Earlier this year, the Washington Post published an article about the new shiny and spotless void that is the “mommy Internet.” Do sponsored blog posts and beautiful Instagram pictures mean the “real” mom blogger of yore is dead and gone? As an association who represents the Influencer Marketing space, we argue that she’s far from the grave. She’s just evolving alongside a changing digital world.
First, let’s talk about what has changed: namely the landscape of what The Washington Post coins the “mommy Internet.” The reason it doesn’t look the way it did a decade ago is simple. The Internet looks nothing like it did in 2008. Think about it. In 2008, Instagram didn’t exist, Twitter was non-visual and restricted to 140 characters, and uploading a video on Facebook required a degree from MIT. And, just look at how the cell phone camera has advanced over the years.
Yesterday’s Mom Blogger is Today’s Social Media Influencer
A mom blogger in 2008 was a true pioneer in the influencer marketing industry. Today’s writers and consumers of parenting blogs have changed in age and perspective. Millennials are moms now. Believe it or not, 8 in 10 births in the U.S. are to millennial women. And social media usage, especially among millennials, has increased in the past few years. The difference? Today’s social media influencers (previously known as the mom blogger) may start with a platform like Instagram or Facebook. Then, they evolve to a blog as their digital presence grows. In the olden days, the blog was the primary vehicle for sharing content with the world.
We’ve seen a seismic shift in the online platforms influencers use to express their thoughts, opinions, and advice. If any social media site is king in the mom influencer space, it’s Instagram. With 700 million users, this visual story-telling platform is manna for a parent with cute kids. And even better if said parents have a passion for decorating or a love of fashion. The mom influencers we work with tell us that with the rise of Instagram, they’ve had to seriously upgrade their photography and editing game. Who can blame them? Quality photos appeals to brands that use advertising images to tout their products.
It’s true, the graphic nature of today’s social media landscape and the increasing ability for women to earn a living by showcasing their life from the comforts of their home has led to shinier, more curated images of their lives.
Balancing Authenticity With Perfectly Curated Lives on Social Media
Washington Post author, Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s contention that there is no grit in today’s mom blog landscape is simply not true. Sarah singles out Amanda Watters of the blog Homesong. Yes, she has three kids, her home is spotless, and her Instagram feed features a simple homespun life. What’s wrong with that? In fact, on both Instagram and her blog, Amanda tackles some difficult subjects: post-partum depression, her own adoption, and the daily hardships of motherhood. Yes, there are plenty of influencers who only show the perfectly curated version of their lives. But, that’s social media in general though, right?
In summary, the best influencers are authentic, real, aspirational, and strike a good balance between sponsored and non-sponsored content. They might stage their images. That’s probably not what their kitchen looks like 100% of the time. And yes, their kid probably spills apple juice all over themselves 2 minutes after the photo was taken. And yes, they receive compensation for some of their posts. You can say all the above. But, you can’t say these women don’t tell meaningful stories, tackle serious issues, or have real opinions.