Social Computing by any other name...
March 14, 2006
I'm still in a tizzy about blogs and the fact that too many people - people who just don't get it - act as if blogs, and bloggers, are easily dismissed.
A few minutes ago I was reading Micro Persuasian where Steve Rubel has a post on how social computing is changing the way we do business. I'm using the term 'social computing' because it's become a standard description of this platform. But, I prefer the term blogging. Anyway, the report , from Forrester research, says,
"Easy connections brought about by cheap devices, modular content, and shared computing resources are having a profound impact on our global economy and social structure. Individuals increasingly take cues from one another rather than from institutional sources like corporations, media outlets, religions, and political bodies."
If I may? Are you listening Herschell Gordon Lewis?
This is called: word-of-mouth. It's happening because we simple citizens know that movie critics, journalists, and reporters, all have a vested interest in the content they create.That vested interested has increasingly made many of us suspicious of mainstream media. We're tired of being sold to. We're tired of being tricked. We're tired of hearing paid pharmicological endorsements with more side effects than solutions - and we're dang tired of big business thinking it knows better than we, what we want, what's good for us, and how we should live our lives.
Yes, indeedy, I'm ranting. If you don't want to listen - you don't have to hang around and read any further.
One of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is because I firmly believe - and no, at this time I do not have stats to back up my assertion - that women dominate blogging. That means, I think there are more women blogging than men. More women using this tool to communicate with family and friends, and others who have an interest in their writing, than men. More women - on the Internet, translates to more women blogging. It's that simple.
I don't say this to create strife or cause arguments. All blogging is worthwhile - well, most blogging is worthwhile. I've come across some blogs that, like some books and some magazines and some TV shows and some movies, would be better left on the cutting room floor. But, of the 30 million blogs being tracked today (and more, since Technorati says 70,000 news ones are started daily), most of them are focused content that engages readers.
The content is sometimes written by folks with only a high school education. Heck, some of'em are in high school! Or, it's content written by women at home, connecting to a wide network all over the world. Content written by men who are working alongside their wives (or significant others) to build a home-based business of one sort or another, in an attempt to create a strong family - one where the parents are involved, daily, hourly, minute by minute, in their children's lives.
The content in blogs, even the business blogs - management writing on how to manage better; sales professionals writing on the best way to meet sales objectives; CEOs writing on the struggle to be a strong leader yet not lose their warmth and friendliness...all provide value to their readers. Else... they wouldn't have readers!
Social networking, social computing, blog platforms, whatever you care to call it - in the end it comes down to this: people like to connect and talk. To each other. To other people who share the same beliefs or experiences. And, we like to butt heads with people who don't share our beliefs or experiences - it's human nature. Within that, women are the prime communicators. Women drive the connections offline - and now, via blogs, we are driving the connections online.
Women - in the pursuit of a new recipe, or a better knitting needle, or an answer to a business, family, political, or social question, are communicating via the Internet and blogs. And, as we do so well offline, we're associating with others just like us - who, in turn, introduce us to new friends. The connections grow like fireflies on a humid July evening in the NorthEast. Our firefly talk flutters around hubs, but it doesn't stop there. Like true gadabouts, we flit and fly from here to there and back again, and learn new things - and experience the excitement of meeting new people.
Today, I met some women who aren't blogging. I mentioned blogging to them. They seemed interested. BUT...they're still sunk in the world of mainstream media, where the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis, and others like him, are passing around misconceptions and mistruths about the nature of blogging. These women were agast at the concept of leaving comments OPEN...without moderation! They took deep breaths and glared at me with fright in their eyes when I suggested allowing members free reign to write in the organization's blog. They wondered, out loud, "What if...someone writes something 'bad'? Or, worse, illegal!"
What if someone does? Who determines the 'badness'?
What illegal things are they afraid people will write? I just don't know.
I only know that millions, yes, millions of women blog. They do it because it's fun. It's another form of togetherness. And, it makes them happy. They do it because they have something to share. Sometimes it's personal, many times it isn't. You don't have to read their blogs if you don't want to.
But, you have to accept that they're out there. And, that...they're probably clients or customers of yours. Are you willing to ignore this channel of marketing? Shouldn't you be advertising on their blogs - turning them into customer evangelists? Shouldn't you be reading their blogs - to learn more about them? Shouldn't you be engaging them in conversation, on YOUR blog? The better to SERVE them??? Here's someone who knows how to court women...via the blogosphere. Gil the Jenius actively seeks input from women - because he recognizes power when he sees it.
If you get it, as well as Gil does, contact me. We should talk.
If you don't ...well, next time I see you standing on the corner with your hat in your hand, I'll throw in a few pennies.
Thanks for stopping by. You obviously know whereof you speak! I stopped over to your site...I like! Very much! Let's chat...email me soon: [email protected]
Posted by: Yvonne DiVita | March 18, 2006 at 12:12 PM
Jackie, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I, too, have been caught up in the world of business blogging and/or political blogging - where men dominate, so it seems. BUT...I have discovered the world of the Mommy blogger - a world of millions of women (and some men, who are proud to be Daddy bloggers) who are so connected across the vast universe called the Internet, we little business bloggers are drawfed by comparison.
These are the true citizen journalists. The real people that writers write about. They're offering opinions and thoughts and advice in their blogs, with product reviews and word-of-mouth insight marketers have traditionally paid big bucks for.
Like the gatherings on Sunday after church, or at the library during preschool, like quarterly PTA meetings, or school bazaars, the blogs these women write are designed to encourage chat. A give and take - of ideas, insight, stories, all the things women have shared at the well, or over coffee, or during family gatherings - for hundreds of years.
Blogher is one of several women's blogging communities. Communities developed to give women a platform - a stage - a presence, where they did not have one before.
I don't see the guys organizing anything like that.
Posted by: Yvonne DiVita | March 18, 2006 at 12:11 PM
It's interesting that your impression is that more women are blogging than men. I've not seen any recent studies to indicate this. I think I must read too many business/marketing blogs because most of them are men.
But there has been a bunch of studies that women create more word of mouth than men, so I don't disagree with your perception.
And I guess a great celebration of what you are talking about would be BlogHer http://www.blogher.org/
Posted by: Jackie Huba | March 18, 2006 at 11:48 AM
Thanks for an insightful article. I can testify to the power of women's blogs. I can get HUGE spikes in traffic just from one popular blog mention. http://angrychicken.typepad.com gave my paper toy website a little nudge and my rank zoomed up to 38,000 which resulted in a lot of extra book sales. Powerful stuff from a blog that deals mostly in bonnets and bunnies, (among other cool things)
I use my blog/LJ as a testing kitchen. It's like a coffee klatch of cool people that I can bounce ideas around with before I put things out in the big world.
Keep using your superpowers for good,
Posted by: Marilyn Scott-Waters | March 18, 2006 at 11:28 AM