Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yikes. I did not know I was supposed to take design blogs so seriously.


Photo removed at Holly's request.


Holly of Decor8 writes:


(Update: Holly has since updated the content of her post on the Real Simple website... below is what was posted originally.)

"Because anyone can start a blog also means that anyone will -- so you need to watch what your reading and make sure that the blogger isn't feeding you what they've either stolen off the web elsewhere and that they're walking the talk in their own life. Ask yourself:

Does the blogger have their full name and complete bio readily visible, or at least their email address so you can ask them?

If they are offering advice, do they have the credentials to do so?

And when I say credentials, I don't mean they need to have some fancy background, I just want to know why they have a blog in the first place, what life experiences give them the 'right' to an audience so to speak.

If they show photos on their blog, are they crediting their images giving the source full credit?

Do they write well?

Is their content consistent?

Do they answer comments left on their blog?

Are comments made by fellow readers constructive or are they snarky and bitter?

I think all of these points are very important things to consider because you want to make sure that what you're taking in is worth your precious time. When I read a design blog I have to 'click' with the author. I need to like them."



Read it all HERE.

I missed this a while back (because I never read Real Simple), but I thank Reclaiming Miss Havisham for pointing it out on her blog.

51 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Sorry Decorno, I'm gonna have to quit stopping by as you don't have the right "credentials". Puhleez.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit. I read my favourite blogs because they make me giggle and have pretty pictures. That's enough for me.

And, for the record, there are plenty of asses and windbags with credentials up the ying-yang.

Leslie (Reclaiming Miss Havisham) said...

AHH!!HAHAHA I can't believe you put that picture of her face up. I actually got really nervous when I saw this post like what the fuck do I think is going to happen to me? They're going to send me some sort of eco-friendly pipe bomb in the mail wrapped in amy butler?

Anonymous said...

Ugh. This reminds me of "The Rules."

I don't care what a blogger's "full name" is or whether I can email her to get her "complete bio." Nor do I care what her "life experiences" are or what "right" she has to give an opinion or offer advice, "so to speak."

What brings a reader back to a blog every day? It's about chemistry. Sorry; you can't codify that into a checklist.

Jules said...

I read this on Decor8 (Holly linked to it.) She's also made comments in the past that she's stopped reading design blogs that she thought were too snarky or negative (I'm paraphrasing. I can't recall her exact words.) I always assumed you were pointedly ignoring her comments.

She actually got a lot of heat for that post (she listed her personal, favorite blogs and some not on the list were upset) and ultimately apologized for it on her blog. I don't feel she needed to apologize, but I'm sure some of your readers will argue that point with me.

She's a nice person with a big heart, but she does take blogging seriously. I can't blame her for that too much--for her it's a career and her main source of income. I'd take blogging more serious, too, if it supported my family.

decorno said...

Oh man... the "wrapped in Amy Butler" part killed me.

Can someone please explain to me who Amy Butler is and why I would want to replace my faux-snake stamped leather laptop case with one that looks like it was made from apron remnants?

I'm serious. I need to know.

Anonymous said...

I believe the issue some bloggers were upset about was that she advocated reading no more than ten design blogs, and then listed her top ten.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog....love, love, love. It is the first thing I go to when I have some time for the blogs and surfing. But I don't get why Holly is taking such heat for this? Everyone is up in arms b/c she listed her top ten and offered advice for people who were bogged down? I don't get the list your bio and have a pic thing, but simmer down folks.

See, the thing is you ARE taking blogs so seriously if she can not post such a benign article without everyone getting so pissy.

Geez Louise.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, good question, "Do they write well?".

Hmmmm, I don't know, for example, do they know the difference between "your" and "you're"?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10. I think people take issue with the smug tone of Ms. Becker's article, not that Holly posted her favorite blogs.

mrlfvl said...

I know I am a novice Blogger, but I am pretty sure that Decorno has the copyright on the term "snarky" - she used it first and best...

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:18: To those people I say... chin up, no tears now.

I read it, thought nothing of it again except how silly and childish everyone was being for taking offense once I read the pandemonium it had created.

The Nerdy Fashionista said...

I actually find blogs (design ones especially) to be completely and utterly vapid UNLESS the writer is a snarky, hilarious, irreverent pain in the ass. The second anyone seems to be taking themselves and their blog too seriously I am dunzo.

And anyone can post "ikat!" and "pretty!" but I love seeing unusual, funky stuff from unexpected sources. For example, I may have hated it on sight, but I absolutely love the fact that you posted that psychotic albino sizzlean chandelier!

Decorno said...

HAW! I almost forgot about the albino sizzlean! And I bet you guys wish you could, too... but, alas... here it is again:

http://decorno.blogspot.com/2008/01/who-makes-this.html

Anonymous said...

The irony is delicious!

Anonymous said...

You will never see a phrase like "albino sizzlelean" on Decor8.

And ultimately, that's what will keep Decor8 from ever being great.

visual vamp said...

We're sick addicted bitches, and I love everyone of you.

alis said...

I love decor8, honestly I do. But when I read that interview with Holly I felt like the blogger outlaw, because I only post/comment under a nickname and that's it. You could be a random middle aged man from a pig farm and I couldn't care less, as long as you keep writing the funny/witty stuff you write.

perchance said...

I keep my name off my blog because I am employed in the retail furnishings industry and want to keep a professional distance. My first name is so unusual, my employer would know it was me in an instant. I have two design degrees and have been in the biz 20 years, but I hope that comes through in my writing without my posting a blog resume. I agree with Jules - transparency is more important for people who earn an income from blogging. For others, like me, it's more of an open online diary.

Anonymous said...

Decor and design: it's an aesthetic experience, so it will always be at least partly subjective and irrational. For example, all the "credentials" in the world won't make me like Billy Baldwin's allegedly "classic" slipper chair. I still think it's a dumpy piece of furniture.

So: no, credentials aren't what I'm looking for in a design blog. Original thinking is.

Pieter said...

I unsubscribed from Decor8 a few months ago and can happily say that Decorno has filled the gap left by an absence of Amy Butler design competitions and photo essays on Holly's fabulous bi-continental life. I think it's dangerous for bloggers to get too self-important and prescriptive. There's always a Blaire to bring Jenny back down to earth.
xoxo (sorry that was tacky)

Anonymous said...

Holly is an sanctimonious self-promoter. I can't stand her holier than thou attitude.

Oh and also, she has terrible taste.

Anonymous said...

when i hear the word credentials i think of $$$. if i wanted someone with credentials i would hire an interior designer. i like to read about everyday people and how they decorate their homes. people with normal salaries, not some woman who met her husband over the internet on an international dating site and spends 1/2 her time in germany and blogs about ugly european decor. yes, i'm talking about you Holly!

Anonymous said...

hey, I met my cat over a website. Don't be hatin'!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10, I think I love you. Holly's inability to keep your/you're and its/it's straight drives. me. bonkers. Not that I don't read her, but boy, the "do they write well" line in her original post sure rubbed me the wrong way.
I only discovered Decorno a few weeks ago but it's quickly become one of my favorite reads.

Anonymous said...

I agree there are too many design blogs, saying the same things over and over:

"Did you go to Charlotte Moss' pretty store?"

"Did you see Ruthie Sommers'/Mary MacDonald's/Some Other Chick's pretty project in 'Domino'?"

"Isn't Ivanka Trump pretty? Isn't her apt. pretty?"

"Look at this fabric by Lulu! Pretty!"

etc.

Linda Merrill said...

Has anyone else ever thought that the design blog community is much like high school? We have our Queen Bees, Prom Queens, comedians, snarky and fuuny back of the room folks, cheerleaders, serious intellects, etc. etc.

I guess this is what we call growing pains. I wasn't reading Apartment Therapy early on, so I don't know how they went from where they started to where they are, but it feels like it was never as personal as most of the rest of the design blogs. Holly and Grace of design*sponge started and hit big early enough that they came slightly ahead of the "blog smog" (aka the rest of us) so they stand out. Both are successful and make very good money at what they do, which I applaud them for. But, they aren't wide eyed kids blogging in their bunny slippers for the fun of it anymore, they are, for lack of a better term, industry leaders, and need to match their identities with their positions. Holly's opinions matter to people and while she has every right to single out her favorite design blogs (everyone else does, so why shouldn't she?), she needs to be careful not to make it look like she is ostrisizing others. The challenge, I think for them as well as any of us, is to make sure our public "persona" matches our content and how we interact with others. If people perceive a disconnect - or the sense that "now I'm successful, who are you?", there will be pushback, because our medium is so immediate.

One thing I don't like about the internet and blog comments is when negative, and very personal, comments are posted anonymously. Under the guise of secrecy, you can be as mean and nasty as you like, with no ramifications. At least Holly puts her name on her opinions and offers a way to argue back.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster who wrote "You could be a random middle aged man from a pig farm and I couldn't care less."

Kelly said...

I don't think all people post anonymously because they can't handle the dirt they dish, I think some people are just lazy. We all have the right to saw whatever we want and I what do I care what some woman from some blog thinks about me?

Kelly said...

oops, I meant say, not saw

Anonymous said...

Writing under "anonymous" or "John" or "DecorGal" are equivalent to my way of thinking.

The people who give their full, real names do tend to write the safest comments--the blandest, least debatable, most pleasant opinions.

It's like decor magazines. You never see real journalism--with debate or dissention or anything challenged or questioned. It's all basically press releases with photography attached.

decor8 said...

I apologize that what I wrote hurt some of you and came across as smug. Reading it again, weeks after I wrote I, I totally 'see' the point each of you are making. I didn't at first because I had good intentions writing it and thought everyone 'must' know me and how I think and that I support the blogging community. Of course you can all read my mind, right!? But assuming this was wrong on my part.

When I write about blogging in the future, I'll be more considerate of the feelings of others and state some points more clearly as my original blog post didn't quite accomplish that.

I'm sorry.

Holly

Jules said...

The issue with Holly's writing tone is debatable and, I suspect, unintentional on her part. But can you blame Holly for self promoting? Blogging is her livelihood. If she doesn't keep herself in the public eye she loses money to the next design blogger.

Well, I see she's posted since I started my comment. I suspect this debate will now end quietly.

decorno said...

Agree with Jules. Most people with blogs are self-promoting. I am not interested in personal attacks on Holly at all. The debate over the issues she's raised is worthwhile, though.

Although, it's probably over.

martha said...

I actually like Decor8. I also really like Decorno. The one blog i hate the most is desire to inspire. They both have terrible taste when it comes to decorating thier own places. And any negative comment is frowned upon. They expect everyone to agree with them. yuck!

Anonymous said...

When did she post this....I don't read her blog, and I would like to see what her top 10 are - Just curious

Leslie (Reclaiming Miss Havisham) said...

Linda its funny you mention how you think of blogs in high school terms. I have all the blogs I read organized into groups on my google reader! There is the bitch clique, the blogs that aren't blogs but are really online magazines, the popular crowd, the loners, and the chameleons.

I've figured out a pretty good divider. There are the blogs who use swear words and the ones who don't. The latter are probably ones that are being paid. It kinda sucks to gang up on Holly first of all because we dont' really know her and second of all she is making a living off of this, she can't just come in here and call us all cock suckers and to go to hell without destroying the integrity of her blog.

Anonymous said...

Okay, like my disdain for all things Charley Harper, Amy Butler needs to be stopped, stat! Enough already. I am attaching a post I found whilst researching who is this Amy Butler:
http://disdressed.blogspot.com/2006/10/whats-really-fair.html

But, back to blogging credentials: I do read Decor8 because she's local, but I love Decorno because it inspires conversation that everyone seems afraid to have on the more stodgy blogs. There's enough room in the Blogsphere for everyone, well, everyone save Amy Butler.

Anonymous said...

the life experience that gives you the right to an audience??? What fascist should be anointed to make that determination, pray tell?

Anonymous said...

2:09 Anon:

Tell me about your disdain for Charley Harper. I'm starting to like him (his book-cover designs anyway), but not with any strong conviction, so I'm interested in hearing your opinions. Even if I don't end up agreeing with you, you sound like fun.

hello gorgeous said...

Do they write well? "I read less than 10 blogs per day." You read FEWER than 10 blogs per day.

I love Decorno and she is on my must-reads (many times per day in a rhesus monkey sort of obsessive behavior way) and decor8 has somehow slipped off my radar...

No offense to Holly intended, it's just that I don't need to be told what to read or what should interest me. I can pretty much figure it out for myself.

coco+kelley said...

i love that you stirred this up again! and i love that the piece of the post you hated most was also the part i had a problem with. because the comment i wrote on miss h's blog was quite long enough, i wont say anymore here, but jeeeeeez. this IS high school!

Anonymous said...

the fact is that Holly used to be every single one of the items that she listed on her list, and some of them she still is. if you really want to know what her credentials are, see if she'll give you a straight answer about her ASID enrollment...

and the fact that she considers herself a communications professional and writes like a third grader is hilarious. her bio is painful to read, and should really raise questions as to why she feels the need to point out why you SHOULDN'T be reading other sites, instead of focusing solely on why you SHOULD be reading hers.

does she really think her readership is that feeble minded that they look to *her* for advice on what to read?

Oh, yes, she does.

Holly is an unethical backbiting bully.

decorno said...

Whoa tiger!

I think a lot of us agree... it sounded a little smug. And picked at the scabs of all kinds of fun issues like "credentialism" and all that jazz.

That said, I think she sincerely didn't mean to come across that way. She says as much in the comment she left here.

I love that we're having a healthy discussion about the article, but I don't want to go down the road of attacking her personally.

Let's save that vitriol for someone who deserves it, like everyone on The Hills and Jennifer Aniston. :)

Anonymous said...

Her response is smug and the apology is half-assed. DN, you say you think she didn't mean to come across that way, but I didn't see any retraction of the essence of her post. She supports the blogging community but she stands by her stupid rules. Fuck that!

Anonymous said...

All right, I'm not crazy about that blog either, but you're going after a mosquito with a sledge hammer here.

anonymous from 05.22 12.22pm said...

DN, your post begs a criticism of Holly, so it's a bit late to say that wasn't the point... Respecting your wishes, however, I'll say that the reasons that were listed in Holly's post are not at all reasons to choose or not choose a blog for any person with an IQ over say 3. Not three years of age, but THREE. OK, except maybe for the 'do they write well'...but even then, there's a lot of mindless mediocrity out there that has a following. The point is that people like what they like for a myriad of reasons, or for no reasons other than they like it. The choice of a blog is not the choice of a heart surgeon. Holly doesn't get that and never will. Whether it is her livelihood or not,there's a difference between self promotion and underhanded attempts to discredit others. There really is no reasoable explanation for writing something like that about a *BLOG* (as you rightly point out in the title of your post).

If you've never had to deal with her, never been bullied by her, never been threatened by her and her husband, never been harassed by them, you can't know what/who is really behind that post.

anonymous from 05.22 12.22pm

Anonymous said...

"..bullied by her...threatened by her and her husband...harassed by them."

Decorno: Did YOU experience any of this? Leslie: Did you?

Anon 5:22, unless you can provide specifics, you risk coming off as a little delusional.

Honestly, that blogger seems, at worst, a little bland and maybe a little out of touch with the decorating world. A not-great writer, and a little self-absorbed, but mostly innocuous and highly ignorable. In other worse, like 98 percent of the bloggers out there.

So unless you're willing to cough up specifics...

Decorno said...

No.

Let's be clear:

My post doesn't beg for criticism of *Holly.* It begged for criticism of what she wrote. I think it's possible to comment on or even fully reject (or laugh at or mock) an idea without attacking the person. It's a fine line, but people can manage it.

You are implying you have other bad experiences with her directly, which I am not dismissing, but I just don't have experience with that to form any kind of opinion. I welcome comments about the content of per article/post, but I do want to draw the line at casting aspersions on her character and behavior when (a) that goes beyond the intent of my post (b) that could be better handled directly with her and (c) well, it's just kinda bringing me down.

I don't want to be dismissive of you at all. But I don't want this blog to become a slam-book on other bloggers. Happy to battle it out on ideas and taste and style etc, but not battle people.

Unless it's Jen Aniston, Carlos Mancia, Holly & Spencer, anyone from The Hills, Pam Anderson, or Denise Richards. Open season on celebs we don't know, my friends.

Decorno said...

Holly emailed me directly about this post. She was direct, fair, honest, and pleasant. So no, I haven't experienced this with Holly, to answer Anon 7:16s comments.

I am kind of embarrassed we are still discussing this. Holly is trying to have a nice long weekend and people are making accusations about her integrity. Anon, can you put it on pause for now and take it up with Holly over email? This is just a bad scene.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty new to the blog world and have thoroughly enjoyed decorno's posts. I do read other bloggers as well though and have been pretty impressed for the most part on the caliber of people out there sharing their knowledge as well as baring their soles. I have not read decor8's writings yet. But from the sound of it most of you have. The fact that she probably pitched a story and was invited to write for a publication speaks to what I percieve must be a talented gal. I agree that her words might sound a bit smug but I think it bares to be said that anyone out there taking the time to read blogs isn't going to limit themselves to the few she suggests. How boring would that be? I started with one blog and was led to another and another and will continue looking for thought provoking well written people who make me laugh (has everyone read decorno's post on Jen Aniston and the comments???? Actually that one made me blush a little too!) and inspire me to do something I might not had ever tried had I not read their interesting take on any given topic. I do think all this backbitting is a bit sophomoric. But I will also agree that it makes for a very interesting read.