Dear Martha Stewart

320px-Martha_Stewart_2011_ShankboneDear Martha,

May I call you Martha? I mean, I feel like we practically know each other. It was just two months ago that you reached out to me, as a blogger, and asked if I’d like to work on any story ideas together. Imagine how flattered I felt.

Martha Stewart contacting me! Well, okay, it wasn’t you per se. It was “your people.” But the pitch was very clear:

Hi Fadra,

I’m reaching out to let you know that the September issue of Martha Stewart Living is on stands today! Please see the highlights below and let me know if you’d like to work together on any story ideas.

All best,

(name withheld)

Assistant Publicist
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
601 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001

Finally, someone had seen the genius of my work! My frequent ramblings had finally caught your eye! Was it the business minded posts that I wrote over at Social Dialect? Was it the social good work I’ve done with blogger on Charitable Influence? Or was it simply my quirky little take on every day life?

I wasn’t sure so I asked.

Hi (name withheld),

Thanks for reaching out. I love the magazine but wanted to better understand what you meant by working on any story ideas.

Thanks in advance!
Fadra

Turns out all you really wanted was for me to share your stories from your magazine on my blog. My little ol’ blog. And you offered to send me a free copy of your magazine!

I meant to respond and politely decline but I didn’t. I got too busy working with major brands and PR firms that value my time, my voice, and my influence. But I didn’t say that magic word. That word that inspired this whole post. My expertise.

Let me remind you of the interview that was released on Bloomberg.com yesterday.

(In case the video doesn’t appear, you can view it here and read the key quote from her interview below.)

“Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine. There are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of what really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create a kind of a popularity but they are not the experts. We have to understand that.” ~ Martha Stewart

I like that you say exactly what’s on your mind. I like that you criticize the very people you reach out to to help elevate your business into the social media space. You take your lumps and you like it. Even when you were sent to prison as a convicted felon. You owned up to it and you took your punishment and you thrived after your release.

But let’s talk about expertise for a moment. I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favorite bloggers:

sideways_SUPER_lr Lisa Lehmann, blogger at Studio Jewel. Lisa is a trained artist and metal smith who handcrafts beautiful pieces of jewelry while following her commitment to the environment with use of 100% recycled metals, as well as genuine fair trade gemstones. She’s also a really awesome person.

 

9c14f9261c85ad8af29cebd77ce92812 Aimee Giese, blogger at Greeblemonkey. Aimee has her degree in graphic design and has grown her expertise in social media, amazing photography, and beautiful web design. Coincidentally, also a pretty awesome person.

 

553eb0cc97049450d5c746b3219b916c Kathy Cano-Murillo, blogger at Crafty Chica. Kathy is one of the sweetest and most soft-spoken people you’ll ever meet but don’t let the exterior fool you. She’s a savvy businesswoman having sold her crafts to major retailers, written a syndicated newspaper column, and authored several successful books.

And finally, I have to introduce you to the Martha Stewart of our world, someone whom I’m sure you keep a very close eye on.

1b07dbf9bd9ca09decaada316ab33f28 Ree Drummond, blogger at The Pioneer Woman. Ree studied journalism and gerontology. But her real claim to fame was moving from Southern California to the ranch life of Oklahoma. As far as I can tell, you’re finally right about expertise. She doesn’t have a background in the culinary arts. She’s never been a Vogue editor. Kind of like you, Martha.

Ree created her own life, as have many other bloggers. Some of them bring their professional expertise to their blogs while others are simply trying to find their path in life, or as you may better understand, find their way out of Nutley, NJ.

Frankly, your statements don’t surprise me. You’ve often shown yourself to feel threatened anytime your “expertise” is challenged. So I guess in retrospect, your concern about the rising popularity of bloggers is simply evidence that we are a powerful force in media.

Thank you for your insights. They actually turned out to be a very good thing.

Sincerely,

Fadra Nally

Blogger, Writer, Marketer, Teacher
(Check my LinkedIn profile, I can back it all up.)

  • http://www.amadisonmom.com Colleen – amadisonmom

    Oh Fadra… I just love you. That is all.

  • http://blog.jmarkafghans.com/ J G Hughes

    Obviously, Ms Stewart (for whom I have always held little regard) hasn’t heard of the Fifth Estate. http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/10/16/what-is-the-fifth-estate

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  • Adriana Martin

    Love it well done thanks for showing courage and put things under perspective, loved your article!

  • Aznewmom

    Right on! I used to watch her show, YEARS ago, when it was new. I enjoyed it……initially.
    Then she went all into perfection mode. Everything had to be PERFECT! Say what?
    I have a family, a crummy little house, and just ME running the show. I like to cook and I love to craft, but I most certainly don’t have millions of dollars and hundreds of people helping me do it. How dare she call herself the “expert”? She isn’t……her hard working staff is responsible for the expertise. I quit having anything to do with this woman, or what she hawks, well before she became a convicted, greedy, crook. I still stay away and NEVER purchase anything she sells. This interview, and your insightful take on it all, convinces me to STAY away.
    Thanks for your write up.
    For Martha, it’s ONLY about Martha! ;-)

  • DawnS

    Nice Fadra! Martha? Not so nice.

  • Siiri Sampson

    Fadra! That was wonderfully put, and I feel proud to call myself a fellow blogger alongside you and all the others! This is what us young people call a MIC DROP! Way to go! (Giving you a standing ovation from Seattle!)

  • http://www.nurturingcreativity.net/ Denise Urena

    Martha Stewart is forgetting that she started her career BEFORE the power of the internet, social media, and blogging. It sounds like she’s being resentful of the opportunities we have today to gain influence, and put our voice out into the world. She knows good and well that if she started out today, she’d be blogging and using social media influence right along side the rest of us. I hope she doesn’t think that her criticism and unsolicited narcissistic opinions will actually deter any one of us from taking full advantage of our present day opportunities. So let her hate on people all she wants. The only thing she’s accomplishing with that sad little interview is she’s going to lose business and respect from a lot of people.

    • FadraN

      “She knows good and well that if she started out today, she’d be blogging and using social media influence right along side the rest of us to share her passions and her voice with the world.”

      Denise – you are a genius. Of course she would. It’s a different world with different opportunities to become self-made women. Some bloggers aren’t experts but the cream always rises to the top.

  • darnold23

    Perhaps leaving her an expert name or two or her blog? Nah, probably not. That would improve her SEO

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  • TLanceB

    I laugh when people over the age of 60, whether it’s Martha Stewart or Rush Limbaugh or whomever, bash social media and blogging. What we do, you and I Fadra, is connect with people who would otherwise have no voice and figure out life accordingly.
    Expertise? Maybe she’s right. I once dumped stock like she did, in the late 1990s, and it ended up costing me money I could’ve sent my oldest daughter to college, on. So she has me there. Of course I stayed out of prison.
    The important part of your post is that you are calling out hypocrisy and elitism. In this case, you’re the expert, not Martha.
    *fistbump*

  • Ilene Evans

    A long time ago, after starting a small catering company out of her home, she became a self proclaimed “expert” on “good things” with no professional training on those good things, as far as I know. With that alone, I can’t help see the irony in what she is saying about all of us now. And to your point, many bloggers really are professional experts in their field. Well said.

    • FadraN

      Aren’t good things really subjective anyway? ;)

  • Jamie Koenig

    I’m still trying to figure out how Vogue editors are qualified EXPERTS. What did they go through some class that lets them determine if a certain dish is delishsh or not. People have different taste. What might be tasty to someone could be disgusting to another. And YOU KNOW Martha Stewart isnt making any recipie she finds on the internet, so she cant say they arent good. Some people just love putting their foot in their mouths Martha is one of the BIG ones

    • FadraN

      I’m sure the comment about being a Vogue editor is focused on the quality control that goes into published media. And it’s true. We aren’t held to the same standards. Then again, we don’t have magazines that are half filled with haute couture ads.

  • http://GlamorouslyMommy.com/ Tawny C

    Boom!!!!

  • http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/ Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    I’m an actress who blogs about personal finance. Am I an expert financial advisor, no way, but that’s the point! I’m a real person, with real lessons and mistakes to share. I’m not hiding behind a professional facade with ulterior motives.

    • FadraN

      People need creative, real-life lessons when it comes to money, especially from someone like an actress that doesn’t always have a steady stream of income. In fact, I think bloggers could learn plenty of lessons from you!

  • tragicsandwich

    I understand what she’s saying, but she’s way too general about it–obviously some bloggers are experts and some are incompetent. Almost like they’re . . . wait for it . . . people. And I think she’s angry/frustrated that people are taking a different path than she did, particularly since it’s a path that simply wasn’t available to her.

    But the idea that you have to be the Vogue editor (or equivalent) to know what you’re talking about? Nonsense.

    • FadraN

      Yep. You said it perfectly. There is some truth to her statement but coming out of her mouth, it sounded wrong. And this is a changing world whether she likes it or not.

  • Scotty Reiss

    As ever, well said. And, Martha has her facts wrong. There are a good number of us who ARE traditionally trained writers and editors who learned the craft at top titles, but the publishing industry so badly fumbled the digital transition that they reduced the industry to a fraction of its former size, leaving us to practice our craft elsewhere. Martha’s just upset that all these talented, charming, funny, loved and treasured bloggers are eating her lunch. And breakfast, dinner and hors d’oeuvres.

    • FadraN

      Scotty – you are not in the minority when it comes to traditional media making the move to social media. It’s not a choice, it’s a necessity! And as one commenter put it, if Martha were starting out today, she’d be trying her damnedest to make her mark in social media and blogging!

  • Melanie Coffee

    Brava Fadra!!! Brava! Yes, so true about this on so many levels. Sure, we’re not “experts” in a conventional sense, but in reality we are experts on things that we care about and we attract like-minded souls. Oh Martha, you were so busy looking down your nose at people, you didn’t see how you were putting your foot all up in your mouth! My hat’s off to you Fadra!

    Much love.

    • FadraN

      You are right in that so many people online are looking for “like-minded souls.” I mean, if I’m looking for the perfect turkey recipe for Thanksgiving, I might turn to Food & Wine. But if I need an idea for storybook character day at school, I’m going to consult with my peers!

  • Anita Braddock

    Bravo Bravo

  • Emily Ladau

    I’m not a craft/food blogger, as my blog is in a different niche, but I’ve found some amazing things on those kinds of blogs. For Martha to make a blanket statement that bloggers aren’t the experts (don’t know what they’re doing) seemed pretty out of line. I have enjoyed some Martha-empire things, but what makes her the sole expert anyway? It’s not like she went to crafting/baking/magazine college. She apparently majored in history/architectural history (if you trust wikipedia.)

    • FadraN

      She’s a self-made woman and all I see is a sea of women who are also trying to make themselves. The means are different but the idea is the same.

  • Rukmini Roy

    AWESOME. Kathy (crafty chica) tweeted you and I had to check it out. A blogger myself- will definitely unfollow martha stewart.

  • cyn

    Thanks for speaking so eloquently and kuddos to all you lovely people who devote your time, talents and expertise to blogging. I love you girls and guys.

  • A Special Hug

    Imagine what the world would be if only “experts” were allowed to express themselves! We look into bloggers opinions maybe because they are not so experts (or don’t show off as such) and more close to real life, people with whom we can identify as a “friend”. Everybody has the right to say what they want (even her and I don’t like it). Sometimes copying something may turn into a good adaptation that improves the original idea. Specially in cooking, how many “new” ideas are really out there (besides molecule kitchen or whatever the name is)? It is about adapting what other have done before. The trend is now going back to the caveman diet, isn’t it? (irony)

    • FadraN

      You’re right. Everything is cyclical and most bloggers are just trying to put their own spin on things. Now you have me thinking. Maybe it’s time to resurrect the era of jello molds…

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  • nathashaalvarez

    I’m really shocked that Martha said that because I saw her at Blogher12 in NYC and she praised the bloggers. She gave all of us a year subscription to all of her magazines. She even told us that we should find a way to get paid for our work. It was very inspiring so that’s sad to know that she is now retracting her statements. Kathy is a great person. I love her. I met her almost 10 years ago and she still acts as friendly as ever when we talk. I don’t know about the other women you mentioned. I’ll have to look them up. However, the Pioneer Woman had some negative publicity like Martha Stewart. Do you remember that? Something about how she wasn’t authentic with her audience. Something like that. Thanks for writing this post. I am still shocked. :(

    • FadraN

      I’ve never met the Pioneer Woman (unlike the other bloggers I mentioned) but I do know that she is actually the reason my husband started reading a blog! And people that have met her in real life tell me she’s super friendly. Regardless, people respect her writing and her cooking and that has turned her into an “expert” at what she does.

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  • FadraN

    I’ve often said that the difficulty in blogging is that there are no prerequisites. Anyone can start a blog at any time. I think that’s a wonderful thing. But those that work at it from a social media, content creation, and marketing standpoint are usually those that are successful. Do I worry about the 1000 awful blogs that were started last month? No. Because most of them will die a slow death over the next year. The cream rises to the top. Call it natural selection or survival of the fittest but I can’t put someone down for trying.

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  • Larie

    Standing ovation!

  • http://www.coffeewithcheryl.com Cheryl Marble

    Martha Stewart isn’t an expert anything (except maybe fraud). She has researchers who find out how to do things for her. As a matter of fact, I once watched one of her shows in which she was teaching woodcarving…THE WRONG WAY. WITH SHARP TOOLS. I was a professional woodcarver for years and wanted to reach into the television and pommel her because I would be amazed if no one got hurt by her “expertise”.

  • http://www.about100percent.com/ Andrea

    Ooof. Martha, Martha, Martha. *shaking head*

  • http://blog.jmarkafghans.com/ J G Hughes

    Ree Drummond has a show on Food Network – obviously, above and beyond everything else, she’s got some creds.

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  • Marianne

    I’m a “little late” with this, but superb post. You hit the target every time!! It really is a shame that some people just can’t wind down gracefully, but just keep clawing to keep on top. And fans just keep loving her. Amazing! I initially liked her, but lost respect for her professionally a long time ago. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the honest approach.

    Marianne