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The Questions We Fear to Speak


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I’ve given thought to a few topics of late - really important ones that simply refuse to define themselves with simple answers. One of the ones I want to invite a discussion on is women and blogging.

Part of me doesn’t even want to write this post.
Yet, back a few weeks ago, I made a comment on my own blog repeating some great sales advice I had gotten from my husband many years ago.

>>My husband once gave me good advice in sales - whenever I found myself afraid to say something to a client, that was the most important thing that needed to come out of my mouth.

And then someone I highly respect suggested I write about this very subject.

So first, let me talk about the Questions We Fear to Speak.

Why ask difficult questions? Am I tryng to sell you something?

Actually, in this post, no. I am starting a conversation. We as people (myself included at times) avoid asking questions that are difficult for one primary reason among others. We want people to like us and we don’t want to risk breaking rapport with our readers [insert your own business or personal scenario here].

Yet instead of focusing on what we can lose by opening our big fat mouths, a better question to ask of ourselves is:

What is the cost of NOT opening my mouth on Subject A?

To again quote my husband on the subject, “The people too chicken to ‘go there’ are the ones who consistently lose, are more attached to being liked than doing the right thing (fear of rejection), and they lose credibility with the customer.”

To bring this to the blogging realm, try these really uncomfortable questions on for size:

  • If you can’t speak the difficult questions - what are you overvaluing?
  • Who has control in that situation? Who are you giving up control to?
  • If you are constantly handing the baton back to your readers [customers… clients…] what does that convey about your authority - consciously and subconsciously?
  • What is your fear costing you?

And I can assure you now, I’m feeling a little squeamish at my keyboard as I type. I don’t want to tread on toes. I don’t want to seem like I am playing the feminist card [I’m not, but even me saying this won’t convince some people of it]. I really don’t like stirring up controversy. But if I ask myself the questions I ask of you above, I realize that I am shortchanging all of us if I keep my mouth shut.

So without further ado, onto Women and Blogging

It’s no secret that from one point of view, we are the minority. I wanted to break down the top 100 Technorati blogs to determine how many are run primarily by women, but stopped after 50 because I started to feel like I was scorekeeping in a bad relationship (but will divulge that 40 of the top 50 are run by men).

So, I’m taking my own advice, getting outside of my comfort zone, and putting my questions out to the fine and wise blogosphere (yes, to both men and women).

  • What has to happen for women to create more visible and highly trafficked blogs?
  • Do we as women have different blogging goals than our wonderful counterparts? Does this affect our success with our cohorts?
  • How are we defining ’success’ in the first place? Impact? Readership? Traffic? Dollars?
  • Are there truly gender issues at play here - or is this phenomena more of a rapport issue? Are more men’s blogs successful because there are more men blog readers? (Would love some stats on that if anyone has any). Are we really just seeking to read blogs by people we can relate to - and can it really be this harmless?
  • I also find it interesting that BlogHerAds is really only open to women bloggers. I have mixed feelings about that - does it open up more opportunties for women, or does it reinforce a perception that we need more help than men do? Or both? (For the record, I do think it is a good program and I plan on participating unless I piss off Jory with this question! ;) )

(OK, my skin is crawling now - I have officially gone way farther than I thought I would in this post).

  • And finally, to lighten up the conversation a bit, did I shoot myself in the foot by starting this blog with a domain name that tends to exclude half of the human race? (Again for the record, I would do it differently if I knew then what I know now!!)

I invite you to write your own response and trackback to this post, or leave your comments if you don’t own a blog. Take on a question or two. Or ask some of your own difficult questions. I have my own answers - albeit muddy on some of them - but this post is long enough and I’ll bring it up separately or in response to comments.

We may stir up the pot a bit, but if we are to live our lives with integrity, and be congruent with that on our blogs, we should all be asking difficult questions about difficult subjects - or at least building up the courage to do so. :)

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    On September 13th, 2006 at 6:51 pm, Holly Schwendiman said:

    Hi Wendy,

    Well, no toes treaded on here. ;o) Here are some of my random thoughts on the matter:

    Men and women have different strengths that have impact on this. I think more women blog for personal reasons than business reasons and I’d say the exact opposite of most male bloggers. Women tend to nurture so their blogs likely reflect more of this. While it’s a wonderful compliment, it’s not a savvy business world tactic.

    Most interesting to me is to watch blog traffic trends. Most traffic hits between Monday and Friday with peak days being Tuesdays and Thursdays. Interesting, as I think of blogging as a more personal use of time that would be done evenings and weekends, but statistics show by in large it’s the work week when stats are booming.

    I’ve more to say but time is gone because I’m a mom! LOL


    On September 14th, 2006 at 8:57 am, Jackie said:

    No toes treaded on here, either, and congrats for asking these questions. It may be an age thing, (my child is a high school junior and I am in a different stage of my life as I contemplate both the launch of my daughter and my liberation from daily “mom” duties), so asking questions about the differences between the blogging experiences and overall success of women bloggers doesn’t feel like playing a conversation-stopping “card” to me. I believe it’s only when we label a legitimate query as playing a card do we force ourselves into a defensive position. A position where our questions get diverted–and perhaps subverted–and some of our voices are silenced. That, to me, is a worse fate than stepping on a few toes here and there.

    I just discovered your blog yesterday. Job well done! But I am also quite curious…what would you have done differently (in terms of the name, I am presuming) if you knew then what you know now?

    On September 14th, 2006 at 9:29 am, eMom said:

    Jackie - welcome! I’m always happy to see a new face around here! :) And your comment is quite eloquent - thanks for sharing.

    As far as the name goes, I would have worked to find a domain that was targeted more to simply home business, or parents working at home. I found I have a surprisingly large amount of male readers (who add a ton of value), which I take as an indication that my content appeals to both genders (I know, I’m smart like that ;) ). My point being that there might be some potential readers that don’t stop for long because of the domain name, and might have stuck around more if it were different.

    I guess in saying that ‘out loud’ it seems less likely - or that the kinds of people who would not stop to at least take a look probably aren’t the type of reader who would stick around no matter what my domain name was. ;)

    Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon!

    On September 15th, 2006 at 2:43 pm, Brian Clark said:

    Great post Wendy… I knew you could nail this one.

    And no, your domain name is fine. You can’t speak to anyone and everyone and have it matter as much as it will here.

    On September 15th, 2006 at 2:47 pm, eMom said:

    Thanks Brian - point well taken :)

    Tubetorial is looking good these days - I see it’s taking up a bit of your time too! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out on that one.


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    1. eMoms at Home » Blog Archive » Plan a 2007 You Can Be Proud Of on December 20th, 2006 at 4:02 pm

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