Online Connections Do Not Replace True Friendships

It has been a long while since I read sociologist Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. At the time, I was an international student facing her first year in college and quite frankly, I did feel alone. Coming from a more communal culture, I felt that I had no hope in a country where the norm was isolation in suburbs and moving away from families for work or school. Over the years I built some wonderful friendships, but I still wonder what my life then would have been like if I had Facebook and continuous access to updates from 400+ connections I have on this site.

According to CafeMom‘s Mom Index (TM), things may not have been much different, despite the Internet. This study states that moms have an average of two true friends. Forget all the social networking, conversing online and participating in online chats. Moms are pretty isolated in their daily grind of work and family time. This finding is echoed by work published in the American Sociological Review, which states that the average American has only two close friends and a quarter do not have any. 

In other words, boasting hundreds of online connections may not mean that we are in touch with them or engaged in what they have to say. Technology helps spread word faster but does not replace the human factor. 

Posted via email from dotwom’s posterous

Moms to Corporations: "You Just Don’t Understand!"

The online community CafeMom recently launched a new measurement tool called the MomIndex, tracking moms’ quality of life. A quick review of highlights suggests that brands need to convince moms of their authenticity and truly offer great value to grab these women’s attention. According to the CafeMom study, only 7 percent of moms agree that corporations understand their needs and work to make their lives better. Only 6 percent trust brand advertising messages.

Moms are also concerned with the state of world and national affairs. Only one-fifth (22 percent) believe that America is headed in the right direction and 14 percent trust the government to help improve their lives. As low as these percentages may seem, it is worthwhile to note that moms are more likely to trust the government than corporations and brands. They have more hope in an institution that is criticized daily by multiple sources through numerous channels, than companies that try to communicate positive aspects of their products and services.

The gaps between these numbers show the long way ahead of brands that want to earn moms’ trust and generate positive word of mouth. They will need to fight moms’ cynicism and be ready to withstand these savvy consumers’ scrutiny. Above everything else, their messages will need to be believable.  

Posted via email from dotwom’s posterous