DIVORCE AS POP CULTURE: WHY ARIANA HUFFINGTON’S “HUFFPOST DIVORCE” IS GOOD FOR THE DIVORCE INDUSTRY (A review)
Truth be told, when Ariana Huffington (and Nora Ephron) burst out with HuffPost Divorce last week, like a tornado, and Vogue and New York Times and everybody in the media declared her a trend-setter and bell-wether and trail-blazer, I was a little bit jealous. Mais oui. Je voulais sortir ses cheveux!
Why? Well, because of the enormity of her platform and the instant credibility she gets. It is mind-blowing. I mean, I’ve been toiling on Divorce Saloon for two years doing pretty much the same thing (and more, probably) that she’s doing with HuffPost Divorce, but who even knows my blog exists? Who even cares? HuffPost Divorce is just in a whole other league and has millions of unique hits per month whereas probably only about 100 people know about this blog. They are the Goliath to my David. It’s like you’re this little mom and pop bodega? and all of a sudden? a hugeass Walmart opens up across the street and puts you right out of business in one day. So yea, I was a little jealous. What can I say?
But you know what? When I put aside the green monster for a minute, I find that I’m also very excited about what they seem like they are going to do with this platform and for this industry. Because first of all, Huff Post is a 24/7 stream of divorce news and information that just doesn’t stop. They have, what? 85 people writing for the divorce section alone? That’s a lot of information they can roll out. There’sno keeping up with them. They are going to make a huge impact if only because of the caliber of people they will be able to attract to contribute and inform readers. Juxtapose that with me over here…
I mean, don’t get me wrong. Divorce Saloon was the first of its kind in the divorce genre. The new format of a “newspaper” which we launched to celebrate the beginning of our third year, I haven’t seen that on the web yet. We are definitely pioneers in what I think will be a major trend, so I’m not putting us down. I pat myself on the back actually. I feel validated in a weird way with this new this new “Walmart” divorce blog on the block because it says that what I’ve been doing has value. It’s not completely without merit like some people will have me believe.
It is just absolutely fantastic to have a blog so similar to Divorce Saloon (or sections of it – we have so many moving parts that even Huff Post might have a hard time keeping up with us!) that is of the caliber of HuffPost Divorce. There will be no shortage of expert material, no shortage of expert opinions. We need that for inspiration. They are a treasure trove of potential posts for us, hence our new segment Keeping Up With HuffPost Divorce.
In my experience, divorce is that kind of topic that lends to rich content in a blog; it’s just non-stop news, information, tips, analysis, trends, you name it. Somebody will get divorced every single day – whether it’s a celebrity or non-celebrity. There’s always a newsworthy divorce story or issue to discuss. HuffPost has the resources that they can break news as opposed to just regurgitate it and this is great. It’s going to be interesting to watch them and to try to keep up with them – both as a divorce professional, a blogger and a voyeur.
The great thing for HuffPost Divorce is that they won’t toil in obscurity. They have that huge built in platform. People listen to them. People respect them. And so they will help a lot of people who are going through divorce. It is staggering the sheer breadth of important issues that need to be grappled with with divorce around the world. It’s about time that big media woke up and took this industry seriously. I’m sure that we’ll see the WSJ, NYT and others (Daily Beast?) follow Huff’s lead. Then there will be the divorce talk shows, something I’ve been trying to sell for years. I even approached this former talk show host/lawyer’s people and they literally stopped responding to me (they probably think I’m a stalker or something) I wanted to yell “no! This is a really good idea. Be the first!” But who ever listens to me? But you know what? It’s going to happen. The time has come. We are in this reality TV era and this Internet era and divorce is an exploding industry and you will have a divorce talk show on the airwaves very soon dedicated to discussing the topic as a form of pop culture, (and as entertainment, yes) as well as for informational purposes. Wait. You’ll see.Ariana or someone like that will suggest the show and everyone will think it’s an absolute stroke of genius. I’ll be smiling to myself. Because I know who the real genius is. 🙂
In a broader, more macro context, HuffPost will resonate globally because divorce is a very important subject and it is affecting more and more lives around the world – from child marriages, domestic violence, International child kidnapping, custody battles, parenting, transnational jurisdictional conflicts, etc. there are so many issues that impact so many lives and more big press trailblazers need to get in on this and start to help provide resources for so many people.
I read some of the comments that readers made in Huff Post’s first couple of days in operation, and there is a legitimate question: why dedicate an entire section to “divorce” and nothing to weddings and marriages? I’m not sure why Huff did that because an organization of that magnitude definitely has the man power to handle all three of those sections, I would think, and I suspect those sections are coming. But they started with divorce and I think that is because divorce can have a much more lasting impact on people’s lives than a wedding or even a marriage sometimes. And the divorce industry is growing probably faster than the marriage or wedding industry. It’s economics. Divorce is a booming industry. A bonafide industry. But it’s more than that. I can’t explain what it is, but when you consider that the types of sections on Huffington Post are POLITICS, ENERGY, ENTERTAINMENT, BUSINESS, EDUCATION, etc, and then they have a category called DIVORCE you begin to understand the social implications and what that means in terms of “pop culture” in terms of social discourse, and the state of the “family.” I mean, it probably might have been better to have a category called FAMILY instead of DIVORCE and then they could discuss all those issues like divorce, marriage, weddings, etc under that umbrella. But there is something about divorce. It’s weird but it’s almost as if it’s become a form of “entertainment.” Before it used to just be a contact sport. Now it’s big time entertainment. And that makes it a sexier topic than “family” and “marriage.” People, for some perverted reason like to read about and know about other people’s divorces. It’s called “divorce porn” and a lot of people are into divorce porn. It’s just more interesting (rightly or wrongly) than “marriage” or even “family.” For that reason I predict it will be one of their most popular segments.
Check them out at www.huffingtonpost.com.
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