On Thursday, August 3, 2006, my social media career began when I launched a little, homespun blog called, Eucalyptus Pillow, and by my first post I was hooked. But before I continue on, let’s review a little social media history lesson: in the middle of 2006, LinkedIn had 5 million members, Facebook only had 12 million users, people were tweeting only in the thousands and Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat hadn’t yet been invented. Fast forward to today, LinkedIn has 467 million members, Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly users, Twitter has 319 million, Instagram has 600 million, Pinterest has 150 million, and Snapchat has 158 million.* Sounds like everyone has a lot of things to share, don’t they? Think, type, post and voila! Let the comments spill down the computer screen. And just like junkies we need our fix. And in August of 2006, blogging was my fix.
THE MOMMY WHO WROTE
When I started to blog, I had a lot of things to write about at the time, way more than the 140 characters allowed in Twitter, and blogging seemed like a new, curious outlet for me to publish my sophisticated and, mostly unsophisticated, opinions out there for the masses. Blogging was somewhat slow and methodical, nothing like the new digital bullhorns on our fingertips of today, yet blogging allowed my ability to spread my wings and develop my writing style, and well, get me writing again. Specifically though, I was eager to find a community of mothers out there to help me not feel so isolated about motherhood.
In August of 2006 when my son was 8 months old, I was ready to ween my son from breastfeeding. After my 3 month maternity leave, I pumped 2 times a day at the office and after 5 months it was getting to be a drag. I was feeling ready to take my body back and close down the dairy bar for good.
However, the decision for me to stop pumping milk was not a hasty one; it was fraught with anxiety on whether I was doing the right thing. As usual, culture likes to dictate what a woman should or should not do with her body – especially about motherhood, and breastfeeding specifically – so I had accumulated an encyclopedia of conflicting opinions about breastfeeding from family, friends, co-workers, pediatricians, fellow shoppers on the grocery aisle, magazines and books making me feel even more isolated and confused. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but I was feeling awfully guilty about it. So one night I asked the internet for help and I found a multitude of mothers out there writing about motherhood. I quickly realized there were thousands of mothers out there writing “blog posts” on their “mommy blogs” and I thought, “Sure! I can’t do that, too!” The start of the blog fix.
Writing had always been therapy for me. I started a journal at the age of 10 and wrote in several journals spanning through elementary school, high school and college, helping me to not fall off the cliff. Fast forward to adulthood, I didn’t keep a journal anymore so I was thrilled about the prospect of publishing a blog. While it’s not private, like a lock-in-key journal tucked into my mattress for no one to read, this writing is now the kind of writing that is intentionally written for strangers to read. At first it seemed odd and downright creepy that I would divulge my private life to a bunch of faceless strangers out there in the interwebs but it was surprisingly satisfying. And I thought, “Wow! I’m published!”, I’ve always wanted to be published, forget that it’s self-published. And quickly thereafter, I realized that my prominent publication had no readers. It was like digital crickets.
THE MOMMY THAT PERSISTED
But then one day, a nice, well-meaning person started to read it. And another. And another. And I was reading theirs, too. Soon it seemed I had found a little online circle of moms from all over the country – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, NYC, etc. Some ladies that I followed turned out to be blogging stars, some others eventually fell off the map, later to reappear on Facebook. I eventually shut the blog down in 2009 in lieu of a new blog, House of Revelry, which was used primarily for promotional reasons for my Etsy shop. In the end, and there was an end because I haven’t regularly blogged since 2010, it was a lot of fun. It seemed like I had a lot of things to say. Eventually, though, I didn’t have a lot of things to say anymore. And so, here we are in 2017 and I have lot of things to write about again. However, considering the social media numbers and there are billions of people with various social media sites to use, why start blogging again?
Well, I’m blogging specifically because I want to write. Which is not a very original reason. But the medium works for me so I’m going with it. While I used to write about breastfeeding, toilet training, working mothers, sagging boobs and toddlers that didn’t sleep, today it’s about health, cooking, politics, teenager angst, wrinkles, more sagging boobs and shameless plugs about my Etsy shop, House of Revelry. I’m telling you, it’s going to be tremendous because if anyone knows blogging it’s me, so I ask you (!shameless plug!) to please make sure to check out the site for essays, recipes, crafts, politics, photography, reader submissions and anything else that comes to mind. I’m not sure this site is ever going to be perfect so it’s a work in progress. So here I go. It reminds me of a great quote from Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn:
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
So, consider this my first embarrassing post of my new site. Enjoy.
NEXT WEEK: What It’s Like to Raise the Real Alex P. Keaton