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Why mommy blogging is now a big thing—but it has rules

lifestyle / Parenting
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Why mommy blogging is now a big thing—but it has rules

How far can they go with their family lives without ‘oversharenting,’ or going overboard on social media?
/ 05:04 AM October 25, 2017

Shari Santillan Poquiz with Selene, 4, and Tristan Gabriel, 1

In recent years, blogs, particularly by mothers, have burst into cyberspace. An online journal of personal interests has become a source of income and empowerment for mothers who have found their own voice.

However, there are issues that come with blogging. Some mothers are too gushy about their kids that they post every activity. How far can they go with their family lives without “oversharenting,” or going overboard on social media?

Then there are real-life stories that come with product placements. Heather Armstrong, one of America’s most powerful bloggers, wrote, “This used to be called mommy blogging. Now it’s called Influencer Marketing.”

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Interviews with mothers with high-profile social media accounts reveal what has become a legitimate business. Followers see the sponsored content, which features the bloggers’ children, as harmless. These bloggers are on their toes, striking a balance between earning the trust of their followers and pitching to potential customers.

Although their children have also been gaining popularity in cyberspace, the mothers have set boundaries.

They told Lifestyle that while they may be conscientiously photographing their kids’ daily fashion, there are things that remain off-limits to maintain privacy.

Charisse and Sheikha Villegas

Charisse Kay D. Villegas, 32, is a lawyer and a mother of two, Julia Francesca or Sheikha and Jeorgia Farrah. Sheikha, 5, is dressed in a black high-neck top and black-and-white gingham pants, a nod to mommy blogger Cat Arambulo-Antonio’s style.

Sheikha is like Villegas’ Barbie doll whom she enjoys dressing up and showing off on IG: @sheikha_bella. The six-month Instagram account has already gained 13,200 followers. Most of them are “kiddie bloggers”—mothers using their children’s names.

Eventually, stores started offering Sheikha clothes. Followers began mimicking her style, with the hashtag #twinningwithSheikha.

Villegas said she can’t measure the engagement because she turned off the business profile setting. She doesn’t believe in paying for increased visibility to attract more followers or business. “People just follow on their own. If others want a collaboration or sponsorship, then they send a DM (direct message).”

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Sponsors send Sheikha clothes and accessories in exchange for Villegas posting photos of her using their products. The young account has no rates yet. Other companies give Sheikha gift certificates for goodwill.

SM Beauty sent Sheikha lead-free lipstick for children. After the child modeled it for IG, Villegas took it away from her.

Charisse Villegas with Sheikha

With her increasing popularity, Sheikha gets invited to children’s events. At Old Navy, she was photographed in an asymmetric check dress, toting a bag with the logo. In exchange, she gets freebies or loot bags. “If there’s an event with a toy company, she’s happy to get free toys,” said the mother.

Villegas doesn’t post photos of her daughter wearing anything revealing. She avoids “ATM” (at the moment) posts. She does it after they leave the venue.

Villegas is planning to set up her own lifestyle blog, which will include Sheikha. Asked how she will handle compensation for Sheikha’s promotions, she said she’ll deal with it when it happens. “For now, it’s just for fun. I didn’t expect that sponsors would be sending products to her.”

Andi and Olivia Reyes

DJ, TV host and actress Andrea Bianca “Andi” Manzano Reyes, 30, started her show-biz career at 18. Inevitably, her fans became her followers in her IG, Facebook and YouTube accounts, @andimanzano.

Her Facebook page has attracted two million followers, her YouTube has 30,000 subscribers, and her Instagram has half a million followers from as far as England, Dubai, Norway and Australia.

Asked if the contents are like reality shows, Reyes replied: “Nowadays, there are so many orchestrated posts. People just want to see the real thing, too. They will get to know you better, who you are as a parent or a woman.”

Reyes credits technology for instantaneous interaction with followers, unlike the days of fan mail.

Gushcloud, an influencer marketing company, organized a meet-and-greet in Singapore with Reyes’ followers.

Like any first-time mother, Reyes was excited to share milestones in the life of her toddler daughter Pilar Olivia. Barely three years old, she has 307,000 followers on her Instagram, @oliviamreyes.

“As proud parents, we wanted to tag someone so that when she grows up, she would see her photos,” said Reyes. Sharing on social media is always spontaneous and never an obligation.

“I’m aware that I have many followers, but I want to share because I’m happy,” she said.

A few months ago, she started vlogging (video blogging), “when my daughter and I went to Disneyland. I took the video as a memento. When she gets older, she will see what happened,” Reyes said.

Reyes limits posts to photos showing typical toddler activities. There are videos poolside showing Olivia feeding her mother taho, and the toddler wearing Minnie Mouse ears and ribbons while dancing to a Justin Timberlake song. Although Olivia endorses brands, these are absent from her account.

“The brands come in a photo shoot or TVC,” said Reyes. Olivia’s product endorsements appear in Reyes’ accounts.

With her large following, Olivia is sometimes recognized by strangers in a mall.

Andi Reyes and daughter Olivia

As a parent, Reyes set a rule: Post sensibly.

Shari and Selene Poquiz

When Sharina Marie “Shari” Santillan Poquiz, 28, was pregnant with her firstborn, the morning sickness made it difficult for her to work. After quitting her job in media planning, she took to blogging at home.

With the birth of daughter Michelle Poquiz Macainag or Selene, Poquiz’s cyber lifestyle journal continued with beauty product reviews. Lately, she has been classified as a mommy blogger; www.mistymom.com gets 150,000 views a month and has an international reach.

Most of her followers are millennial mothers who enjoy beauty products. Eventually, mothers started asking for tips, such as what diapers and other products she favored for Selene, 4, and Tristan Gabriel, 1.

“Some feel as if they’ve grown up with Selene. They saw her when she was a baby,” said Poquiz.

Her website has collaborated with mom brands. Selene was brought to the event Absolute Disney. Tristan was photographed playing with a puff of Belo Talc-Free Powder. The entry ends with an advertisement of social media celebrity toddler Scarlet Snow sharing tips on how kids her age should keep fresh.

Poquiz is prudent about sharing her family life. She describes herself as a liberal parent, but doesn’t want to be misconstrued. “If the child wants chocolate today, I say okay. If I reveal that in public, I’d get comments,” she said.

For the longest time, she resisted writing about parenting: “Some moms can get preachy. They cannot accept how other moms raise their kids. You can’t impose your parenting techniques on others. Parenting is like learning on the job. I have my own style and it’s not perfect. But I wouldn’t go as far as telling another mom what she should do.

“I’m just sharing how I live my life, how I’m a mom to my kids and, if followers can relate, then let’s connect.”

Asked if children should have their own social media accounts, she noted that parental guidance is needed, and it shouldn’t interfere with a child’s normal activities or school.

“It has to be regulated,” she said. “Selene knows we work for some brands. They send this item. We need to take a picture and show them how we use it in our lives. But I don’t force her if she doesn’t want to be involved.” —CONTRIBUTED

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