If you are a parent of little ones you probably have a friend you go to when you need advice. You might be looking for the toughest stain remover out there or how to get your 18-month-old to sleep through the night. Why do we rely on our friends for this how-to information? Because they have experience and we TRUST them! With social media, the ‘friends’ we can go to for this advice has grown exponentially.
Introducing the mom blog... These ladies are in the trenches, living the life of momdom and they have valuable advice! Their videos and blogs are the real deal. Want to know how to do anything on a budget? Want the inside scoop on sleeping? They have you covered!
But what if, at the end of the day, all they are trying to do is make an income while forging friendships and connections online? Does that make their advice less valuable?
When I started my learning project to get my household, and my family, more organized I didn’t turn to Martha Stewart or Tori Spelling for guidance. I wasn’t interested in trying to create the perfect Pinterest worthy home. And trust me, I know the path perfectionism leads you on… it isn’t a pretty journey! I was more interested in what was achievable, what was real, and, more importantly, who I could identify with.
I found two great mom bloggers that fit this bill. But the more I followed them online the more I started getting hints of product placement and endorsements. It only became obvious to me when I was scouring the aisles of Wal-Mart in vain looking for the exact sippy cup that Kathryn from Do It On A Dime highly recommended. Was I just following the advice of my well-intentioned friend Kathryn or had I been had by marketing geniuses! (Clearly, in this video it says “sponsored”)
Critical interactions with mom bloggers
Dr. Stephen Brookfield, a critical thinker and adult educator, poses excellent questions and methods to dig deeper when engaging in social media. One question he asked in his article Teaching Students to Think Critically About Social Media is: “Who sponsors your Communications/Devices?”. This question led me to ask myself: Who sponsors my friend’s advice? Who is behind their messages and what are they trying to sell me? Who is really benefiting from this relationship?
Is their advice any less valuable?
Ok, so now that I am aware the mom bloggers I follow might be sponsored in some capacity, do I ignore their advice? Or, have they built enough social credit with me that I am willing to overlook the potential lack of authenticity?
After considering these questions I have decided that I will continue looking to mom bloggers for advice. However, I now have a critical lens through which I can assess what is genuine and truly valuable.
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). Teaching Students to Think Critically About Social Media. New Directions For Teaching & Learning, 2015(144), 47-56. doi:10.1002/tl.20162