The New York Times ran a great article about Heather Armstrong last Saturday called Queen of the Mommy Bloggers. Who is Heather Armstrong you say and why should we care? Well Heather is better known in the online world as Dooce (@dooce) and is one of the most influential women in media reaching an estimated 100,000 readers everyday.
Of course it’s easy for men to say so what? Unless you’re in the consumer goods industry where influential mommy bloggers have the ability to make or break your product. Bloggers with large audiences like Dooce can turn off millions of potential buyers and existing customers with one bad post. Of course a bad posts should be the result of poor quality or service and that was the case with Dooce and her Maytag washer experience.
But mommy bloggers are nothing new in terms of how women have communicated about their purchasing decisions since the 1950s. Traditionally women have been the key shopper in families and seek other other women’s opinions about specific brands and services in order to justify their decision as well as possibly explore other avenues. Men do it too but men’s purchases tend to be larger, less frequent items, not the day to day consumer goods and staples.
One of the lines that struck me in the Times article was:
..countless other banalities of one mother’s eclectic life that, for some reason, hundreds of thousands of strangers tune in, regularly, to read.
What struck me is the “for some reason” part. The reporter should have thought about why do so many mothers tune in to Dooce or other parenting blog on a regular basis? There are several reasons why mothers, especially new mothers are going to these sites and social networks:
- It gives them an opportunity to connect with others in the same situation, especially if they are new mothers and facing the challenges of being a parent for the first time.
- They can talk to adults versus children and even see what their non-married, childless friends are doing.
- It gives them a platform to communicate and document their thoughts in written form.
- Sometimes people just need to vent and express how they are feeling.