So is parenting in the UK similar to parenting in the United States? Do UK parents use social media any differently than U.S. parents? Some friends at Parental Circle were kind enough to write the following article. Just launching today, Parental Circle has provided me with a special link so the first 50 readers are guaranteed access to their current beta phase on Parental Circle.
Social Media and Parents in the UK
“Being a parent can be an isolating experience. It is easy for your social life to drift away as the kids become your main focus. In the UK there is a growing body of parents that are utilising social media to develop a strong community which reduces this isolation and which offers support, advice and friendship.
There are currently over two thousand active parenting bloggers in the United Kingdom covering everything from the latest children’s products to cooking, and from the latest websites to the newest gadgets. This is an enormously active, receptive and open community that uses Twitter, their own websites, Facebook and a host of other social media tools to communicate and interact everyday.
Parents are using a variety of social media mechanisms to share their life and make strong connections across the country. Of all the social media tools on the web the most popular among UK parents are:
• WordPress – Blogs are becoming more and more popular and the most popular blogging service is WordPress, closely followed by Blogger. Blogs are being used not only as an outlet for thoughts, emotions and experiences but also as a source of income. UK parents have added a bit of spice to their blogging by having the tots100.co.uk which ranks blogs. To be in the top 100 is a badge of honour all parenting bloggers are striving to achieve.
• Twitter – The king of microblogging is massive in the parenting world in the UK. You can say a lot in 140 characters and it has moved from being used by parents to promote their blogs to become a way of interacting with other parents. The community often have a TwitterParty
• TwitCam – This is a service that has been getting used more and more by parents. The problem with other social media mechanisms is people can sometimes become faceless – just an avatar or screenname. Using TwitCam parents are able to quickly organise a screencast and share it with their friends on Twitter. This is really simple yet allows parents to engage with friends spread out across the country in a fun, exciting and often humorous way.
• Parental Circle – Well we couldn’t leave ourselves off the list! We are a social Q&A site for parents. In other words we allow parents to share their parenting knowledge with other parents by answering questions. We launch fully on 9th Feb but for the past month have been running a private test phase with great success.
• Others tools used are Instagram, YouTube, Flicker and Skype. The tech savvy parent in the UK makes use of all these to share everything from cooking recipes and holiday snaps to even weight loss regime.
This explosion in social media savvy parents has a clear impact on brands and organisations that market to the parenting and children’s markets. One negative customer or product experience can easily spread to thousands of parents in the blink of eye. Parents can, in minutes, gain recommendations from other parents on picking holidays, purchasing toys and games, restaurant choices and so much more. Organisations providing services and products now have to increase their customer service by engaging with their customers directly and swiftly to prevent bad experiences.
Friendships developed using social media are brought to life in the real world at an annual conference held in London. CyberMummy held this year on the 25th of June at The Brewery, allows parents to develop their social media skills as well as meet many of the parents they have created connections with online.”