‘Harnessing the Power of Women On-Line' for The Future Lab

The internet – it’s an integral part of our work and social life and has become an increasingly important means of communications for brands in the noughties. From the rise of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to the increase in bloggers (professional and amateur) across all industries  - on-line is now an accepted part of the marketing mix and even more so for PR. But do we feel that we really know who is surfing our micro-sites, blogging about our brands and tweeting words of wisdom about the latest greatest product?

In partnership with The Future Laboratory, Bray Leino introduces FemUnity – a world in which women are dominating and revolutionising the internet. Whether it’s social networks or blogs women are voicing their thoughts, opinions and preferences to anyone who’ll listen. FemUnity is an all encompassing tribe of women from teens through to silver surfers who use the internet to gain an unprecedented level of power and influence as consumers and, increasingly as gatekeepers of opinion.
 
It’s no coincidence that it’s women, not men, who are spearheading this social internet revolution. The internet today requires users to be socially collaborative – engage in conversation, share emotion, solicit opinion, adept at relationship building – something women excel at on and off line.  The internet has given women the power to be digital creators, consumers, commentators and reviewers.

We only have to look at Mumsnet to see a FemUnity in action. This web based community was the brainchild of Justine Roberts, a former journalist who enlisted the help of her friend TV producer Carrie Langton to set up a site where parents could share their parenting know-how on the net. The Mumsnet FemUnity has become so influential that this year’s general election was dubbed ‘The Mumsnet Election’ with members quizzing party leaders and demanding answers to their huge variety of questions from biscuits to special-needs schooling. The nation had no choice but to sit up and listen to the women on-line who had the three most influential men in politics dancing to their tune.

Looking at blogging in particular, we can see that this relatively new internet activity is becoming increasingly mainstream. And it’s mummy bloggers who are revolutionising the female blogosphere. This summer saw the first ever CyberMummy conference in the UK, where over 500 mummy bloggers from across the UK got together to meet each other in person and, interestingly, to listen to PR’s and experts from various industries talk to them about how to deal with brand requests to write about product and how to make money from their blog.

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