So would you like to get to know another social media Dad: Vincent Daly, aka CuteMonster?
Vincent was born and raised in the Bronx in a diverse hardworking lower middle class neighborhood teeming with kids. He aspired to be an actor but stumbled in to the internet era and landed a job as a writer/producer for a video game magazine web site all while experiencing the life of a NYC working actor preparing to make the leap to LA in pursuit of a film career. But like so many men, Vincent was laid off in December 2008 with the U.S. economy reeling from the financial crisis. So in January 2009, CuteMonster™ was born.
I decided to blog about my experience as a stay at home dad while also testing out some designs for a possible push into e-commerce. As the months passed the blog began to grow in scale of topics. A grassroots following of the site began to develop. On Twitter, other Dad bloggers and Mom bloggers quickly took notice as did prominent figures in children’s media. By 2010 the CuteMonster brand began to take hold. In addition to taking care of the children I was also immersed in freelance graphic design work. Yet there were obvious signs about the potential for the CuteMonster blog. So I redirected my focus in order to continue to cultivate an audience. Recently redesigned in late 2010, the CuteMonster site has transformed from a blog into more of the online resource for Dads in its mission statement. The site continues to grow in scale with 2011 promising growth in several different upcoming sections to the site. And soon we’re going to make a bigger push into media content creation (comics, animated shorts, etc.).
How did CuteMonster get it’s name?
“CuteMonster was largely inspired by my son. I recognized the cuteness inherent in my child, but also the potential for mischief the little guy possessed. He truly had all the trappings of a cute monster. I realized this was a common theme for many parents with respect to their children.”
How did you find the Dads at Dad Revolution?
After a few short months on Twitter, some Dad bloggers who were familiar with my writing reached out to me to join a group of other Dads to form a site. After several chat discussions, DadRevolution.com was born. After a healthy debate among the group, we decided on a format as well as a theme. I was tasked with creating a logo.
What do other fathers think/say to you when they find out you are blogging, tweeting, posting on Facebook? Are your friends involved in social media?
Most of the Dads I’ve spoken with about CuteMonster have been completely supportive. In fact, they get charged up about the site because there’s almost a relief that someone finally has recognized the glaring need for a site tailored to Dads. Too often Dads who are the primary care providers have found themselves alienated by the status quo parenting community be it locally at “Mommy and Me” type Kid’s classes to Parenting publications whose sole focus seems to be motherhood.
What kind of relationships have you developed with the Dads online? Have you met them in the real world?
A level of camaraderie has organically evolved with the Dads I’ve been privileged to meet online. Whether it’s general support or something more specific there’s refreshingly very little ego in the mix. The socially inhibiting constructs found in one’s daily life become diminished with Dads online.
In my work with DadRevolution.com, we’ve had several voice chats via Skype. As for real world meetings, since I’m planning to attend a few conventions this year such as the International Toy Fair, I’ll have the opportunity to actually interact with Dads I’ve met online.
What is your goal for CuteMonster? Is it an outlet for fatherhood or do you have aspirations for it? I see you sell your designs on your site. Or is it to build an e-commerce business?
CuteMonster.com has tremendous potential. The tangible impact of helping fathers is a reward unto itself. Yet creatively, the sky’s the limit. To date, the e-commerce aspect of the site has been an afterthought. Over time though, the promise of growth in this area will occur in tandem with development of other aspects of the site. Certainly the outcome of adding additional contributors to the site will break new ground.
Does your wife blog or tweet? What does she think about your involvement in social media?
My wife does not blog or tweet. In fact she’s just become familiar with Facebook. Suffice it is to say, she’s not a tech geek like yours truly. On the other hand, my wife is thrilled that I’ve been able to network via Twitter and other Social Media to build awareness of CuteMonster.com, a project she fully supports.
Have you worked with brands yet?
I have begun working with brands at a snail’s pace. As the site grows, I have been strategically seeking out brands that present ideal synergies with the CuteMonster.com audience.
What should brands know about Dads? What makes Dads tick?
There have been many published reports about how women, specifically moms, make most of the purchasing decisions in a family. Simply put, this is false. From big ticket electronic items to diapers, men often will research the information about a product before any actual purchases are made. The findings of this research are disseminated to their wives and a purchase is eventually made. Yet brands only track the last link of the chain. They’ve missed a golden opportunity to obtain the complete picture.
What are the differences or similarities between Dads and Moms online?
Moms have gravitated towards social media more readily then Dads. Men like to have meetings and to get to the business at hand. Women tend to blur the lines between social interaction and business. They have a natural affinity for networking that men find difficulty in achieving. The alpha male seeks to dominate the group where as females in charge seek a more collective way of solving problems. Both Moms and Dads have found common ground using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook. The inhibitions to be more social are somewhat stripped away in the online space for Dads. But in the social media space for Moms and Dads, the playing field is surprisingly level.