Susanna from A Modern Mother has posted her seven predictions for the parent blogging community next year. Never one to miss an opportunity to copy a great idea* here are my own seven predictions:
- Susanna thinks video blogging will be big in 2010. I disagree. I think the vast majority of Mummy bloggers (and perhaps a few Dads) like the anonymity of blogging, and would shriek in horror at the idea of the world seeing their grey hairs, wrinkles, eye-bags and wobbly bits (I have none of these things obviously. Because I’m 21 and a size zero). Instead, I think the big tech story of 2010 will be micro-blogging services like Tumblr and Posterous. Rather than creating a site in Blogger or WordPress these platforms let you email short clips, pictures, video, text, links – and they all magically appear in a single stream – it’s blogging made unbelievably fast and simple. You don’t even need to register for an account to use Posterous.
- Parent bloggers will become more diverse. The early pioneers of blogging have mostly been people who have a professional background in writing, comms or technology. So we’ve got a real bias towards middle class, white, 30-something graduates. I think as blogging gets more widespread, and simpler, the community is going to become A LOT more diverse. It's going to be awesome.
- This diversity is going to mean new niches in parent blogging. We’ve already got parent blogs about gardening and home ed, but in 2010 there will be even more choice of reading material – Granny blogs, political blogs, crafty blogs, cooking blogs – the sky’s the limit.
- Less homogeneity means more conflict. 2009 saw one or two pretty minor spats in the parent blogging community. Inevitably, as you get more voices, you’ll get more disagreement between bloggers. And I hate to be the one to say it, but large groups of women are not known for their ability to get along easily – and I don’t expect blogging to be an exception to the rule.
- More commercialisation. Part of the increased conflict in blogging is going to be driven by the increasing involvement of marketing, advertising and PR. I think PR approaches will polarise – some agencies will take a scattergun approach of sending out lots of freebies to (what they see as) low value blogs that will write about them while other agencies will take a strategic view and try to build relationships with (what they see as) premium parent blogs.
- Bloggers as brand ambassadors. Unless you’re topping 50,000 unique users a month, advertising is just a really drawn-out way to earn enough money to buy a cup of coffee. So I think brands are going to try and capture some of that parent blog sparkle by paying for posts – either on the parent blog itself, or on the brand’s website, where the blogger acts as a paid columnist. It’s a win-win proposition already being used by several major household names like Tomy and Proctor & Gamble.
- Protests. We’ve seen in other sectors how powerful a blog can be in forcing change within corporations. In 2009 many bloggers wrote powerfully about issues affecting their children, from seating on planes to buggies that don’t work. I think as networks of bloggers become more established, we’ll start to see organised campaigns, lobbies and protests – and smart companies will listen. US companies have already discovered that annoying the Mom blogs is a bad idea.
* I didn't really nick the idea, Susanna asked me what I thought.
** Also, I run workshops for PRs on how to build smart relationships with bloggers and pitching parent blogs. Find out more by dropping me an email.