Have you seen this article that was posted on Forbes? What do you think?
Does Anyone Really Take Mommy Bloggers Seriously?
You might be interested to know that according to one source (DigitalMomBlogs.com citing emarketer.com), there are about 3.9 million mommy bloggers. In fact, after about five minutes of searching, I found one network (MomBloggersClub.com) alone that boasts over 17,000 members.
Despite the fact that there are so many mommy bloggers, I have to admit that I originally found it hard to take them seriously. However, I have a colleague whose wife regularly blogs about a reality TV show and has thousands of visitors to her blog every week; and earlier today, Time.com did a story about how mommy bloggers are impacting toy sales this season. What’s more, I personally know of a small cosmetic company that is using a mommy blogger network to share product information, get feedback and promote his line of cosmetics. Whether or not your organization takes mommy bloggers (or social media generally) seriously, ignoring the power of this new metaphor for collaborating and learning might be a big mistake.
If you’re lucky enough to produce a product that will resonate with that particular audience, tapping into 3.9 million potential champions could make launching a new product or expanding the market-share of an existing product a lot easier. However, the lessons we can learn from this phenomenon are far greater than whether or not a mommy blogger writes about our products or services.
What Can We Learn From Mommy Bloggers?
Mommy bloggers are successfully leveraging social media to collaborate and communicate about the products they use, what’s happening within their families and what they’re interested in. They share their blogs via Facebook and Twitter expanding their reach to a broader network of friends and friends of friends, creating an audience of people interested in what they have to say. I can’t help but see how this type of natural-feeling collaboration has value within the enterprise.
Marketing organizations have probably been the first to jump on the social media bandwagon and have been diligently working to convert the millions of social media users into customers for their various and sundry products—some with great success. I believe a marketing application of the metaphor only scratches the surface.
The Perfect Metaphor For Collaboration?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about CEO Thierry Brenton of Atos plans oneliminating email within his organization over the next 18 months. Although I’m not convinced that organizations can eliminate email from their cadre of tools, he makes some interesting points about social media and text messaging. Without question, the ubiquitous nature of social media generally and the mommy blogger phenomenon particularly demonstrate that if the conditions are right people will, nay want, to collaborate.
This is incredibly relevant to organizations that rely on projects and the ability of teams to work together. The real question should be, “How can we best leverage this technology to facilitate collaboration, inform decisions and earn more profits?” rather than, “Do you think we should take this social media thing seriously?” I don’t think there’s any question that the current way most business leaders and software vendors approach collaboration just isn’t cutting it.
In a recent article published by the Canadian Industrial Equipment News, they cited a study completed by ESI International, a project management learning company suggesting that although the majority of organizations value a highly collaborative work environment, less than one out of three organizations actually have a framework in place to facilitate it. It seems obvious to me that wishing your project teams would collaborate more effectively isn’t going to do the trick.
For project teams, I’m not convinced the answer involves incorporating Facebook or Twitter into the process. I do believe that creating an environment where a a person’s network includes their colleagues at work and a discussion about projects, tasks and issues is part of what they’re collaborating about is the answer. I’m convinced that if we can successfully create this type of environment there will be a free (dare I saw voluntary) flow of relevant information flowing throughout the organization with status and context that will inform the decisions executives make every day, include the real story to otherwise static conversations about data and give team members the opportunity to contribute at a higher level.
Is a social media-like approach the perfect answer for collaboration? There are many who would argue that it remains to be seen. I do think it’s safe to say in light of our current inability to create the collaborative environments we all agree are critical to success, the mommy bloggers might be on to something.