The URL provided for the review sent me to a Disney Family website. At first evaluation, I didn’t see a blog, I saw a Disney website filled with Disney movies and Disney products, but no Blog.
The “blogging” section was “below the fold” to use an old newsprint term, and is also not included in the top level navigation bar of the site. Determined to quash this as a non-blog website so I didn’t have to review it, I dug around on the front page and saw the “Family Bloggers” section of the site, down in the bottom right hand corner of the page. The header of the site states it is a production in Beta, so I would suggest that if they want people to read their collection of blogs, they should include them in the top level navigation bar as an option. Not just on the “parenting” page including a link to one blog, and the “food” page a link to another… and so on and so on…
For the record, the blogging collective is housed at http://family.go.com/blog and this is the section of the site I will review.
The “Disney Family Bloggers” page is prefaced by the following: “Family life can be frenzied, challenging, and anxiety-provoking but also hilarious, rewarding, and exhilarating. Need proof that you’re not alone? Get to know the Disney Family Bloggers.”
These Family Bloggers are a hoard of 19 “types” of parents. Nineteen. Not African American, one of them is Asian, and only two of them are male.
And the bloggers don’t come off as individuals, they come off as Jungian Archetypes of Parents. There is Professor Mom, Fit Mom, Tri-athlete Mom, Sitting On The Couch Mom, Slacker Lookin’ Dad (who after reading his blog I find out he’s not a dad at all, see below…), Likes To Cook Dad, Shopper Mom, Travelin’ Mom, Ready To Drop Daughter Deuce Mom, Mom of Twins Mom. I guess we’re trying to cover all the parenting types in one place.
The profile photos and short bios mostly made me cringe a little. I felt I didn’t relate to a single one of these people even though Disney has gone to great lengths to find a what they believe is diverse collection of bloggers. In looking at all the profiles, I found that I was only remotely interested in three of the parenting types. The Travelin’ Mom and the Sittin on the Couch Mom, and the Slacker Lookin’ Dad (who turns out not to be a dad at all, see below).
I dug most deeply into the following. Mother_Road who writes “Kid Trippin'”, ThompsonClanMom who writes “Posts from the Couch” and Sweaterhead who writes “The Village Tweed.”
Starting with the Travelin’ Mom, I found her to be more of a journalist than a blogger, and that is exactly what she is. She’s a journalist, and all her archives read like articles for tour guides, not really about “traveling with kids” with anecdotes and stories of misadventure and mayhem from the blue highways that gird our nation. Kid Trippin’ turns out to be advice for parents looking for suggestions for places to go with the kids. Mother_Road recommends places like London and Florida, Downeast Maine and what to do Indoors and Outdoors with your kids all the place. It read more like the Frommer’s Guide that she references more than once, and I found it to be boring. My high-hopes were shattered. Yawn.
Moving on to ThompsonClanMom who writes her Posts from the Couch, we find a woman who hates last minute play dates, all the begging for money her kids’ school keeps doing, bad nutrition choices, the sexy allure of the scent of coffee, how her kids love Disney Princess movies and the songs get stuck in her head… even when she writes about how she loses her mind and screams at the kids for running late and not wanting to go to school, it feels empty and sterilized and not very authentic. I left this blog bored as well.
On to the Sweaterhead, who is Jared from Brooklyn and is a knitter. The Village Tweed is his blog, and he writes about yarn and knitting. I had hoped that in addition to knitting he’d be a little more Bohemian and fun… but he writes about knitting. And when that’s your passion it’s okay. But again, the coolest LOOKING profile with the most potential, I left disappointed. The thing I noticed was that in none of his entries did he mention his own children, just knitting, yarn, making sweaters for babies and more knitting. And that’s because, as he confesses… “Now, I’m not a parent and I don’t claim to understand all that goes in to parenting…”
I don’t get it. How is he included as a family blogger? Aren’t there some Daddy blogs or Grandpa Blogs our Expectant Father Blogs out there?
This website pretty much typifies why I hate most of what Disney puts out into the world. Princesses and Fantasies, no real substance or “diversity” represented even among 19 humans… men who knit included because what, that’s safe and kitchy and cute, instead of Dads who work their butts off and come home and put their feet up with a beer and blog about what a cruddy day it was and how hard it was to come home. Cookie Cutter types of moms, and every single one of the 19 blogs has exactly 8 pages of archives. Are they all blogging on schedule? Like a blogging mill? It was kind of creepy and disconcerting.
As mentioned, the entire collection of bloggers is headed up with “Family life can be frenzied, challenging, and anxiety-provoking but also hilarious, rewarding, and exhilarating…” And to be honest, I found absolutely none of that inside the collective of bloggers. No real hilarity, no real frenzy, nothing exhilarating.
I hated this website and plan never to return. You may like it if you’re looking for the Disnification of Blogging… the Vanilla and the Pedestrian. The typical American non-edgey, pre-packaged shrink-wrapped, non-reality of it all. I’m not. There are so many better parenting sites out there, written by individuals and collectives of parents who produce content together, who are far more genuine and interesting, compelling and fascinating. They don’t review products like Bounty Paper Towels or recommend you take your kid to theme amusement parks on vacation.
Feh. Now I’m off to ride bikes with my kids and pray to the blogging gods that I never become a Disney Blogger archetype.