For 11 years I’ve been deeply connected to social media, our relationship built upon the foundation of this blog. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly; often questioning how and why I remain a part of this community during the worst of times. The last few days I’ve struggled to put my feelings into words and articulate my most recent experience with the dark side of social media.
The Power of a Stranger’s Words
A few weeks ago I found myself on the front page of the The New York Times Business Section in “When Mom Slams a Brand on Instagram.” I became involved in the article after a journalist reached out to interview me about a predicament between The Striped Sheep and Tuckernuck. After discussing my involvement in the situation, she had a few more questions about my job as a Mom Blogger. I was more than happy to share everything I know!
We spoke for over an hour about the power of a stranger’s words – the stranger being a Mom Blogger – and how society can put so much trust in a woman they’ve never met. It’s truly fascinating being on both sides of the fence, influencing others and being influenced myself. I follow women who I trust for their honesty and openness on social media and look to them for advice on everything from products to parenting – all the while people follow me for the exact same reasons.
“She’s a Mean Girl with a Laptop”
My first impression of the article was nowhere close to excitement after reading the title: “When Mom Slams a Brand on Instagram.” The intention of the piece, to delve into the influence of a Mom Blogger, was easily missed by many readers due to the impression of a most powerful title. By the time I finished reading the article, my hopes for making a positive impact on the world as a Mom Blogger were shattered by the comments from readers.
There are over 124 comments on the article, but I only allowed myself to read a few. There was more than enough negativity in the comments I read to make me want to crawl in a hole.
Ms. Houston is ‘a mean girl with a laptop’, ‘egotistic,’ and ‘a bored upscale suburban Mom.’
Ms. Houston will never work with another brand after they read this article!
She clearly spends more time with her computer than her children.
The words of these complete strangers publicly tarnishing my character was too much for me to handle. On the same day I planned to celebrate the The New York Times article, I considered quitting my blog. I take great pride in my job as a blogger, but the stinging comments made me question my role in this industry. What if someone reads their words and believes them to be true?!
The Dark Side of Social Media
My purpose for sharing this story is to shed light on one of the many dark sides of blogging. There is criticism lurking around every corner in the influencer world. Sometimes if we are lucky, the critics take their opinions to the public stage. It’s incredible how a strangers’ words can make such an impact on a person, regardless of their validity.
Read more: The reason why I don’t quit Instagram
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.