Spot the Difference

As I sat on the couch last night and tried to finish up a client ezine, Vista got up from the floor where she was using Bil as a jungle gym, grabbed her ‘laptop’, and climbed up on the couch next to me.

V at photoshoot Spot the DifferencePart of me laughed, but there was a little part of me that was completely horrified. I want her to be two. I want her to play with blocks and barbies. I want her to create with paintbrush not Paint.Net.

So I watched the great interest when Momspotting was launched on BlogHer back in November. I wanted to see how other moms handled technology with their children. I wanted to see how they navigated this digital minefield.

I have to say, I’ve been a bit disappointed so far.

Momspotting has become less about families and technology and more about being in an exclusive group.

It’s easy to find this group of moms. Just do a search on Twitter for the hashtag #momspotting.

Oh, but don’t use it yourself. Oh no. That hash tag is just for this exclusive group. If you use it and they catch you, you will be sent a sternly worded DM or email letting you know that YOU are not a Momspotter and THEY are and YOU can’t use #momspotting because it’s only for THEM.

I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

I’ve never personally gotten one of these gems myself, but I have several friends who have and have showed me the polite, but stern, ‘you’re not one of us’ notes.

So instead of Momspotting opening a dialogue about how we protect and direct our children in this age of technology, it’s become a marker to denote a closed group. This has been evidenced by more and more of these tweets having nothing to do with technology (and wasn’t that the point?)

I think this was a noble initiative. And it had (and still does have) huge potential. But it needs to be an inclusive conversation starter.

Rather than having these 20 or so moms ‘owning’ this hashtag, why not make them the leaders instead? Let them prompt, coach, and encourage everyone to share their own experiences, their own tips, their own rules around technology and their families.

But by shutting people down when they try to participate and use the #momspotting tag, they’re nullifying a huge part of the effect they could have. People want to be part of a conversation, not just spoken at.

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46 Responses to Spot the Difference

  • I’ve always wondered what that hashtag was about. Now I’m inclined to start using it just so I can get me some stern DMs. Seems this self-proclaimed cool group sadly miss the point of social media.

    Great Post Jenn.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Maria @BOREDmommy,
    I think a lot of people just didn’t get the hashtag but were afraid to ask. Perhaps one of the good thing to come out of this is answers and awareness.

  • Lu says:

    I am so out of it, yeah yeah. I didn’t even know what the heck that as until yesterday and when I found out I was all WHAT THE F IS THE POINT OF THAT. You are going to TELL me, but not talk to me. Most of those women don’t follow me anyway. I am not in their clique. That’s one of the reasons I don’t comment on any of their blogs. Some of them have grown too big for their britches.
    Personally I think BlogHer should be ashamed of singling people out. I thought the whole point was community. But I guess it’s more like a sorority.

    Jenn Reply:


    Oh, it wasn’t BlogHer themselves (even though this was a blogher group). I think it was a miscommunication somewhere and some of the moms got carried away and took it too far.
    The result was a lot of hurt feelings and an almost anti-brand movement (like you saw over the past few days)

    Lu Reply:

    @Jenn, Yeah, well the part about them being compensated and never mentioning that is a big deal. Somehow. I think.
    .-= Lu´s last blog ..The one time my husband’s boss tried to kill him. For real. =-.

  • jenn says:

    see, things like this make me so angry! i did a post awhile back about moms ripping each other apart. when will women stop and lift each other up, instead of tear each other down, when will they use their popularity for good instead of excluding and slamming the door in another moms face?!my kids have a huge fascination with technology of all kinds, sometimes i wonder whether they need this one step ahead to get them through our technology advanced world or if they have time to sit back and be children, pick up paper and pen instead of email, board games instead of online games, etc. excellent thought provoking post!
    .-= jenn´s last blog ..Morning Glory =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    I think a lot of us are guilty of that. It seems like whenever you get a group of women together you run the risk of politicking and competition.

    But exactly what you mentioned is why I’m interested in this. At what point does it become too much technology and what kind of skills are our kids losing by becoming more tech savvy at an early age.

  • *sigh*

    that’s all i got when it comes to BH.

    but i’m really glad you wrote this post.
    .-= nic @mybottlesup´s last blog ..Old Rasputin XII Russian Imperial Stout =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    @nic @mybottlesup,

    Thanks sweets. As always, I appreciate your support.

  • Kekibird says:

    Humm….Maria read my mine. Curious to use it just so I can test out the “hand slap” I’d receive afterward. Group that proclaim “Exclusiveness” bother me, especially when it’s coupled with stern warnings for outsiders. Bummer, could have been a great thing to be apart of.
    .-= Kekibird´s last blog ..Playing Tag….are you in?? =-.

  • Heather says:

    See, this is kinda why I’ve been hiding lately. I’m tired of the whole cliquey world (as evidenced by last week’s rant regarding special needs parents…you cheerleader you!).

    I’m gonna go spot me some moms. Dammit.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Special Needs Parenting 101 =-.

  • wow i had no idea they would dm you and tell you to NOT use it. unreal. jenna was cracking me up last night with all her momspotting tweets!
    .-= Becky @TheRealBecks´s last blog ..Twitter advice =-.

  • Maria says:

    I’ve seen people getting kind of bent out of shape about this hashtag recently and it’s totally beyond me why that would be the case. It’s a marketing initiative. It’s business. These individuals are being compensated for participating in a sponsored conversation.

    Yes, it’s exclusive by definition, but really what are people missing out on? Talking about technology? Talk about technology! There’s no immense value, as far as I can tell, to being a “momspotter.”

    I think all of us are totally capable of sharing how technology influences our children and the ways we parent. I don’t think we actually need a sponsored hashtag to communicate with each other.

    As far as the DMs go, now that surprises me. Obviously no one can control what people say and do on Twitter. This has been made clear during many Twitter parties when spammers hop on board the hashtag or people who don’t agree use the hashtag to share their criticisms (or in cases I’ve witnessed just start calling hundreds of moms assholes for giving their kids chocolate milk.)

    But really beyond those alleged misguided attempts to get others to STOP using #momspotting I’m not seeing how it could be construed as some awesome club that people are missing out on. Many of the big mom-marketing groups have hashtags in association with marketing initiatives and product launches and twitter parties and events. I guess I’m missing something as to why this one is any different. (Beyond that weird bit where some people are saying they were told to stop using it.)

    I think your suggestions regarding leadership and conversation starting are great, by the way. These social media marketing initiatives are still such a new frontier. Smart suggestions and real time mistakes and triumphs will continue to shape the way new media marketing campaigns are handled.
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..don’t feed the elephant in the room any peanuts =-.

    Colleen Reply:

    Can I just say “What she said” since I feel so bad and can’t wrap my brain eloquently around the English language right now?

    Great post and I hope it draws some attention!
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..Jacksonville Friends of Maddie =-.

    Miss Grace Reply:

    @Maria, Yeah, that. It’s a good thing I have you here to think my thoughts for me, or lord knows I’d never get anything done.
    .-= Miss Grace´s last blog ..Diptych – Fresh =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    As always, you make brilliant points.

    I think the big (only) thing that was at issue here was that a few people were being told not to use the tag by a few other people. And you know what happens when you tell people they can’t do something… chaos ensues ;-)

    And I think the difference between this and, say, a twitter party, is that this came off as exclusionary (rightly or not), and that can get tempers flaring.

    You’re right, though. I think sometimes we forget how new social marketing really is and there are still kinks to be worked out (heck, even mainstream marketing runs into SNAFU’s sometimes still).

  • PsychMamma says:

    Wonderfully said. We really don’t need more exclusivity. Seems like, if the hashtag was open to all, a door would be open for a much richer conversation. The more people you get involved, the more ideas are contributed. I would have been much more impressed with BlogHer if they would have opened the discussion, then welcomed ALL to discuss on blogs or via hashtags. Choosing a select few does not foster a sense of community and openness, and left me feeling disappointed in BlogHer. A select few are supposedly representing what life is like for all of us, but it’s often not like my life at all.

    A small aside? #momspotting seems like it should include all things “mom.” If it’s all about tech, maybe the hashtag should specify that with #techmoms or #kidtech, etc.
    .-= PsychMamma´s last blog ..Random Handy Tips =-.

    Colleen Reply:

    @PsychMamma, Maybe we all should start up one of those hashtags… r better yet, #momspotting2 just for the kick in the ass factor.
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..Jacksonville Friends of Maddie =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    I won’t comment on the main part of your comment, as I know you’ve had the chance to chat with the BlogHer ladies and clear things up. But you make an interesting point about the hashtag and whether it was the best / most appropriate choice, considering the intended topic. I agree that momspotting seems like it should encompass a broader spectrum of topics.

  • Maria says:

    Just wanted to share some resources on Momspotting, after a little research. FYI, I’m not part of the BlogHer ad network OR review network. Coming from a marketing background, I’m just interested in this debate and kind of curious over why this particular campaign is ruffling features.

    As far as I know, the creators of the group have always encouraged EVERYONE to use the hashtag. So I’m curious as to whether or not the people who got DMs were just being silly or rude with it or something…
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..don’t feed the elephant in the room any peanuts =-.

    Maria Reply:

    @Maria, Ruffling feathers, that is. ;)
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..don’t feed the elephant in the room any peanuts =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    Thanks for posting all those links. I did look before posting this to see if I could find a definitive use/don’t use term anywhere and it wasn’t spelled out. So perhaps the spirit of it got muddled somewhere. I am glad that BlogHer stepped up today and clarified that momspotting is meant for general use.

    And to answer your question about the silly / rude… I know we’ve both seen a lot of that in the past few days, but no. The ones that were requested to stop were actually being used in a respectful manner and were along the same lines as the Momspotters themselves. Which is why I think a lot of hurt feelings were involved. These people felt shut down by ‘big’ bloggers who they looked up to and respected. Never a nice feeling.

  • Hi Jenn:

    I’m sorry you had this experience, because I can assure you that the #momspotting hashtag was expressly *not* designed to be for the exclusive use of the 20 moms who are participating in our Family Connections Group project. Of course, we were hoping others would chime in with their own experiences, and that we could see and share them.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and we are reaching out to the group now to clarify.

    Feel free to forward me any messages such as those described above that you got or if you get one again, but I hope that we can clear this up very quickly.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer

  • Avasmommy says:

    I found out about this whole “don’t use the hashtag thing” yesterday. Immediately the 12 year old asshole in me rebelled at the thought of someone telling me I can’t say a word on twitter, hashtag or not. If you don’t own the word (copyright), it’s fair game for anyone to use it. I agree that it should have been used as an opportunity for those chosen moms to be leaders in their community. It’s too bad it turned into another high school clique.
    .-= Avasmommy´s last blog ..Giving the Readers What They Want =-.

  • Stacie says:

    You have a great point there. Wow I am totally floored that these women actually claim the hashtag and then rip someone a new one that they are not in this club. How childish is that. It could be a good thing for others like you said and has potential.

  • Interesting. I’ve used the #momspotting hash tag on several occasions and have never received a threatening DM to stop. I’m sure I’ve used it in the “wrong” context too. I didn’t realize it had anything to do with technology and thought it had everything to do with being a mom and how we parent. Why wouldn’t it? Sounds like a hashtag with that particular purpose in my opinion.

    Jenn Reply:

    @*Pixie* @,

    I’m not sure why a few women got the request to stop while others didn’t. Perhaps it was just who saw it? I don’t know.

    But I agree, it does seem like a general hashtag rather than something that would be tech specific.

  • Miss says:

    I’ve had growing disdain for the BlogHer brand for about a year now. While it might have something to do with me collecting ALL of their rejection letters (volunteering, ads, panels, ETC.) last year prior to the conference, I’ve witnessed a LOT of cliquishness and favorites being played up in that org. They hire friends, they offer these marketing schemes like momspotting to people they know, with a few unknowns thrown in to cover their ass. Clearly, I’m not a fan.

    Now they are working to fix their image of this stupid hashtag because some people they paid to use it are being jerks about it. Which is hilarious. #momspotting is open to everyone huh? Well then blogher, throw me down a free phone and a pile of cash and I’ll use your hashtag just the way you intended. Otherwise, I’m not interested in engaging in a conversation about moms using technology. THAT particular topic became old news when every mom out there got a blog, a smart phone, and a twitter account. What did they think we were all doing in the first place? You won’t catch me promoting this ridiculous brand for free. I’d be willing to bet some of the paid momspotters wouldn’t have done it for free either.

    The compensation is the biggest problem I have with this. Had they launched this without paying anyone, and really made it open to everyone, people WOULD have used it because BlogHer promoted it. Now they just want people to use it because its such a great idea. Except 20 women got paid to think that and the rest of us are just suckers. I can’t respect an organization that feels that way about women.
    .-= Miss´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Hide and Seek =-.

    Kat @DrawingCowboys Reply:

    @Miss, thank you.

    Jenn Reply:

    Wow. Um… I feel like I should make you up a little award or something for collecting all the rejection letters. lol

    I obviously haven’t been around long enough to know a lot of the drama and stuff that’s gone down in the past. But I think where there are women gathering, you get the cliques and everything that go with them.

    I have to say, I feel really stupid though. Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t realized the momspotting was that subsidized (Duh me… let me make up a little ‘you’re naive’ award for myself)

    Miss Reply:

    @Jenn, An award WOULD make me feel a whole bunch better. ;) And don’t feel stupid, I never saw Blogher being up front about these people being compensated, which is another reason why it doesn’t sit well with me. Why hide that? Because some people don’t like to do things for free when others are getting paid? *shrug*
    .-= Miss´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Hide and Seek =-.

  • How ridiculous. Can someone explain to me how one group/person can “own” a hashtag? Anyone?
    Yeah. Exactly.
    What arrogance on their part to assume that they can, and do.
    .-= thepsychobabble´s last blog ..I caved =-.

  • A little late on commenting. I was too busy on Twitter this morning making comedy over this situation.

    I want to give kudos to Jenn for airing this out, whether it was gossip or truth or a mixture of both. When these types of situations come about in the community they need to be brought out into the open and not hidden. Theses are the very situations that divide us, when they should in fact bring us together.

    One of the reasons I made lite of the hashtag #momspotting this morning was not out of anger towards Blogher or any particular MomSpotting participant, but more so how something that is meant to unite us as bloggers can quickly turn into dividing us. It was my reasoning that the more moms who used the #momspotting hashtag the more people would be aware of what MomSpotting was so it seemed odd to me that those who were not actual MomSpotting bloggers would be chastised for using it.

    There are two good things that came from this and that is the awareness that the hashtag was in no way meant to be exclusive to the mother’s who are participating bloggers for MomSpotting and that a lot of people now know what MomSpotting is that had no idea before.
    .-= Kim @ Beautiful Wreck´s last blog ..Random Tuesday Thoughts: Rodents, Roxxxy, and Botox =-.

  • Kellee says:

    This is awesome. Also, Kim (above me) did some truly hilarious things with momspotting this morning. SO funny.

    But yes, it is a shame when people decide to elitist and therefor stunt themselves from what they could truly be.
    .-= Kellee´s last blog ..Pardon my dust =-.

  • Sarah says:

    I find it interesting that the original premise was supposed to be about technology because of the twitter conversations I have seen with that hashtag my guess would be that 95% had nothing to do with technology and was regular moms talking about their kids.

    Honestly whenever I saw that hashtag I usually ignored the person because it was annoying and the group using them acted like they were special for using it. Its just a fake word people, using your own special language is very elementary school, especially when you start saying no one else can use it. I suddenly am fighting the urge to follow in Kim’s footsteps and go have some twitter fun.

    Jenn Reply:


    ROFL. Your reference to a special language and elementary school had me howling. Because, yeah, there were girls in my school who did that. I didn’t get it then. Don’t get it now. lol

    nic @mybottlesup Reply:

    @Jenn, o day ou yay ow knay ig pay atin lay?
    .-= nic @mybottlesup´s last blog ..Old Rasputin XII Russian Imperial Stout =-.

  • patois says:

    I’m only puzzled as to why I gave Apple such a hard time for calling it iPad and never heaped similar disdain on moms bleeding through. Er, I mean momspotting.
    .-= patois´s last blog ..Wordy Wednesday #94: You Don’t Know Dick =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    Yeah, we totally missed a golden opportunity with that one, didn’t we. *hangs head in shame*

  • I’m completely lost here. I just don’t get any of it. I thought we were participating in a free world on Twitter and are free to state and own an opinion. I have found so much support regarding parenting there and I will continue to use it because of the awesome friendships and also ideas/encouragement I get from it. I don’t understand this sponsoring, or BlogHer or he said/she said stuff. Maybe because I’m too naive to think that any mother or father would want to reach out and encourage another parent, no matter what? That we all share ideas and tips and are free to offer our opinions respectfully of course.

    I’ve thought about attending BlogHer because I’m interested in how to improve my blogging – now I’m having doubts because I see so much division in groups that participate. I might not be one of the ones “in the know” per se, but in my humble opinion we are all on equal playing ground to start with, in that we are mostly participating to learn something from each other. Am I missing something more important here??

    Confused, but thanks Jenn for explaining the issue and bringing it to light. : ) You’re awesome like that. : )

    Jenn Reply:

    @Tricia (irishsamom),

    It’s because you rise above that this wouldn’t make any sense to you. A lot of the time I don’t even understand it. Some of it is drama, some of it is politicking, and some of it is just a misunderstanding.

    But you should definitely come to BlogHer so I can give you a hug in person!!

  • sharon says:

    I love that you bring things to my attention and make me think. Sometimes thinking hurts but it is still good to do it every now and then. The best thing about you is that you are not afraid to just speak your mind.Thankyou.

    Jenn Reply:


    There are still times where I need to learn that, while it’s OK to speak out, sometimes I need to temper it with common sense and a dash of ‘shut the fuck up’

  • VDog says:

    I’ve used the #momspotting hashtag and felt no ill effect.

  • Karen says:

    Holy crap. A few measly days away from twitter and look what I miss! I never understood the hashtag in the first place so I just ignored all those tweets anyway. My question is, if you want something to be kind of exclusive, what’s the point of doing it in public? #contradictionspotting?
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..This Post Has Nothing To Do With Arthur Fonzarelli =-.

  • Mandi Bone says:

    I am not a writter.I barely write comments because I think I sound like an idiot.I would love to go to these confences just to see people who’s writting I admire in person.

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