Happy Mothers’ Day (Don’t Forget to Post on Your Mom’s Wall)

Was a time, not so long ago when electronics where pretty much a guy thing. Even a few years ago, electronics manufacturers had a hard time figuring out how to sell anything but a television to women. But now, the tide has turned. Nielson released a new survey of American mothers that shows moms are pretty solidly wired.

According to the survey (and some wording from TechCrunch’s coverage):

  • 54 percent of moms use smartphones (above the national average for all users)
  • 75 percent of moms use Facebook
  • “more than one-third of Pinterest’s monthly audience, or around five million users, is made up of mothers”, and they post via mobile more often than the average user
  • 1/3 of bloggers are moms
  • actually, 52 percent of all bloggers in the U.S. are parents with kids under 18 at home
  • “In the last 30 days, moms were 38 percent more likely than average consumers to become fans of a brand or follow it online”
  • and moms were between a third and a half more likely to buy things online than average consumers

With these kinds of numbers, there could be some really creative, engaged, liberating things going on here.

Unfortunately, the coverage of the study that I saw focused primarily on the buying angle. Nielson, of course, is a marketing analytics company that carries out research to help companies advertise better. So, I expect them to focus on the way in which trends can help advertisers. But I would expect the tech blogs to have something more to say than “if anything, that seems to indicate that there is an opportunity for e-commerce companies to expand what they do online to target mother consumers.” (TechCrunch)

How about:

    If anything, the study seems to indicate that women, who have often found themselves on the outside of the traditional publishing infrastructure are adapting well to the new opportunities that technology affords?

or

    If anything, the study seems to indicate that women in our geographically disjointed society are carving out spaces to create new kinds of neighborhoods?

or

    If anything, the study seems to indicate that mothers—and fathers—are finding ways to overcome the disconnection that new parents feel without having to buy a latte a day?

So many interesting things going on in this study to highlight other than the consumer angle. Yet, the big story is how women can be made into engines of commerce.

There is certainly a valid place for advertising. People need things for commodious living, and companies benefit if they can provide them. Yet, wasn’t one of Kant’s formulation of the categorical imperative, “never treat people as means only, but always as ends”? If the only comment we can come up with is that there are more opportunities to make money off people, we’re either way too jaded about the wonders of tech, or we really do think there’s nothing more to people than the resources they can allocate.

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