I’m starting to believe what they say about women’s cycles synchronizing when they spend time together. Clearly the women on Twitter this week are on a mission to take down someone, somewhere. The mommybloggers are out for blood.
It started with the whole PR blackout thing. From there both sides argued back and forth till they were blue in the face, and apparently the topic even made it to the BlogHer conference this weekend. No casualties have been reported so far, so all seems well there, and hopefully a consensus was reached.
Then last night I started seeing mention of an incident that made me do a double-take. It seems at least one mommyblogger at the BlogHer 2009 conference was invited to a party held by Nikon, but then was turned away when the limo arrived to pick them up, because they had babies in tow. ‘No babies allowed’ was the rule of the evening, and when news of this hit Twitter, the BlogHers were on it like a hungry pitbull on a raw steak.
Just as viciously I might add. The hashtag ‘#nikonhatesbabies’ was quickly created, and news spread like wildfire. What started as an event to reach out to these women bloggers turned into what is likely to be their worst hurry-up-and-cover-your-ass PR shitstorm of the year.
I have to admit to being a little shocked at first. Women bloggers..babies..not allowing babies at the event? Seems like horribly distorted logic to me. Then I started reading into it.
Once you get past the OMG no they didn’t! bit, it starts to make sense. This is Nikon’s first year at BlogHer, a very important fact to remember. What Nikon saw going into this was demographics. Women ages whatever to whatever, bloggers, active in social media, average reach of whatever number audience. Just as they would with any other event they looked to sponsor. The problem came when they failed to look beyond what they saw on paper. It was not Nikon’s direct decision to not allow babies. That policy was actually dictated by the venue that was booked. Yes, Nikon was in charge of picking the place, but remember again, Nikon has never been to BlogHer before.
Women need to remember that babies and conferences traditionally do not go together. Blogher is incredibly progressive in that they welcome and help arrange childcare for those mothers who have to bring their kids. Most conferences cannot or do not make that sort of provision. Which means that there is a very good chance that this is the first time Nikon has dealt with an event of this sort that babies even become an issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Nikon was any way right in this. Whoever they put in charge of coordinating this event dropped the ball. Turning away influential women you invited to a party *because they are influential* is going to land you in a little hot water, no avoiding it.
Yet I can’t help but feel bad for Nikon here. The restaurant’s policy was clear- no babies. When that venue is providing the space and the food, it’s not like they could have at that very moment picked up and moved it elsewhere. Their hands were tied, and they had to make do the best they could.
In the end, it was a mistake. A bad, bumbly mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.
One that certainly does not warrant trying to declare to Twitter and the world that “#nikonhatesbabies”. Because they don’t. They are a company like any other, who made a simple error in planning, in an arena that they are just starting to dip a toe into. They are new to this, and they made a blunder. We all have at some point.
What concerns me is what effect this outcry for blood is going to do to future events. After being labeled baby-haters this year, what do you actually think the chances are that Nikon, a large company with a lot of cash to spend, will actually sponsor future BlogHer events? Sponsorship BlogHer relies on to keep these events affordable for everyone. Again, we are not talking about a company that knew the rules and purposely stepped on people’s toes, just one who didn’t understand how the game is played, and dropped the ball because of it.
I can’t understand why the knee-jerk reaction is to make as much of a shitstorm as possible, when it seems to me all they need is a little educating. I think a few thoughtfully written letters to Nikon explaining their blunder would have been far more useful, and less likely to fuck things up for everyone in terms of future BlogHer sponsorship.
With great power comes great responsibility, and in this case, it’s being wielded about as carefully as a hyper 2 year old with a freshly sharpened butcher knife.