I was recruited by MomCentral.com to take part in their blog tours, when the subject was appropriate for my blogs. I have two blogs -- Letters from a Small State, which reflects on my life in Connecticut, and Honk if You Compost, my eco-humor blog.
I am on a mission with these tours: to write great reviews and thoughtful pieces for whatever I sign on to. I take the job seriously, even if the pay isn't much.
Recently I committed to review Clorox's Green Works Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes. I am seriously curious about this brand-- I particularly wanted see if Clorox could sell me on this disposable product.
They didn't ... the wipes, although compostable weren't amazingly useful enough to make them worth adding to the cleaning products that are tried and truly low-impact.
Everyone's Truth is Out There
Curiously, my negative eco-humor-review was not too overly adored by the MomCentral crew-- I was asked if I didn't want to tone it down just a little bit? This has indicated to me what I have been suspecting about this far-reaching and influential website (and others like it): online reviews can often be more about promoting products than they are about giving serious consideration to the product and its impact on the audience. In the case of MomCentral, I fear this may be the case.
It is certainly true that with online writing, the lines between advertising and editorial are gone. As is illustrated by contextual advertising (ie. Adsense), where once there was a firm division between the ad and the ed, we now decide precisely what we advertise based on the page content.
The result? The more niche reporting becomes, the more difficult it becomes to evaluate the credibility, objectivity and even the usefulness of information we find online. Everyone has an opinion--and that opinion is backed by an agenda that becomes more and more hidden.
I have one recommendation, and that is awareness. For more information about how to evaluate what you read on the web, have a look here.