Lordy, my eyes are rolling this morning. A few days ago, I wrote a post titled “in bad taste” in response to something a magazine writer Victor Fiorillo had covered about what a fauxblicist named Sarah Lockard had sent out.
Victor Fiorillo’s article now has over 200 comments, and there are more blogs covering this topic than I have seen on anything else social media related for quite a while.
One of the things that came out was something new on JimRomenesko.com, a blog and writer who is basically mainstream, generally fair, and widely read.
Sarah Lockard, the AroundMainLine.com proprietor who is trying to get a Philadelphia-area restaurant to feed her family of five for free on Christmas Eve, has let people know that she’s now charging $75 for any contact. “Every text, email and biz correspondence with AroundMainLine.com is billable,” she says. The screenshot below – grabbed about a week ago – was sent to me by a Lockard acquaintance.
Some of the blog posts have been , and some quite funny. Bloggers for the most part have been somewhat disgusted.
I was disgusted although not surprised. I have first hand knowledge of her “business practices” as a non-profit I was very much a part of until a few months ago when my time constraints changed due to distance, experienced the “Lockard touch” in 2008.
First Friday Main Line is a small arts-based non-profit based in Ardmore, PA that has been in existence since 2006. They are in fact a begathon, and if it was not for donations and the kindness of artists and musicians who believe in art reaching every day people along with the tireless dedication of Executive Director Sherry Tillman, this event and small non-profit would not exist. Sherry also has a family and runs the amazing craft store in Ardmore called Past*Present*Future.
I used to do the PR for First Friday Main Line. Sherry can show you binders full of actual placement I did in print media alone, let along the connection to television media as well. I even received a Congressional Commendation for something I did for First Friday Main Line in 2010. I am not tooting my own horn, merely setting the stage.
I have also been a blogger since long before many picked up a keyboard. I started because my friends’ businesses in Ardmore, PA were being subjected to eminent domain for private gain. With the encouragement and shepherding of the Institute for Justice and their Castle Coalition arm, I began to hone the craft of blogging. The citizens group I was part of did not have money for a PR campaign, so we learned to do it on our own. But it came at a personal cost. When you are an activism-based blogger you really open yourself up to things. I learned to have a tough skin.
Anyway, back to First Friday Main Line. What is one of the keys to the success of small arts-based non-profits with not much extra money? Exposure. So we worked hard to establish this non-profit, which was modeled after the First Friday celebration in places like the Old City section of Philadelphia.
Somewhere in the early fall of 2008 we were approached by a website called aroundmainline.com and they offered to list the non-profit First Friday Main Line on their events calendar or something like that. So Sherry, the Executive Director said “why not?” After all, even if we had no clue who this Sarah Lockard person was or what her website did, placement is the key for exposure and we considered it another local website. At that time we were not aware of the expensive strings attached.
All aroundmainline.com ever did (we think) was maybe list us on an events page, but we are not sure because the only First Friday thing we ever saw listed was in 2008 and it was for the now defunct Wayne First Friday, which was one of the many suburban off-shoots of the First Friday Main Line model.
So Sarah was on the press release list for First Friday Main Line and in October 2008 we received this e-mail:
Subject: Your link is expiring Date: 10/21/2008 8:19:45 P.M. Eastern Standard Time From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much for this email
Your line link for First
Fridays on the Main Line will expire Thurs Oct 23rd
If you do want to renew
this each month, it is $500/month.
Please let me know as this is
PS I am glad we were
able to give you such fantastic free promotion these last three weeks!!!
Ok not to be rude, but what did she do? I remember at the time going over this with everyone working on First Friday Main Line and everything that had been done in those last three weeks, as in actual media placement had been done with Sherry and myself!
I sent her a reply to which I do not recall receiving a reply:
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: Your link is expiringDear Sarah,I hadn’t been aware you were running anything to be honest, so I apologize for overlooking it. I also just did a search and all I found was Wayne First Friday:Anyway, thank you.As for essentially running a link for $500 month, you would need to speak with the Executive Director Sherry Tillman, as I do publicity. But, as someone who is on the committee of a very small no profit that is essentially a beg-a-thon, while your web site is lovely, when several other high-profile sites and magazines will run us for free because we are non profit, and write stories about First Friday Main Line….well $500 a month is too rich for our blood. That is $6000 a year.We are a non-profit. I just can’t see how we can justify that kind of money. Also, on your web site, you mentioned a launch party recently. In this economy, being that new, how can you justify the costs basically being charged by print magazines to get new business?It’s not that I do not wish you well, but $500 a month? I have cc’d Sherry in the event this interests her, but have you considered a swap? Say our committee took a vote and agreed to link your site to ours, would you provide a prominent link to our site on your site?Mind you, I am NOT speaking for the committee as a whole, I am just throwing an idea out there.I also notice that you list the business associations including the Ardmore Initiative on your site. Are they being charged as well? They are non-profits as well.Anyway, if you can find a way or propose a solution as to what we can do that is mutually agreeable, Sherry will tell me.If not, know that I do find your site interesting .
Since that time, I know many people and many businesses who have had Sarah Lockard interactions that were less than stellar. And I have to ask because I have never seen, has she actually ever placed any of her “clients” in the traditional media and elsewhere? After all it’s not like her website is internationally famous, is it?
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that she wanted to charge a start-up non-profit this amount of money to be listed. And for all the people who said all she was looking for was a swap of services with the free Christmas Eve dinner, I point out, that in my opinion, that was not merely what she was about.
Not to be rude, but I hope they got their five free Instagrams out of the deal.
I know we don’t know each other, but I’ve been following the fallout fiasco from your restaurant email that was leaked and I want to say
I’m sorry that there was someone who you reached out to for business who decided that sharing a private email (and your information) was OK.
I’m sorry that the blogging industry is filled with some vultures who wait for something to feed on because they don’t want to reflect on their own lives.
I’m sorry that a business contact was not professional enough to react in a responsible way.
I’m sorry that this was blown out of proportion and reduced to petty bullying by people who hide behind computer screens.
It goes on from there, but you get the gist of it. I applaud this fellow female blogger for writing about this and sharing her opinion but I am sorry that this woman expended so much energy being sorry for a woman who has reaped what she has sewn. She should save the sympathy and empathy for someone who deserves it.
Sarah Lockard is not being bullied. She sent out an e-mail from her “corporate” branded e-mail account to a bunch of restaurants and who knows who else. She put this out there in the public when she hit “send”.
What happened was indeed you reap what you sew. There was nothing private about an e-mail that promised some odd sort of very public display in return for feeding her entire family on Christmas Eve for in essence more publicity for herself! It was a gamble, and she rolled the dice badly, and this is not bullying it is backlash.
And then there is this from another blog I had never heard of called What’s Up Fagans:
In one of my of blogging Facebook groups, someone shared a post about a blogger who made a bad PR choice, I guess you could say…. All of this represents to me . . .The scary side of blogging…I try to present my REAL life, my real home, my real self…..
Now thousands of other have mocked not only her business idea, but her, as a person, calling her horrible names, mocking her haircut, fashion, and looks. They have flooded her blog and email with hate comments and mail. They have put her entire family in a negative spotlight.
And my heart aches for her!
Because I never, ever, want something like that to happen to me! But it could. . .
I could, because of my little bit of cyberspace, hurt not only myself and my business, but my family and loved ones. And that is scary. That is horrifying! And the worst part? She didn’t even choose to share this publicly on her blog; someone else decided to share her email. Someone else threw her into the news….Because, for every self-conceited, self-righteous, know-it-all, holier-than-thou person who bashes, hates, criticizes, judges, condemns, and laughs at another without much of a second thought, thanks to the faceless internet, there is a real person on the other end being very really affected by those words….Don’t be the jerk. Be the good.
Welcome to AroundMainLine.com, the Philadelphia region’s first online magazine covering the Main Line and beyond. AML is privileged to welcome you to a reliable, socially responsible and culturally rich online magazine that speaks to the Philadelphia region. That’s right, we don’t believe in wasting paper and your valuable money to bring you the best of Philadelphia’s Main Line region, the surrounding areas and vibrant western suburbs. So, we are publishing our magazine digitally respective of the earth’s resources and your valuable resources.
I have no problems with e-commerce, but this whole thing is about making money and exposure for Sarah Lockard. So that doesn’t make her some mom blogger writing late at night in her PJ’s while waiting for the laundry to finish. She’s not that gal in my humble opinion.
These two blogs I have cited aren’t from these parts, either. They are part of a group called Project Purse Club which is out of Indianapolis, Indiana. The Midwest is a whole different world and a world away.
I would love to be able to support every female blogger, but I am a realist. And there are a lot I simply don’t agree with. I do believe in realism, but my reality is not pink and cotton candy. It’s the real world, and there are real issues. I do not take paid advertising on my blog, and what I write is my opinion.
I see both sides. I was a purely activism-based blogger for many years. I had something to say, and when I was finished, I changed my course. I became a parent later than most and am a SAHM in training. Some days I think that being a mostly SAHM (stay at home mom) is harder than when I was a 9 to 5 person solely.
I also write about breast cancer because I am a breast cancer survivor. Never thought I would do that, but then again I never thought I would have breast cancer either.
I am sorry, but I found what she did appalling. But the simple truth of it all is if this woman made an honest mistake, she would not ignore what is going on around her, she would woman up like a professional and apologize or clarify what she wrote in that e-mail.
But she hasn’t. And to all of those judging all of those other people commenting and writing who have had experiences with this person that weren’t positive? They are entitled to their opinion.
I think obviously that Sarah Lockard is bright. And at times I have marveled at her knack for shameless self-promotion, free photography portraits that include hair/make-up/wardrobe. But asking restaurants to feed a family on Christmas Eve who can buy their own dinner is showing a lack of respect for the small businesses she is supposedly representing. It also shows a lack of integrity.
If Sarah Lockard had sent out the e-mail asking to do this free Christmas Eve dinner for a family down on their luck or homeless or something I would feel quite differently. But this is not what this is about. This is and always has been about self-promotion. And to me that is not a Christmas spirit I choose to embrace.
So while I appreciate the musings of some mom bloggers from the Midwest on the topic, they really don’t get it. But I hope they keep on blogging anyway.
There is in human nature the desire to gossip or chatter about others. Anyone who says they haven’t done it isn’t being honest with themselves.
Gossip is described as:
Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about personal or private affairs of others. It is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts, views and slander. This term is used pejoratively by its reputation for the introduction of errors and variations into the information transmitted, and it also describes idle chat, a rumor of personal, or trivial nature.
Gossip has been researched in terms of its evolutionary psychology origins. This has found gossip to be an important means by which people can monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread indirect reciprocity. Indirect reciprocity is defined here as “I help you and somebody else helps me.” Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary biologist, as aiding social bonding in large groups. With the advent of the internet gossip is now widespread on an instant basis, from one place in the world to another what used to take a long time to filter through is now instant.
The term is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of dirt and misinformation, as (for example) through excited discussion of scandals. Some newspapers carry “gossip columns” which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or of élite members of certain communities
So recently a couple of people I know have been going through some difficult stuff. And one of these people is now being chattered about.
Yesterday a mutual acquaintance told me how this one person was gossiping about one of these people. This person wasn’t chattering in a “oh I am so sorry, the poor dear” kind of way, they were gossiping in the “they have always been envious of this person’s life” kind of way. Sort of the super negative “aha” moment.
The person being dished by this other person would quite possibly be terribly hurt if they knew. The great irony of course is the person “spreading the love” so to speak has hardly lived a pristine existence and truthfully that disturbs me.
What is it about human nature that makes some people relish the distress of others? And why would you do that to someone who has only shown you kindness?
Why is it in the human dynamic to be cruel to one and other?
Have I lived the perfect life? No. But I like to think I am honest about who I am and I do try to be nice to people. Are there some people it is near on impossible to be nice to? Yes indeed. And that includes this person mentioned above “spreading the love”.
Truthfully, this person “spreading the love” is in the category of those people you choose not to have in your life after a point and this is why: because no matter how bad it gets for them they keep repeating the same pattern of mean and destructive behavior. The pattern (specifically) is they always somehow end up doing something not so nice to the people who show them kindness. Psychologically I can only wonder what they are punishing the world for still, but the truth of the matter is none of us are getting any younger. Sooner or later you have to let crap go and move on.
I have met men who were terrible gossips, but truthfully it is an especially female weapon. It is used in my opinion most often to wound and hurt instead of the person really addressing what is wrong.
For example, I have a friend who is divorced who started dating again a few years after her divorce. She met this great guy. So nice in every way. He is not quite finished with his divorce and although he was not the half of the equation who began his process, on the other side of his divorce table is a person who has created revisionist history.
And with that revisionist history comes malicious gossip that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As if my friend who came along way after their process began caused the issues to begin with. And what recourse does my friend have? None, truthfully, because this person is spreading this brand of love to get more attention for themselves. And if my friend reacts, it will be at her expense.
Why are women so cruel to each other? Some say it is a basic evolutionary drive of women that men don’t have. Some say it is low self-esteem. I think personally some people are just mean and have nothing better to do.
An article in Women’s Day Magazine asserts the reason gossip exists is to figure people out:
“Psst…what’s the latest?” We’ve all done it: passed on a juicy piece of gossip or listened eagerly to someone else’s dish. And although we may have felt a twinge of guilt, we kept gabbing anyway.
The truth is, 80 percent of our everyday conversations are purely personal, with more of them being gossip than anything else, according to a 2009 study by Nicholas Emler, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Surrey in England. The main reason we keep going back for more: “It’s irresistibly fun,” says Frank McAndrew, PhD, a professor of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois….But that’s just part of the story. Why we do it…..The short answer: to figure each other out. Since we don’t ever really know what other people are thinking, collecting information from and about them—in effect, playing amateur detective—is as close as we can get to being inside their heads.
And then there is this whole gang gossip. This week I found myself plunked in the middle of a group conversation concerning something that happened on a group Facebook Page I am on. It wasn’t something taken off the board by the page administrator, it was a bunch of women pissed off AT the page administrator. Who is a friend of mine.
The thing is this however, I haven’t been on the page much, and have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, nor do I care or want to be part of it. I was somewhat astounded the way they were kind of picking this person apart. It was like high school all over again. And to me, it was just gossip. I didn’t get into it, just sort of exited the conversation.
And again, I am not perfect, have gossiped a day or two in my life. So maybe I am just evolving as an adult, but recently I have noticed how women use gossip and words as a weapon. None of it has been directed at me, but it has been right or wrong directed at people I know. And in each and every case, not for any positive gain. So at the end of the day I have to ask: maybe we should all try to be nicer to each other and stay out of the pain of others?
What do you think?