Bloggers Bank On Mom And Dad

Money and credit card payments, hand holds credit cards over money background AP / CBS

With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by CBSNews.com's Melissa P. McNamara.


What bank charges no interest and may even give you a hug when it hands over your money? The Bank of Mom and Dad, of course! Bloggers have lots to say about it. Plus find out what bloggers think of what's being outsourced to India these days. And speaking of blogs, a new report says one is created every second of every day! Read more about it below.


Does This Bank Charge Interest?

According to a New York Times article this week, more college graduates and thirtysomethings are receiving financial support from their parents.

Many bloggers, like Ann, identify with the piece. "Yep, that's me. Into my 30s and still getting the occasional helping hand from my parents," Ann writes. "Here I am in my dream career with an actual salary of my own, and my current financial reality is that I can't afford to pay for an airline ticket or car rental right now. I chose a career based on my love of it, not based on the vast financial rewards I'd get doing it."

And Stewart Brower understands why adult children remain financially strapped. "Lots of recent grads would love to be able to afford to live like middle-incomers, but are frankly too busy drowning in easy credit, student loans, rising utility bills and other expenses," he writes.

But some bloggers, like Professor VJ for one, attribute this trend to self-indulgence. "Let's have another soy latte and download more tunes on to our iPod. Besides, the First Bank of Mom and Dad will take care of the overdrafts as you pursue your elitist investment banking / media relations / art-star career, won't they?," the professor blogs.

KC at We Interrupt This Broadcast agrees. "The problem may be that most adult kids today don't know that they can't afford the lifestyle they want, and 'paying their dues' isn't in their vocabulary." And William Fortson questions, "are we doing our children a favor by financially supporting them this long?"

Other bloggers are just plain conflicted. "It's an interesting phenomenon. It's one that I've never experienced myself, and it feels odd," Sound and Fury writes. "On the one hand, there's a fair degree of pride in being entirely self-made (though admittedly rather fortunate at certain points). On the other, I feel a bit gypped, or alternatively, that receiving such aid is in some way cheating. But down that path lies self-indulgent whining."

Justin Cox questions the connection between this article, and a previous New York Times article saying more families are asking their children to finance their own college tuition. Either way, Cox says, it's bad news for the lower classes. "Given how important quality higher education is and the importance of this 'family fellowship' (as discussed by the first article), these two trends are likely both working against the lower classes, further contributing to the widening of the income gap," he writes at Opinion Work Product.


Fertile Outsourcing

Outsourcing to India isn't for jobs anymore, according to the Los Angeles Times. India has become fertile ground (pun intended) for outsourcing pregnancy. Driven by many of the factors that have led businesses to outsource their operations to India, infertile couples from abroad are searching for women who will carry their child, the newspaper reports. For the price of $5,000, you can find an Indian woman to acts as a surrogate.

For the most part, bloggers are unhappy about this trend, mostly because of the ethical issues it raises and a concern for a perhaps, unequal relationship with the Indian surrogate.

Jason fears this trend may cause fewer people to adopt. "My first thought on reading about foreigners (and not just Americans) paying Indian women to be surrogate mothers is repulsion," he writes on They Call Me Jason. "With the number of children in this world waiting to be adopted, the idea that someone would pass them up in favor of paying someone else to carry their child for nine months is sickening."

The Liberal Avenger has concerns as well. "It seems clear that the people who are going to India for this 'service' are doing so for financial reasons. Ya might say this 'outsourcing' seems to 'cheapen' the entire 'life giving' experience."

"This is one of those stories that makes my feminist-meter go all wonky," Jill writes on Feministe. "It's a reproductive freedom issue, but it's paying a less-privileged woman to use her body in the service of another; I'm not sure that paying for personal services is in and of itself wrong, but what about when you're doing so in a highly unequal situation?," she writes.

A posting on South Asian Women's Forum wrote their own piece about the trend earlier this month, saying surrogacy for Indian women "comes at a cost." "For the sake of financial security, the life of India's new breed of professional surrogate mothers means lies, secrecy and often nine months hiding from disapproving eyes," the post notes.


The State Of Our Blogosphere Is Strong

Technorati CEO Dave Sifry's "State of the Blogosphere" reports make a lot of news online, partly because his numbers are so staggering. April's report was no different, becoming the most-cited blog post on April 17.

There is some debate over the number of blogs floating around out there -- Sifry claims there are 35 million blogs, while Blogpulse indexes about 26.4 million -- but no doubt, the number is huge. The blogosphere is doubling in size every six months, with 75,000 blogs created each day...that's one each second of every day, Sifry estimates. At this rate, Gaping Void calculates that in three years, 31.5% of the global population will be blogging.

"Gigantic, in a word," Laurie Mayers writes. "Really, the numbers are mind-boggling."

And, that's a low estimate, Steve Rubel says. "The MySpace blogs do not seem to be part of these figures. The growth would be higher," Rubel blogs on Micro Persuasion.

What generates the most hits? Sifry says "inner geekiness" prevails on the blogs. His data shows that technology product launches attract great interest in the blogosphere. For example, when the iPod Video and the Intel Macintoshes were launched, posting volumes on those two days even eclipsed blog coverage and commentary of the Super Bowl and the 2006 State of the Union speech.

Not too surprisingly, bloggers are enthusiastic champions of blogs' continued growth.

Frank La Vigne says he has "not seen this kind of enthusiasm for the web since the original web boom."

"How will this impact companies, governments, customers and citizens?," Jeremiah Owyang questions. "Just wait until the MySpace generation hits the workforce. I knew blogging wasn't a fad," he says.

Some bloggers also see Sifry's report as a wake up call to advertisers. As Antony Mayfield blogs, "With the pace of innovation on the web you can't afford to be caught napping when it comes to new marketing opportunities."


Blogging For A Raise

The media grants a lot of attention to employees who lose their jobs as a result of their personal blog – especially when the employee is one of their own – but bloggers themselves were buzzing about a Boston Globe article this week, citing blogs as "essential" to a good career.

Bloggers are cheering the news, which they view as validation. "This article is a breath of fresh air after waves of press coverage on how your blog can get you fired," Lifehacker blogs. "Fired or hired, it's really up to you." Alistair Speirs is also a fan. "It is a little bit 'Captain Obvious' but it shows how pervasive blogging has become. The blog is the new business card," he writes.

The article lists eight key reasons blogs may help your career, from serving public relations purposes to providing a networking venue. Your blog may even help you advance in your career, the article reports. How? "To escape the entry-level grind, you can either pay your dues, working up a ladder forever, or you can establish yourself as an expert in the world by launching a blog. High-level jobs are for people who specialize, and hiring managers look for specialists online."

Tim Bray, director of Web technologies for Sun Microsystems agrees. "It really impresses people when you say 'Oh, I've written about that, just google for XXX and I'm on the top page' or 'Oh, just google my name,'" he writes on his personal blog.

"I'm a big believer in personal blogging too, and at some level, its actually helped me expand my network even more so than going to graduate school at MIT," Dharmesh Shah notes on Bray's blog.

One blogger, Tom Raftery, even took the article to heart, and is experimenting on his own blog to see if he will be hired as a direct result of someone finding him online. After not finding success in the past, he now includes a post about his skill sets. "So what of it - does this blogging for employment thing work?" he asks potential employers.

David Maybury, a student in Dublin, believes it does work. He also lists his skills as a result of the article, and updated his post with news that he received two job offers that can be traced back to his blog.

But Robert Scoble warns about the downsides to keeping a personal blog. "Personal info you don't intend to share gets inferred, shared, or found and known to others in awkward manners," he writes on Scobliezer. "Not a huge deal given how much better that aspect is understood by folks now a days, but I remember how my friend posted pictures a long time ago that came back to haunt someone else in a job search."

As GuiltyPleasure writes, "I knew I was doing this for a reason. Of course, what would a potential employer think of me based on what I write..." It's probably a question worth keeping in mind.

By Melissa McNamara
  • Melissa McNamara

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