Is Project Mom Casting Really What Mommy Blogging Needs?

| August 3, 2010 | Comments (22)

Project Momcasting

I’ll probably get slammed 52 zillion ways on this and every other mom blog for saying this, but I just don’t get the latest craze to hit the momosphere: Project Mom Casting. If you haven’t heard yet (and you must have been hiding under a rock if you haven’t), Project Mom Casting is calling for online moms to submit blog posts about why they should be cast for a reality show being produced featuring what else… online moms. I believe interviews and casting are to be held at BlogHer 10.

As expected, there are scores of moms who’ve posted submissions on their blogs and others who are posting on Facebook in support of those moms about why they should be cast for Project Mom. From what I can tell, submissions run the gamut from uber popular bloggers like Bossy and Jen Singer of Momma Said to the average every day mom blogger (that’s the category I’d be in).

The project is being run by Leane Vandeman (who I don’t know) and Ciaran Blumenthal of Momfluential who I don’t know personally, but have heard of multiple times and was published alongside in a book last fall. I’m sure they both are awesome, funny and smart ladies, but I am not quite sure what they are trying to achieve with this project. Why do we need another reality show? Especially ones about mom bloggers and their families? Isn’t the internet good enough already for that?

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t watch Real Housewives or Jersey Shore. I couldn’t stand the Jon and Kate phenomenon. That show just gave me a headache. (Why do I want to watch other kids running around screaming? I have enough of that at home.) I tried out 16 and Pregnant last week, but it made me depressed.

And now Project Mom. I wonder if the thought of an eventual $30K per episode pay out like the cast of Jersey Shore is rumored to get makes it worth it for some moms to put themselves on the reality show line.  Other than money, I can’t think of any other reason why a person would want to subject herself to the reality show mill. But the eagerness of online moms to join the show shows something different.

And I think it is pretty telling about what the state of the momosphere is in right now. One big freaking clusterf***.

It used to be (cue the eye rolls) that we all just wrote funny or nice or smart or pretty content. We were happy if someone stopped by to say hi, that they agreed (or not) with our post, they liked a photo we shared or made them laugh. The biggest goal at the end of the day (for me at least), was to be come a better writer, blogger friend. (End the eye rolls.)

Now, it’s all about being heard, sponsored, swagged and branded and it doesn’t really matter by who. I certainly like to be heard by readers or friends, or even sometimes a larger audience. It’s nice when marketers, PR people and brands ask for my voice and my opinion. But I’m worried that this project will just muddle what we have to say. I feel like it’s just going to make the whole mom blogger lot of us look like crazy fools. It’s almost like some of the blog post submissions are from moms trying to be sadder, kookier and more uppity than the next. G-d knows we don’t need anymore Teresas running around TV. These supposed “Housewives” are not setting good examples for young mothers out there who may watch and cannot see through the irony. I think we can use our collective voice on a different medium like television in broader and better ways.

We all know that reality television has a way of spinning what really happened to fit the show’s reality, a.k.a. ratings. Remember what it felt like when we all found out the Hills was scripted? It was worse than when Bachelor Bob was well, um, Bachelor Bob again. We already can’t agree on the role of PR and bloggers and paid content and reviews in the online forum. So now we’ll have to watch people on TV arguing about it?

I guess what I want to say is this: the power of mom blogging is huge. The power of television is huge. But I fear they’ll mix like oil and vinegar and I don’t want the dressing to make the whole salad taste funny.

Maybe I’m just too naive for such an innovative turn of the industry. I think I’ll always be a middling, minor mom blogger because I’ll never ever show enough of myself or family online so that I’ll build up that cult reality-TV like following. And that’s okay with me. I’m still kind of old-school when it comes to blogging.

I’m sure Project Mom’s intentions are good, and truly, I hope they are successful in their work. I’d actually like to hear more from them about what their plans for the show are. Maybe I’d change my view. But I’m also worried that there’s a nasty television executive out there who sees reality gold in mom blogging fodder. I’m sure some of our banter could put that new CBS show to shame any day.

And when that day comes, I’ll be sure to take cover under a different name.

Category: Blogging

About selfmademom1: Sara, a.k.a. Self-Made Mom, is an unbalanced and off-ramped former PR Pro, mom of two boys living on Chicago's north side. Writing freelance for Chicago Parent and thinking freely on her blog, http://selfmademom.net. View author profile.

Comments (22)

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  1. Garima says:

    Hi, I could not agree with you more. When i read it for the first time.. I was… “Are you kidding me” And then I saw a few of my favorite bloggers signing up for it. Once again, i was “Are you kidding me”
    I am sure the money is great… the heights of being a brand is amazing. But putting yourself and your kids through the spotlight is just nor fair.
    Blogging is about building an online go to space for good reads, ideas, understand you are not the only one making mistakes. Its great to meet PR’s and get some nice ideas for kids meals. Its a good community. The TV will just sensationalize it. I like the simplicity of it right now.

  2. Emma says:

    I totally agree! I wasn’t surprised when some of the classic attention seekers signed on, but I was when some of my favourites sent in audition tapes. I can’t imagine why you would want to subject yourself and especially your kids to being on TV. Reality TV is all about conflict I for one would not want to be involved. But will I watch? that’s a whole different story…

  3. Veronica says:

    You know I agree with you and was so happy to finally see someone say all of this. I didn’t watch Jon & Kate either, but come on, we all know how that turned out. Do people really think it turned into the disaster just because Jon was immature and Kate was a monster? How would anyone react to seeing their lives edited into a clusterf*** on national TV?

    I’m more shocked because it’s been in the mom blog community where I’ve gotten most of the “you can’t post your kid’s pictures! There are nasty people out there looking!” and BAM! now this community is getting all hot & bothered over the thought of a reality TV show.

    • MJ Tam says:

      “I’m more shocked because it’s been in the mom blog community where I’ve gotten most of the “you can’t post your kid’s pictures! ”

      That’s so true. I had the same reaction. I’m not sure if these women really thought about how this will impact their family’s lives. Maybe production will not be as intrusive compared to the mainstream reality shows, but then again…if they don’t show the drama, then people won’t care and so they’d have to close up show. Nah! I think it will probably be as intrusive!

  4. Lisa says:

    I am a reality TV addict but I’m not about to be a reality TV “Star”
    the whole reason i love reality tv is that the twisted drama it provides makes me feel better about myself!!
    after watching the struggles of on camera families I can’t fathom putting my family in that same jeopardy! yes we’re broker than broker and could use the money. yes I do love being swagged and sponsored but online. everything I love about blogging is based on it being just that, online! my writing, my choices of what I share.
    but honestly, would I watch…yeah probably. we all know bloggers are an opinionated bunch and I think this could have the potential of some Real Housewives type drama….those who are willing to bring it for the bucks…I’ll be on the other side of the screen.

  5. ilinap says:

    I threw my name in the hat yet I agree with you at the same time. I guess I was hoping to share my voice and perspective and was banking on the project meeting higher standards than regular reality TV. Color me naive.

    I do think bloggers everywhere are trying to grab the PR/brand brass ring. All I want to do is write. Connect. And maybe get paid for it someday. But for me, it’s not about the money or the fame.

    • Veronica says:

      If you’re going to Blogher, look for my friend Jennifer Pozner. Her book about Reality TV and how it edits people into roles is due out in October.

  6. MJ Tam says:

    I totally see your point, but it seems like a lot of the bloggers that signed on are pretty open about their daily lives already? No?

    Although I may seem to talk or write everything about myself and my life, I really don’t. I pick and choose what I do online. I can’t imagine putting my daily family stuff out there for everyone to pound on.

    Thanks for writing this Sara!

  7. A reality show about mommybloggers kind of seems like a snoozefest to me, but if people will tune in to watch Big Brother, Jersey Shore and the Bachelor, I’m sure they’ll sell commercials around mom bloggers tapping away at their keyboards and angsting over the latest pay per post scheme. Prepare to see lots of forlorn shots of “neglected” kids as mom tweets away from her iPhone and stresses about how few comments her latest post has earned.

    • Veronica says:

      Did you see someone wrote a letter to the editor last week about seeing a mom on her cellphone and a small kid walking behind her while they were crossing the street? Oh yes, lots of “twitter neglected children.”

      of course I can’t find it online now.

  8. selfmademom1 says:

    Thanks for all of your supportive comments. I thought I’d take a lot of flack for this, but I guess I’m not alone in thinking this idea is not for the best!

  9. Jen says:

    I agree with you 100% but I honestly thought I was the only person to feel that way. This is not a slam against anyone involved (because I haven’t paid enough attention to see who was selected or who tried out) but a reality show about mommy bloggers sounds simultaneously the most boring thing in the world and the biggest possible train wreck ever. Not to mention that a lot of the people I saw expressing interest in it are the same ones who routinely share even very intimate, personal details of their lives anyway. How much more could there possibly be to learn about these people anyway?

  10. My husband, the reality show producer, told me not to apply. URGED me strongly not to do it.

    He knows what goes on behind the scenes, and really questioned why I would ever want the invasion and lack of control over who I really am. Editing is one powerful tool for better or for worse.

    I really hope this show doesn’t turn the term “Mommy blogger” into more of a put down than it’s already becoming.

  11. There is no amount of money you could pay me to be on a reality TV show. I know I’m lucky to be able to say that. I have created a career that gives me that luxury (I use the term luxury very loosely.)

    Let’s face it, our kids are already going to need therapy for something we didn’t even know we did. Subjecting them to reality tv?? That might be grounds for a lawsuit.

    I wish our sisters luck, but I’m still here for the community.

  12. I too just felt the ick when I heard about this…it also made me sad for BlogHer…I feel that that site and the conferences are the focus of Mom Blog Star Seeking instead of community and blogging.

    It is like what happened to the San Diego Comic Con…who talk about comics when they think of that con..it is all about the starts (sorry for the geek reference).

    I also just don’t think it will be good for the us vs them mentality that permeates mom bloggerhood. The star bloggers with the free stuff, trips, books NOW get a tv show?

    And being that we get bashed enough by mainstream media…. I don’t think this will help at all.

  13. Great post! I think in order to put all your business on the TV screen you must have a strong family foundation. It’s almost like running for political office. If you don’t put your tell all book out first…Get ready.

    Since, I’m fairly new to blogging, try to make sure all I do i for a purpose. Being careful not to get caught up in the what everyone is doing now is important. A lot of these reality shows are nothing but mere entertainment for others to feel about themselves.

  14. Donna says:

    I agree with you – which is why you won’t see me audition. At the same time, I applaud Ciaran and Leane for selling an idea and making it happen – and I support any venture that puts money in the pocket of blogging moms.

    Just because I won’t watch doesn’t mean there won’t be an audience for it. And just because I’m afraid of the kind of exposure reality-type TV would give me doesn’t mean that no one should go for it.

  15. Jen Singer says:

    I can see where you’re coming from, and yes, the whole idea of being in a reality show gave me pause.

    But as a blogger and author (and soon, memoirist), I am constantly sharing my story in what I aspire to be an entertaining way. I’m also careful about what I reveal about my children, and I’ve never posted anything that they are unhappy about. (And they are certainly old enough to let me know).

    I find that the best reality shows are about work: Cake Boss, The Deadliest Catch, Selling New York. And that’s what I envision for a show about mom bloggers.

    I highly doubt it’ll be about bloggers typing — it’s about what they’re typing about. And if it’s good storytelling, I’d like to be considered to be a part of it.

    Besides, it’s just a casting call. It’s not a done deal, right?

  16. Did they ever say what the show would focus on? I can think of reality shows that make me squirm (Jon & Kate, Bachelor, Wife Swap, etc) and those I really enjoy (Next Food Network Star, Supernanny) I think the concept of a reality show could cover a lot of different bases and I guess I haven’t heard enough about this one to judge.

  17. selfmademom1 says:

    Jen, I think if you’re on the show we will all watch because you know how to deal with the media in a savvy way. I do agree that there are tasteful reality shows out there, but they seem to deal more with peoples’ “jobs” not as much their life… there is a distinction I think. And, Meagan, I think part of the problem is that there is no explanation anywhere of what it would focus on. I hope that when it comes time to package there is more of a focus at that point. Thanks for continuing the discussion everyone!

  18. I am new to blogging and don’t post a story through a blog so I don’t have the back and forth diaglogue with readers and haven’t gotten to know individuals in the Blogging Mommy world but I will say that one thing after browsing dozens of sites.

    Women who blog are looking for attention. Period.

    There may be many reasons and almost all are completely understandable and valid. Mommies who, alone with young children most of the day, are starving for adult interaction. (Totally symphathize). Women who feel better about themselves when they can dish out advice to others (Hate this kind but if that’s what it takes for you to feel good, then okay.) Women who need a creative outlet – whether it’s designing a site, writing daily or shooting pictures. (A fabulous outlet for creativity.) Women who are invisible in their lives because they are either taken for granted or have lost themselves entirely to the labels wife and mommy. (Sad but true for too many).

    The gals who are auditioning are just looking for a bigger audience. Good luck to them!

    Elizabeth

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