The Cyberbrains

Research and contemplation in new media

Mom told me about days like this

We all know recognize the super Web freaks: Hot shot kids who live on Facebook and think the only source of information is Google. They are young, wired and cocky.Clyde Bentley

Or so we thought. Recently I saw some proprietary research that verified our own survey results. The prime user of our type of Internet is not my 22-year-old son, Garrett. It is my 29-year-old daughter, Gillian.

Gillian almost exactly fits the profile of what we and others now see as the prime user of the Web: 29, two kids, college education, middle income and a mortgage. Our market is not the Gen-X singles but the 30-something moms.

When I first looked at our data, I doubted its validity. After all, I’ve been part of the media posse that saddled the Web to chase the elusive Young Herd. I should have stayed closer to the barn, my daughter told me.

As she explained, it’s a no-brainer.

“Just because I have two little kids doesn’t mean I’m not smart,” she said. Gillian has a master’s degree, owns a home and is very opinionated. But chasing an active 5-year-old boy while you are carrying an infant doesn’t leave much room for civic outings.

So Gillian and her sisters use the Web both to keep in touch and to do the type of things she would do in person if she wasn’t on mom duty. She’s very active on Babywhisperer, a social network for mothers. She goads city officials and talks with the folks down the street through her neighborhood association site. Now she even has her own online business selling home-sewn baby carriers.

But commerce also plays a big role in her cyber life, which is where newspapers should wake up. As in most American families, Gillian makes the bulk of her family’s buying decisions even though she doesn’t wander the Gillian and Britonaisles much anymore.

“Going to Home Depot with a 5-year-old is such a pain,” she said. Buckling two kids into the car is only the start. I’ve taken grandson Briton to the market – I didn’t get to see many pricetags. As she dryly noted, “it’s so much harder to browse.”

But Gillian recently bought custom tiles from Home Depot via the company’s Web site. In fact, she does quite a bit of her shopping online. She still loves her local grocery and specialty shops, but she checks the specials online before venturing out. That she can do during naptime.

So what do mom’s like Gillian need from those of use in the media? I’m still developing my links for that …

June 7, 2007 - Posted by | Clyde Bentley

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