. So I signed up and submitted my first photo. Cool!

Anonymous said...

Never heard of her, see no reason to go back. Sweet of you to say that her kid is adorable, cause...no. And what is with giving that kid so much black licorice? Holy hell, some limits would not be out of line.

Chris Carlisle said...

I've visited her site in the past and pretty much reached the same conclusion that you did.

There are a few top tier bloggers (Wil Wheaton, James Lileks to name a couple) that do live up to their blogging icon status. The rest are only famous because they got here first.

trusty getto said...

Not to change the subject, but I beg to differ.

I am certain that if you start now, and work at it just a few hours a day, you CAN have 10,000 links to your blog simply by creating new blogs and linking them to you.

Never say never, dude . . .

:D

Jennine said...

~ripping up my "I support Heather Armstrong's Family By Constantly Clicking The Advertisement Links on Dooce.com Because I Don't Want Her Dog To Starve Since Neither Adults In The Family Actually Are Employed" bumpersticker~

Wow. Thanks for saying what I've been thinking.

LLA said...

At the risk of sounding sour-grapesy, I'm right there with you.

I tried to give her blog a go, I really did - I mean, on paper, she's everything I love: I heard she was snarky, clever, a MommyBlogger (I hate that term, but since I suspect that is what I am, I might as well embrace it...)

I was underwhelmed. There are a number of people that are doing similar things, but capture my attention more...

BTW - love the phrase "BlatantCommentWhoring"!

Dale Cruse said...

This comment is super late, but oh well.

Heather Armstrong has a gift that most of us don't have: Through her writing, she is able to make even the most mundane aspects of her life utterly fascinating. That's a precious gift.