Check out today’s article on TheGloss.com:
Jordan Reid used to blog over at Nonsociety.com, an internet startup founded by “fameball” blogger Julia Allison. Within the last month, Jordan left Nonsociety to launch her own blog, Ramshackle Glam, where she writes about everything from cooking to learning card tricks. In her first interview since leaving Nonsociety, Jordan tells us about her past, present, and future.
So, sum up your new blog in three words.
Do. Whatcha. Want.
What is “ramshackle glam”? How did you come up with the name? Are you worried that people might not know how to pronounce it?
I actually used the phrase in this post way back in September, and just fell in love with it; I think it perfectly encapsulates my approach to life: sort of semi-disastrous, but pretty blissful. It’s about not worrying about being an expert, and about doing what you love just because you love to do it.
It can be a bit of a mouthful, yes, but I think even mispronunciations get the point across. Like I said, getting things right all the time isn’t the goal.
How is your blog different from other blogs that cover cooking, DIY, married life, etc?
I think that lots of blogs in this vein set up an expectation of perfection: “if you want to live well/be happy/have a beautiful home, do things my way.” What I’m trying to encourage readers to do is explore all the possible iterations of happiness so that they can figure out exactly what it is that makes them feel beautiful, glamorous, peaceful, or whatever…and then do just that. The fun is in the journey.
You mention your husband, relatives, and friends in your blog. How do you draw the line between which parts of your life are public or private? Have you ever wanted to post about someone who asked not to be mentioned or who didn’t want their full name used? How should you handle situations like that?
This can be a sensitive subject, so forthrightness and honesty are vital. When I first started, I talked to each of my closest friends and family members individually about whether they minded being on the site, and those that said that they did have never appeared or been mentioned by name. If someone doesn’t want to be written about, I don’t want to write about them – I don’t care if they’re Carmen Electra or the creator of Snuggies. And if I’m out with a friend – even one who has no problem being on the site – I won’t just snap their picture without them knowing…I’ll ask them if they mind if I take a photo, and then more often than not show it to them for approval. Also, I never, ever use full names unless I’m referring readers to a business.
This blog is my passion, but it’s not my entire life, and I would never allow it to get in the way of my personal relationships. Put simply: I always prioritize my friends and family.
How did you meet Julia Allison and get started writing for Nonsociety? What did you accomplish while you were there?
Julia and I met at a mutual friend’s party last May, and I began writing for NonSociety in September. In terms of what I’ve accomplished…well, first, I’ve established a solid readership consisting of some seriously wonderful people; second, I learned what producing content on a daily basis entails (and have seen how much doing so improves your writing); and third, I think I’ve become a much stronger person: I’m much better at standing up for myself and for what I believe is right.
Nonsociety.com gets a lot of negative press – there’s even a whole website dedicated to making fun of it. How did you handle getting talked about online? What would you advise someone to do if they were being criticized or analyzed on the web? Do you think such criticism comes with the territory of blogging?
I have a lot to say about this, because I get frequent emails from readers asking how I deal with negativity, and the ones from female bloggers who have themselves been attacked on the Internet absolutely break my heart.
When I came on board at NonSociety, I was sort of willfully blind to the haze of negativity surrounding the site. Honestly? I chose to ignore it to some extent because I was just so excited about the new opportunity that had presented itself, and the new relationships I had made.
Within a few months, though, it was no longer something I could ignore. It started affecting my relationships with my family and friends, and even started affecting how I lived my life: before writing something – even something I felt very strongly about – I’d sometimes hesitate, fearful of the backlash.
Being bashed on the Internet is pretty damn painful; I can’t lie. More painful still when the bashing involves my family, as it sometimes has. I’ve definitely logged many hours crying over the things that people write to me and about me, but it does get easier over time. Not because you develop a thicker skin, but because you start to see that really, there’s no pleasing everyone…so you have to just be true to what you feel is right. Also, I firmly believe that it’s not up to me to dictate how readers consume my content – whether they love it or hate it, either way they’re responding to it…and probably even enjoying it, even if that enjoyment is expressed through hatred, sarcasm, or jest. I choose to put something out in the world, and once it’s out there, it’s not my job to tell others how to receive it.
Also, I don’t think that this level of negativity necessarily comes with the territory of blogging – the vast majority of the emails I received while at NonSociety were supportive, and now that I’ve left, the negativity has pretty much come to a standstill. I think that there will always be some vitriol and finger-wagging directed at those who choose to put themselves “out there” – there are certainly some negative comments on my site even now, even though the vast majority are topical and considerate – but if you really feel that you have something to say, it’s important not to let all the surround sound obscure your voice.
Why did you leave Nonsociety?
I left NonSociety due to a confluence of personal and professional issues that had been slowly building over the past few months, and that came to a head towards the end of my tenure. Was it a lovely, peaceful separation? No. But I continue to wish all of the ladies at NonSociety the best – I really do – and I refuse to get involved in the kind of mudslinging that situations like this can create.
What lessons did Nonsociety teach you about blogging, business, and the business of blogging? What aspects of Nonsociety do you think you’ll bring over to Ramshackle Glam?
NonSociety taught me an unbelievable amount about the technical aspects of blogging – when I came on board I didn’t even know what “Tumblr” was, and it took me about a week to figure out how to edit a video so that I could upload it to Vimeo. We’re talking Remedial Blogging here. More importantly, though, what my time at NonSociety taught me was how to wake up each and every morning and generate content. I’d been a writer for years, but often struggled with writers’ block: there’s nothing like a blog to inspire you to produce on a daily basis.
Who is your dream “get” for your blog? (As in, what celebrity or public figure would you most love to interview/collaborate with?)
Stephen Tyler: I’d sing for him; he’d cook for me.
Martha Stewart: With two hands tied behind her back, so’s I wouldn’t get daunted.
Anthony Bourdain: This, however, might threaten the sanctity of my marriage, so I’ll have to talk to or bribe Kendrick [my husband] first.
I’d also love to hang out with Ruth Reichl, mostly so she can teach me her matzo brei recipe…mine never comes out quite right.
Have you ever met someone who already knew stuff about your life from following you online? Is that weird or flattering?
This happens more frequently than you’d think, actually, and it’s always super-flattering. It’s weirder when my friends follow my blog: we’ll go out for dinner, and I’ll try to tell them about a new purse I bought, or a new restaurant I tried, and they’re like, “Oh, I already know all about that.”
You used to be an actress. Do you think that being a professional performer has helped you at all with blogging, or are they totally different skill sets?
I think that they actually tap into very similar skill sets, especially given the amount of on-camera work I do as an extension of my blog (“Ramshackle Glam/Domestic Bliss” episodes, hosting gigs, red carpet interviews, etc). Interestingly, my confidence in front of the camera has skyrocketed over the past few months; I used to have all sorts of blushing and shaking issues, and they’re totally gone now. I suspect that has something to do with being much more content with my life and my choices than I was when I was an actress.
Where do you hope that you and your blog will be a year from now? Five years?
Oh dear, that’s a good question. I have some pretty specific ideas about where I’d like to see my site go – ideas that I’m going to keep in my pants for the moment – but beyond that, within a year I’d love to have a regular on-camera hosting job and plenty of freelance writing gigs, and be working on my first book, if not my second. Five years from now? All I know is that babies will be involved. Lots and lots of babies.