Jessica Gottlieb is one of the most influential bloggers in America. She’s been called Power Mom by Nielsen, one of the Top 50 Mom Bloggers by Babble and one of 14 Power Women to follow on Twitter by Forbes. Her regular features on Momversation spark fascinating conversations throughout the blogging community.
But Jessica Gottlieb is more than just a power blogger. She is a dedicated mom, thoughtful consumer, food reform activist and socially responsible human being. She has earned the title controversial not because she purposely incites drama, but because she stands up for what she believes. Today, Jessica has agreed to share some more of her thoughts on social responsibility, blogger fame, motherhood and the mom blogging community with SheKnows.
How has blogging affected your identity? What have you gained and what have you lost through your rise to fame?
Wow, fame? I live in Los Angeles and I’m surrounded by famous people. I’m seldom “recognized” so I don’t consider myself famous. I’ve lost some privacy and the ability to make private mistakes. It’s a bummer, but I get way more than I give. Mom Blogging is a microcosm of motherhood and we intensify the popularity, the villains and everyone in between. I don’t think the rest of the world sees us as famous.
Do you feel like you have any special responsibility as a top mom blogger to convey messages you believe in on food reform, healthy eating, gay rights, social responsibility or other issues of concern?
Tidbits about Jessica
I think every mom blogger is duty bound to her community to convey messages of health and inclusion. I started blogging when my friend was dying and the world was cruel. I had a few readers a day, but they changed my life by offering me everything from kind words to very real resources that changed all of our lives.
Every woman, every mom has a very important voice and role in the community. We have the opportunity to make an enormous impact. It would be sinful to not use our voices judiciously.
You do a lot of interesting and thought-provoking work at Momversation. Outside of your interactive vlogs, how involved are you in the mom blogging community?
I’m not really sure. There doesn’t seem to be one “mom blogging community”. I have a community that surrounds me. There’s another community here at SheKnows.com and I was lucky enough to meet Betsy [SheKnows Parenting editor] on a press trip. I read ShePosts.com and there are some pretty active forums at MomDot.com, but I don’t think I’m an insider in the mom blogging community. Every time someone talks about the “popular” mom blogs I’m like huh? And then I’ll read something new and wonderful. Mostly I love reading them, and I dig the moms on Twitter, but I don’t think everyone can join every community.
How do you balance your work in social media with your personal life? Do they overlap much?
Of course they overlap. I have the best job in the world. I get paid to talk about my life. I have some bloggers and social media stars who are friends, so we naturally talk about work. Being a blogger and being a parent is weird. People know more about you than you’ve officially told them, so you don’t always get to introduce yourself.
I know that your family’s privacy is important to you. How has your work in social media impacted your ability to maintain your privacy? Do you like being in the spotlight? Or is it irritating sometimes? Are there people who try to befriend you just because you are famous?
I think it’s fine. I’ve only shared the parts of my life that wouldn’t bring (immense) shame to my husband and children. My parents spent my childhood embarrassing me so I feel like it’s only fair that I return that favor by telling my readers about her use of dog psychics and natural healers (for the dog of course). I asked for this, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend like it’s somehow a burden.
I don’t think anyone is looking for fame with me, but I do have people who would like to be friends so that I can promote their whoosiewhatsis for them. I’m so prickly and weird that they don’t really try very hard.
Are there bloggers that you consider “real life” friends?
Yes, so many of them. I’m scared to name a few because I know I’ll leave someone out.
What do think of mom bloggers as a community?
This is such a loaded question. If I was graceful and diplomatic I’d talk about all the ways that mom bloggers support each other, but I’m neither of those things.
I think mom bloggers have shot themselves in the foot by partnering with with every publicist that sends them a form letter. I’d like to see mom bloggers separate themselves from review bloggers. You know the blogs that have nothing but product reviews? All of them are glowing? That shit is useless. I want to know who you are and what your passion is. I don’t care that you like a certain facial cleanser. If you haven’t established yourself as a voice worth trusting and listening to then why on earth would I ever trust you?
Then there are the dramas. They are endless and they all occur within an echo chamber. No one else cares, that’s the reality.
So as a community I think mom blogging is fragmented, and parts of it are wonderful, but the shilling just sucks. I want to know what makes your blood boil and what makes your blood run cold. I’m looking for short passionate posts that force me to feel something or consider a new point of view.
Mom bloggers as a whole can do much better.
Do you consider yourself a mom blogger, just a blogger, or an entrepreneur for whom blogging is part of your business?
I’m a mom blogger. I’m a blogger and I see the world through mom colored glasses.