Martha Stewart Reveals Her Own Lack of Expertise While Attacking Bloggers

by Susan

Martha Stewart’s PR team must be scrambling to perform “expert” damage control after she attacks and disrespects the entire blogging community in a video interview.

martha-reveals-lack-of-expertise

The image above includes a screenshot from the video interview on Bloomberg as Martha says,

“Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue Magazine.

There are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested… that aren’t necessarily very good or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create a kind of… ummm… popularity but they are not the experts and we have to understand that.”

Those are very poorly chosen words from a woman who spoke at the blogger’s conference BlogHer in 2012, hosts Martha’s Circle and even claims “blogging” to be one of her regular tasks.

People Want Reality

Pinterest and blogs prove that people want to see real photos of real food that a real person just made and is really about to eat.

When moms are looking for a recipe to make for dinner that their families will actually eat and that they can make quickly with available ingredients, they don’t care if a test kitchen of professional trained chefs have taken countless hours to review and prepare it to send to professionally trained photographers to stage for photos to send to professionally trained photo editors to photoshop it into a piece of artwork that can never be recreated by a real person in a real kitchen.

People want reality. That is being proven in media over and over.

The surge of traffic in recipes on Pinterest and blogs showing regular people cooking and baking proves people want real recipes from real people.

Test kitchens and photoshopped photos have been all that was on offer in the past. Now that people can find the “real thing” online, their choice is clear.

We want real recipes from real people with real photos.

What is an Expert and Do We Always Want to Hear from “Experts”?

Martha seems to define an expert as one who is “professional trained” and/or is an “editor at Vogue magazine.”

The obvious irony there is that I don’t believe she falls under either of those definitions for the range of lifestyle categories in which she has become an “expert”.

Tweet ThisClick Here to Tweet —–> I believe there are many paths to building expertise.

 

But ultimately I think the question is whether or not people always want to learn from an “expert”.

As a mother when I face a parenting challenge, I love to hear ideas and suggestions from other mothers who have had similar experiences. Yes, hearing advice from a “professionally trained parenting expert” is useful and sometimes I will seek out such advice. But I also want to hear from other real moms who have really gone through the same experience.

When I am cooking dinner or a special treat for my family, I am inspired to follow a recipe from a blogger who I know just made it and snapped a photo before she fed it to her own family.

I have a “Recipes” Pinterest board that is filled with recipes that may not have been vetted in a professional test kitchen, but my mouth waters as I browse the photos and I’m inspired to test them out myself.

Tweet ThisClick Here to Tweet —–> To me, a true test kitchen is a family dinner table.

 

Knowledge, skill, experience and expertise are a continuum and it isn’t only the elite “professionally” trained at the end of the line who have value to offer or the only voice an audience craves.

People want to learn from each other. They want to learn from peers at the same skill level and they want to learn and be inspired by those from each notch along the continuum of skill.

Tweet ThisClick Here to Tweet —–> Pinterest & blogs prove you don’t need to be a “trained editor at Vogue Magazine” to inspire & teach.

 

Sorry, Martha. I think you have revealed your lack of expertise in understanding your audience.

What Do You Think?

Leave a comment letting us know what you think of Martha’s comments and what YOU think creates expertise and a voice worth hearing.



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joyce October 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Martha sounds pretty “threatened” by so-called bloggers. Maybe because people can relate to use, more than they can relate to her.
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2 Janice October 16, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Indeed – Martha’s company is going down in popularity and usefulness while bloggers and Pinterest continue to grow. Cecily Kellogg on Babble said it perfectly, “Becoming irrelevant has to suck.”
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3 Rayne Hall October 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Bravo! Excellent, sensible article.
I wish you’d given it a more appropriate title.
The title “Martha Stewart Reveals Own Lack Of Expertise” will attract mostly people looking for celebrity confessions and such. A more relevant title might make this post go viral among people who value real recipes cooked and photographed in real kitchens by real people.

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4 Susan October 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm

That’s great feedback Rayne… maybe I will edit the post title. What would you suggest as a title… perhaps something like: “Martha Stewart Attacks Bloggers and Shows Her Own Lack of Expertise”

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5 Susan October 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I modified the title a little to add “While Attacking Bloggers” at the end to hopefully clarify what the post is about.
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6 Dawn October 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm

As a wiser person than me said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
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7 Susan October 16, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Absolutely! She really should have kept her mouth shut.

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8 Jayne October 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Her stuff is so far over my head it’s not even funny. Although it is beautiful, I’m just not in her demographic and I don’t even try.
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9 Susan October 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Yes, her stuff is so perfect it makes me not want to bother attempting it.

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10 Krystel Spell October 16, 2013 at 7:41 pm

what kills me I just seen her office line being promoted by bloggers not to long ago but now all of sudden she has an issue with us…hypocrite much!

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11 Susan October 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Exactly!

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12 Christina Gleason October 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I decided to call up the post where I liveblogged Martha Stewart’s keynote at BlogHer ’10.

What a phony. Here’s what she said about bloggers back then, paraphrased because I could only type so fast:

“You must be personal, passionate, sharing on your blog. You must have openness with your readers. You gotta make money. You need to be paid for your effort. You’re all passionate, intelligent women out there…I hope you’re making a living. Little by little, you’re finding yourselves as diligent, honest reporters. The better you are, the more popular you become, and the more people you can reach. That’s really be the story of my career. You have to be real.”

Yes, because Martha Stewart is just SO REAL. At least she showed her true colors in this interview.
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13 Christina Gleason October 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

* BlogHer ’12. Sorry about the fat fingers.
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14 Susan October 16, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Yes, she has revealed her true colors in this interview. I imagine her PR team is so frustrated that she let the world know her real feelings about bloggers.

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15 Winter October 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Martha Stewart is out of touch with “REAL” people. She’s a snob. I wonder if she’s tried any of the blogger recipes? I have and have found many keepers. I have also tried many of hers that haven’t turned out or that my family hated.
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16 Janice October 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Totally right! It is shocking that she is so out of touch and such a snob.
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17 Jana October 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Let’s be honest, Martha is not known for for her niceness and has always been in her business for the money. She has never dealt with the reality of how a vast majority us live -she sells fantasy. Is she threatened by bloggers and Pinterest peeps? Definitely, why buy what she is selling when you can get it for free online? She has to convince her audience that only she can provide the keys to that fantasy, so buy her overpriced magazine and merchandise.
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18 Janice October 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

You are correct my friend!!!
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19 Heidi October 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I don’t know much about Martha, but I do know that if I find a recipe that looks good, I’ll try it period. And I (personally) have never posted a recipe without trying it first or at the very least had it strongly recommended by someone I trust. It’s not “expertise”…it’s just common sense.

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20 Janice October 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

She lacks some common sense for sure!
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21 Heidi October 16, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I don’t know much about Martha Stewart, but yes, if a recipe looks good I’ll try it, no matter the source. And I don’t know about others, but I personally have never posted a recipe without trying it first, or at least had it strongly recommended by others. It’s not “expertise”, it’s just common sense. Which in and of itself is sometimes more valuable than expertise, anyway.
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22 Rona B October 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I totally agree with you Heidi. I share recipes that I’ve made, or are recommended by bloggers that I’ve made other recipes.
It does seem to me that she’s truly out of touch with the common man and woman.
And she made negative comments about Pinterest, as well. And doesn’t she have an official Pinterest board?
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23 Susan October 17, 2013 at 1:44 am

Yes, she is out of touch with everyone… her audience, her web, pr and social media teams and every other regular person on the planet.

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24 sara October 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Oh my how annoying is she… My mom was/still is a fantastic cook. Was she a professional no, but My dad hates to go out to restaurants because the food is so inferior. I thought everyone had great tasting food until I started sleeping over and found out mac an cheese involved powdered cheese and they didn’t put homemade horseradish in it. Recipes not tested… I think if my 14 year old who hates mushrooms eats my spaghetti sauce with mushrooms with relish and asks for more… its been tested… not to mention putting up a non kid approved recipe is a sure fire way to lose reader participation… just saying…
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25 Kristin Beltaos October 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I find her comments very interesting. In 1976, she started a catering business in the basement of her home…she wasn’t considered a food expert at that time. She used money she earned from modeling to start her business. I don’t really see modeling and being a food expert as parallel careers. She was a housewife who decided to try something new because she had a passion for food and found joy in entertaining.

It’s fascinating how some women can so easily tear down other women rather than build them up and support them for following their passion and doing what they love. So many of you women that posted comments already hit the nail on the head: The best ‘expert’ is truly the family dining table.

My parents always taught me to never forget where I came from. Here’s hoping Martha can educate herself and understand how a good climb is always much sweeter with a rally of supporters around you. Use your powers to do good Martha!
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26 Susan October 17, 2013 at 1:45 am

She has definitely forgotten where she has come from.

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27 Eleni October 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Thanks for sharing, I finally had time to sit down and watch this interview. Well one thing I’ll say is that NO one is really an expert. I’ve always learned when someone calls themselves an expert it doesn’t leave room for them to grow. At EleniSavesU I love hearing from readers that’s what makes site authentic!

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28 Julia a.k.a. Mama MOE October 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm

You hit the nail on the head, Susan.
My first reaction to this was “Who and what makes an expert and expert?” especially now in today’s lifestyle categories. And you are right, Ms. Martha forgot where she began…
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29 Nancy October 16, 2013 at 11:12 pm

expertise is really important in journalism, teaching, medicine, emergency response etc. … pretty sure we can handle recipes and table settings on our own.

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30 Susan October 17, 2013 at 1:46 am

Ha ha ha… you’ve nailed it.

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31 Deb October 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Dear Martha: In order to make it “big” as a blogger isn’t necessarily due to popularity but rather credibility built on trust. It takes a lot of work to create/recreate recipes, crafts and DIY projects, in addition to coordinating and managing the day-to-day aspects of 1 or more websites/blogs, dealing with changing social media, and an overwhelming to-do list that boggles the mind of even a sane person. Bloggers have to wear many hats mostly because we aren’t paid a wage befitting the numbers of hours we truly work at our craft. And, a degree or background in writing and editing doesn’t necessarily garner one a place on the Blogger’s top 10 list. The true worth of a blogger is to use their expertise in whatever area they are more inclined to encourage and support other bloggers so that they can be better too. You see, Martha, being on the Internet isn’t a competition between you and we Bloggers–as one might think. You are actually on the same playing field as we are. If you don’t turn out great content, great recipes, great crafts, great videos, and/or great books/ebooks your readership will go down just like the rest of us. That’s the reality of the Internet. That’s the world we Bloggers deal with day-in and day-out. Welcome to our world.–Deb (DialMforMoms)

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32 Susan October 17, 2013 at 1:50 am

Yes! And thank YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts here… as a busy blogger, I know your time is valuable and I appreciate your comment.

I think it must be confusing for Martha to understand why life on the Internet is so different than the TV and magazine world where it’s only her putting out her message with limited other voices.

It’s a new world and I don’t think she likes it.
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33 Wendy R. October 17, 2013 at 12:49 am

Martha is just worried that bloggers are affecting her bottom dollar. The thing is, by calling bloggers (i.e. pretty much a lot of moms and others who dabble in cooking, entertaining, and decorating) basically “stupid”, she has offended her own target audience. Smart, Martha.

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34 Susan October 17, 2013 at 1:52 am

Exactly. She completely insulted one of her key markets. It’s shocking to me that she doesn’t understand what she has done and try to apologize.

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35 KATHY October 17, 2013 at 2:30 am

Martha has never been known for being humble, so her comments aren’t too surprising. Her magazine is fun to look at, but seriously, are there any people who actually will spend their precious time with 99% of the projects in it? As to its recipes, I’ve seen few (make that almost none) that kids would eat. Catch her monthly calendar that’s printed in it – - – it’s hilarious! Martha’s world is a strange little place with few people acceptable to her in it. And as Martha would say, “that’s a good thing”. Imagine a world full of Marthas. Now that’s a scary thought!

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36 April October 17, 2013 at 5:44 am

Brilliant article, Susan! I couldn’t agree more. I think Martha just made a very serious political error, considering the support bloggers have given her in the past. I feel seriously offended by her comments. Like so many bloggers, I put a huge amount of time and effort into recipe development. I may not have a ‘professional’ test kitchen but I triple test my recipes before I photograph and blog them. I send things out into my local neighbourhood and into work with my husband (his office has 500 people in it) and ask for honest feedback. I couldn’t have a more varied ‘test audience’ as opposed to Martha’s network of ‘professionals’. I seriously regret the amount of money I’ve spent on Martha’s books over the years. I thought she was aspirational and encouraging, but it appears that she is simply another prima donna.
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37 Patty H October 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

She has always had a high self esteem of herself. Quite frankly do any of us really care about her opinion. I blog for my own self pleasure, not for Martha’s approval. I admit she has wonderful ideas but I guarantee that a group of regular moms like ourselves came up with many of them. Maybe she should write a new book about putting her foot in her mouth.

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38 Annie October 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

When it comes to recipes, the first place I go in all cases is my friend Aimee’s blog Simple Bites. It is the only recipe source that always turns out well, every single time. I’ve never had a fail from Aimee’s recipes and her blog is well-designed and well-written too. Beyond Aimee’s blog, there are other places that I go including Canadian Living magazine, but nothing can compare to Simple Bites. Certainly not Martha Stewart.
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39 Patty H October 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

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40 Lolli October 17, 2013 at 9:55 am

When I heard Martha’s statement, I sensed that she is very threatened by bloggers. I agree with you completely. I would MUCH rather go to a blogger who has a REAL family and a real kitchen and serves up real food. I’ve never been one to listen to an “expert” over someone with field experience.

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41 Susan October 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Yes Lolli, she is obviously threatened by bloggers.

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42 Jen Singer October 17, 2013 at 10:36 am

It’s simple economics: Blogging is taking money out of Martha Stewart’s pocket. Her magazine, like most magazines, is faltering, and now she has to compete not just with the chefs on the Food Network, but also with thousands of bloggers posting online — for free.

Of course she dissed bloggers. They are taking a piece of her success away from her. Worse, most of them are doing it for free.
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43 Susan October 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I completely agree. Competition is tough and it’s natural to be upset and not be fond of your “competitors”. But Martha is foolish to show disrespect and openly insult her new “blogging” competitors as they are not only competitors but also customers and collaborators.

It’s a new world in new media and Martha’s not keeping up.

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44 Marissa - Hip & Healthy Kids October 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

If Martha Stewart has a blog on her site (which she does), has read a blog, or perhaps even spoke at a blog conference (*crazy*) than she should know better. Why start a fire storm on the very population she said she supports?

In terms of her saying that bloggers are not experts, she could not be more wrong. Many bloggers are entrepreneurs who have plenty of credentials through working in Corporate America and deciding to leave and live their own path, or have life experiences that others can learn from. Either way, why knock people that are out to share information to try and help others.

Her PR team must be wishing the Halloween mag cover wand was a magical clean up tool. (http://www.marthastewart.com/1013389/halloween-2013-special-issue-templates-and-clip-art)

Nice article ladies!
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45 Susan October 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Yes… bulking “bloggers” together into one category and generalizing their experience, training and abilities is ridiculous.

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46 Bonnie Way October 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I TOTALLY agree with you. You don’t have to be an editor at Vogue to be an expert in anything. And like you, when I want help with something, I seek out fellow moms first, NOT “experts.”
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47 Susan October 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

It’s also so ironic that she uses a position in a dying form of media to illustrate her point.

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48 Tracey October 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I agree 1000%!
In recent years, Martha’s crafts are geared toward selling Martha’s products.
Her recipes are complicated and unrealistic for most people (especially busy moms!)

Case in point, my mom is an excellent baker. She has even sold platters of her Christmas cookies in past years.
She tried a Martha Stewart cookie recipe and it was so complicated that she gave up. It’s crazy!

I want real recipes from real women with real families. I love when people share something their families love.

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49 Susan October 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm

You’re right… so many of her crafts are selling her products.

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50 Deb October 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Excuse me Martha, remember your roots and I don’t mean your hair. I remember when you were a jobless housewife attempting to cook other peoples recipes and decorating your house with antique store cast offs. That didn’t stop you from sharing your “finds” and “gourmet meals” with anyone who would listen at parties in The Hamptons.
~Proud Blogger
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51 Susan October 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

She clearly has forgotten her roots!

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52 Shelley October 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Oh my….Martha WHAT were you thinking with that comment! Know your audience is right… these ‘bloggers’ idolize you, want to be like you, to try and find success in homemaking… just like you. Wow, that was some ugly I just saw come out :(
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53 momstheword October 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Honestly, I prefer the things I learn from bloggers. Because I feel like they are more “real” and that their food is more practical. I don’t like a fancy meal made up by an “expert” that will never, ever be something my family would want to eat.

To me Martha Stewart is a brand, she has done an expert job of branding herself.

And no offense to her but I don’t want a brand, I want someone who is in the trenches along with me. Someone who isn’t doing it to SELL it but just doing it to share it. Those are the people whose opinions I trust.

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54 Terra Heck October 18, 2013 at 5:53 am

Sounds to me like someone is having a jealousy issue. Martha may be the expert and I won’t stoop to her level to downgrade her, but she really stuck her foot in her mouth when she started downgrading “bloggers”.
Us “bloggers” may very well decide she’s not an “expert” after all and not buy into her product lines anymore. What then?!
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55 Jacquie October 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

Such a poor choice of words and yes, I agree with others that I’m sure she feels there’s competition for attention because now there are many experts on the internet. It’s a shame really — I don’t openly share my credentials and all my education when I blog — not because I’m not proud of it but because my goal is to convey an idea or activity to my readers. And just so Martha knows, I don’t consider her an ‘expert’. When I read her ideas, I just think they are creative ideas.
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56 Lauren October 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I’ve worked at magazines, and just because you’re a writer or editor, it doesn’t mean that you have a bigger knowledge base than an avid home cook or crafter does. I like the ideas I find on Pinterest much better than those in Martha Stewart’s magazine — I find the Pinterest recipes to be much more reasonable in terms of the amount of effort required to prepare them. I don’t want a recipe that calls for items I can’t find in my local supermarket, or a craft that I have to put in way too much time to complete.
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