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How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom?

By Char

the lookWhile visiting with my Mom this morning, the topic of what I do came up and when I got to the part about blogging, I got a the RCA dog look from her. Sure, she understands that I design web sites and occasionally do print work, but blogging means nothing to her. So, I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that I could explain it to her using her world – running the nursery on the farm and going to the farmers market.

I started off by making a few basic comparisons – her primary business (now that she and my Dad are retired) is her farm nursery and selling plants, eggs, and veggies. My primary business is web design and consulting.

Then I introduced the concept of the farmer’s market and how once a week she packs up her best plants and goes to the farmer’s market in town to sell. My version of the farmer’s market is this blog – an extension of my business where I share the best of what I have to offer.

She still didn’t quite get it, so I explained in more detail.

Farmer’s Market Vendors = Bloggers

The individual vendors at the market remind me a lot like the bloggers I know. Each one of the vendors has a unique product to sell – and while there may be 5 vendors selling plants, each one is a bit different and each one has a unique story behind it. Sound familiar? Just as I am web designer, so are David Airey, Dawud Miracle, Randa Clay, Lisa Sabin-Wilson and others – but we each bring something slightly different to the marketplace – all of which is good.

660083 le march

There aren’t just vendors selling plants at the market, there are vendors with produce, vendors selling fresh baked goods, meat, jellies, and more. The same goes for the blogosphere – we aren’t all web designers – we each have our own niche.

Another thing I noticed about the vendors. They all have PASSION for what they bring to the market. If you stop in and ask my Mom a question about how to transplant your favorite perennial, her eyes light up and she will gladly share what she knows about it, whether you buy from her or not.

The vendors also help each other. I witnessed them helping one another set up and take down their booths. The vendor next to my Mom each week sells fruits (mainly berries) and some veggies. Yesterday when they had sold out of asparagus, one of the ladies brought the bucket of water that the asparagus had been sitting in over to my Mom. My Mom used the nutrient rich water to give her big pots of plants a drink. Much like bloggers share plug-in tips.

They even barter – just like we do. My Mom brings farm eggs for the berry ladies and in return she receives some fruit – depending on what is in season that week.

People at the Farmer’s Market = Readers in the Blogosphere

While watching my daughter sell lemonade at my Mom’s booth with amazing ease, I noted that there are three main types of people who go to the market:

People who walk by each booth and glance over briefly to see what is there then keep going. These are a lot like your RSS subscribers. They are interested in knowing what you have to offer, but will only click into your blog if you give them a compelling reason to do so.

Then there are those who stop in, look around, listen in to a conversation, but say nothing themselves. They may or may not make a purchase, but they like what they see and hear, so they will most likely be back.

And about this time, my Mom “got it”.

625913 fuschiaThen there are her regulars. The people that come to visit her booth week in and week out. They stop and talk, share information, share tidbits about their lives – they engage in conversation. They build a relationship with my Mom. Whether they make a purchase or not is of no difference to my Mom – she keeps going back to the market because of these customers have become her friends.

Often, the regulars at the market and purchase one or two items, join in the conversation, and develop the relationship, end up taking the next step.

The next step, in this case, is going to the farm to make their flower and egg purchases. According to my Mom, when her customers take that step, their purchases go from one or two flowers to complete flats, a hanging basket or two, and some good advice to go along with it.

So why aren’t more businesses blogging?

This was my Mom’s next question. My answer was something to the effect of “they don’t get it – yet”.

Part of what we need to do is to help businesses understand the benefits blogging can have on their business and their relationships with customers and employees. In order to do this, we need to listen to business owners and relate the power of blogging in a way they can understand.

Strawberries, anyone?

Categories : Blogging, Doing Business



Interesting analogy! Another way I think it works is how there is a movement towards shopping locally and not shopping at the big chain stores that ship groceries in from far away. With blogs, it’s giving support to the smaller person and not only getting news and opinion from the usual mass media outlets.


Well done for coming up with that metaphor – it works well! :) I agree in principal with getting businesses blogging, but…

There’s business people like you, David, Randa, me etc. We all have a lot to say, and are happy to share our experience and knowledge with an ever-hungry hoard of readers. This is what I like to call ‘constructive blogging’.

There’s also business people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs though. When they attempted to do something like blogging, they generally end up writing about their latest product release or acquisition – or worse still don’t bother at all, and get somebody to ghost write it for them! This is what I call ‘destructive blogging’.

If we (as designers and developers) can be sure that the businesses we’re dealing with (or their staff at least) fall into the constructive category, then I’m all for encouraging them to join the blogosphere..! :)


Such a great post Char. It’s a good analogy and I’m glad it worked for your mom so she can understand what you do a little better. The virtual world is so foreign to many in the generation just ahead of us, so an analogy like yours is a great way to make that “light bulb” go on!


This is a brilliant analogy! Thanks for sharing.


Wow.. that is so interesting. I am even having my problems explaining what is Internet to my mum who has little education. Maybe I should show her how LIVE how blogging works too…


I enjoyed reading that, Char.

Relating a topic to another person’s experiences is a good skill to have.

Why aren’t more businesses blogging?

It’s a good question, but one you answer well. With explanations like yours I’m sure the upturn will continue with more pace. It’s all about empathising.

Have you got some cream for those strawberries?


Hi Char

Star post! (I first wanted to write: And the Winner is.. ;-) )

As I’m having ‘difficulties’ explaining how much blogging could ‘profit’ one of my very good friends (business consultant with the attitude of a conversational blogger) I’m going to send him a link to your post. It explains everything (from reasons to readers to commenters) so very well!

Thanks for this.

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


Webomatica – An added analogy of bloggers vs. the mass media – thanks for that one!

Paul – thanks for your additional insights. It’s too bad some of the big corporate execs don’t take on blogging the way we do – I bet if they gave it real try they would have fun with it too.

Randa & Lillie – thanks for the kind words. I learned the analogy trick from my husband – he is the king of analogies.

Doris – give it a try – you’d be surprised how well it can work.

David – Cream for the strawberries – coming right up! The strawberries that we got from the ladies next to my Mom’s booth on Saturday were fabulous! They were at their peak of ripeness.


Karin – Thanks for stopping in today and for passing on the link.


Hey Char,
That is a great way to explain blogging to your mom. I wasn’t quite as successful in trying to explain to my mom, but I think she finally got it too.
This is a great post for my WAH/Blogging project, it fits perfectly with the concept of using Blogging for Business. :-)


Joe – I also thought it was a perfect match for your group writing project. I already have Lorelle’s book on order, but that is a very cool prize. Good luck to all who enter.

All – if the comments look all out of order I apologize. I reset the clock on the admin panel to match the time here and it did not adjust previously posted comments. Sorry for the confusion.


This is such fun. I just dialed your number and I hope that you’ll answer. Oops, I got your voice mail. I guess you could say that I’m phoning in the first part of my commnt. Then the rest will be on my blog as a post.

Needless to say I think this post is outstanding. :)


Liz – it was so nice to talk with you and get your comments a different way! Have a wonderful afternoon.


I just told mine I have one blog that I basically write my thoughts in, kind of like I’m writing in a journal but putting it on the web for everyone to see. haha, you can picture how that went. Another I told them I write all about celebrities and what’s going on in their lives. This seems to have worked for now, not entirely sure if they know what I do or not but no more questions.


[...] Two weeks ago it was Derrick Sorles saying we’re pizza makers. This morning it was Char with this outstanding post. How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom? [...]


This post is ripe for the picking! And now that Mom “gets it” – I hope she helps spread the gospel. Wonderful story!


Mike – thanks for getting off the blogging freeway and stopping by!



Bravo! Your analogy holds up and holds the reader from start to finish. What an inspired way to describe blogging!

You design just as well in words!



Great comparison here. The generation behind us really has a hard time grasping the concept of “blogging” and what they do know they simply associate with silly social networking sites like Myspace.


Boy, is this a great story, told very well!

I’ve been trying to explain blogs to people for years; some of them get it, some of them (including my wife) know the lyrics, but still don’t hum the tune.

Just as a note, that RCA dog’s name is Nipper. I didn’t know that until I took an assignment an RCA plant; my mother asked me if they let me play with Nipper. Apparently, back in the 1920s and 1930s, everybody knew Nipper’s name, but through the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, I hadn’t picked it up.

And these days, there are probably people who don’t have the slightest idea of what the “RCA dog” is all about. If they google on “his master’s voice”, it turns out there are a number of websites honoring that little fox terrier.


I always think the popularity of blogging ties into the American fascination with reality TV. We all want to know what goes on in real life, behind the scenes, behind the persona or brand, and blogging opens up that world to us.

Great post, Char.


What a great way to explain things, I should show this to my Mum too.


Beautiful analogy! I’m going to have to use this with my mom! :)


[...] How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom?… by Char on Essential Keystrokes [...]


Char, great analogy! I’m with Mike S. – it really held my attention. Good one!


Drew – I’m glad you like it – I feel like I should be taking a bow.

Lara – you are right about the MySpace comment. BTW – your design work is amazing.

Paul – thanks for the Nipper trivia. I realized after I used that phrase that I might have readers who had no clue as to what I am talking about.

V-Grrrl – is blogging gaining popularity in Europe? Is it perceived differently than it is here?

Tara & Courtney – Let me know if your mom’s like the analogy, too.

Robert – how’s the shark doing? Thanks for the kind words.


[...] by my post “How do you explain blogging to your Mom?“, Liz Strauss at Successful Blog has decided to have a Group Writing Project called [...]


What a great post story, Char – especially because I LOVE the farmer’s market and go as often as possible. Very well done! :)


Thanks Wendy! One of the best things about summer is the farmer’s market – there is just nothing better than homegrown fruits and veggies.


How do I explain blogging to my Mom? I don’t because my Mom is extremely difficult to talk to. It’s a blessing that we do not live closer to one another.


Char, thanks a bunch for the compliment! I enjoy throwing some of my artistic ability towards my geeky tendencies, and doing it for others as well :)


I just wanted to compliment you on your design .. is this new? Other than that .. the less my mother knows about blogging and computers .. the better :p So, I have no comment!


[...] Blogging is like Exercise Liz Strauss has issued a Blogging Metaphor challenge on her blog.  Essential Keystrokes has joined the call with a great analogy on her blog as has Word [...]


Wendy this is great.

Highest praise I can give you for this post is to say I will be using this Farmers Market metaphor in a talk I’ll be giving next week. Or something very similar.

I’ll let you know how I go :)



Hart – yes, the blog design is somewhat new – about 6 weeks old. Thanks for the kind words.

Alister – I am so glad you like it and definitely let me know how it goes! (PS – do you have me confused with eMom Wendy? – if so I’ll take it as a great compliment :-) )


[...] Blogosphere = Farmer’s Market: Interesting analogy. [...]


I love your story but it still seems quite a complicated way to explain what you do, especially if you don’t have much time.

I’ve pretty much given up explaining what I do or what a blog is. I could send my friends and family a link to your post but then I might have to explain what a ‘post’ is :)


[...] I wouldn’t have thought to share my blogging metaphor if it wasn’t for Char’s How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom? You’ve gotta take a read – she does a great job comparing blogging to a farmer’s [...]


I already found it difficult to explain to friends why I’m almost addicted to blogging. I’m already laughing half way through you blog imaging how I’m going to talk to the old dowager.

Was interesting to read Paul called blogs that were ghost-written as “destructive blogging”. It is. Blogs is supposdly a diary, a conversation, an interaction. “Destructive blogging” is a blog without life and soul. When I first started my blog 3 months ago, I promised myself to blog with honesty, sincerity and passion.


[...] from Essential Keystrokes found a good way to explain blogging to her mom! Dawud’s metaphor is pretty interesting, [...]


This post is a winner, Char! I love the metaphor, and the story is beautifully told. Great pics too!

I’ll head on over to Liz Strauss’s blog to join in the group writing project.


WOW, Char. I blog-surfed my way over here today and so glad I found this post.

I love your analogy and I’m going to post it, I love it so much.


[...] How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom?… by Char on Essential Keystrokes [...]


[...] How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom?… by Char on Essential Keystrokes [...]


[...] a group blogging contest on blogging for business, An entry was made by Char, whose blog was titled How do you explain blogging to your mom? She then proceeds to suggest using a metaphor to explain the concept of blogging. Hers was [...]


My favorite metaphor offered up so far in this project of Liz’s. And now that I found it, I just subscribed. Nice blog, nice insights.


[...] How do you explain blogging to your mom? [Essential Kestrokes] [...]


[...] number of great posts have already been submitted. My favorite is How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom? by Char at Essential [...]


[...] metaphors for blogging, and how we might explain blogging to someone who is not familiar with it. Char started it, and then Liz jumped on board, and then about a week ago, Dawud Miracle wrote about his [...]


[...] missed getting to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, so I will have to go to the Wednesday afternoon market this week to get all my [...]


[...] conversation going on across the blogosphere and I decided it was time for me to jump on board. Char at Essential Keystrokes started it with her post about how to explain blogging to your mom, a brilliant post that compared [...]


Here is my contribution – I hope it is not a duplicate. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this cool project.

Blogging as a Metaphor
I just found a cool blog and the blogger sent out a challenge as a group blogging challenge. How would you explain blogging to your mother? Specifically as a business strategy. I found it because I was looking for cooking metaphors, so here is how I would explain it to my mom.

Mom, in business we have many tools we use to get the word out about our businesses. Traditionally, we use yellow page ads, networking, word of mouth and web sites to name a few. A new tool that I like to keep in my tool box of marketing strategies is a blog. Blogs are a way to stay relevant and current, to unleash my creativity and allow my web site to to be a place people come back to. It is my hope that if I blog often and well, people will long for the next edition and thus I will be in the “top of their minds” when they are in need of my services.

So for me a blog is a tool I use to help me get the word out. I like having lots of tools.

My Blog:


[...] by my post “How do you explain blogging to your Mom?“ and Derrick’s We’re All Pizza Makers post, Liz Strauss at Successful Blog decided to [...]


[...] How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom? [...]


[...] Essential Tools Successful Blog Style How do you explain blogging to your Mom On Meeting Liz [...]


Char, over a year since I read this the first time and it really stands up as a Classic. Terrific. And, fun to rediscover because of the party at Liz Straus’s place!


Thanks Katie! It is one of my favorites too.


I love this analogy!!…I was just trying to explain this to my mom today, and now, I’ll just forward this to her. THANKS!

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