Thursday, 20 June 2013

An anachronism against Mumsnet!

I've been quiet for a while. That's partly because raising the child and doing the day job have both taken up a vast chunck of my time recently. It's also because I've been thinking through my online presence as a dad in light of the recent clash with the denizens of mumsnet.

For those of you reading this from overseas, mumsnet needs a bit of explaining. From a user perspective its like Reddit for permanently aggrieved matriarchs who feel that just because they've given birth, they're entitled to vent collectively on subjects ranging from foreign policy through to school dinners. People post about everything from their partner's sexual preferences (I think he'd prefer someone who wasn't spending every waking moment gossiping over a digital hedge about his lack of enthusiasm in the bedroom since she's had a kid and started spending 5 hours a day talking about their sex-life in online forums), their children's problems at school (If little Barry isn't being bullied yet, he certainly will be when they realise his mum posts as ParanoidNutcase1990), and what they're having for dinner (you're ordering from a takeaway... your dinner has burnt whilst you've been online!).

As you know, dear reader, I joined mumsnet as a way to have some kind of voice... not for the prissy, slightly cowed metro-dad who gives a damn about what the world thinks, but for the type of dad who's aim in life is his son's happiness... after I started posting on mumsnet I lasted about a month until I got a rather snooty email and a ban (interestingly, mumsnet is a digital security nightmare, it would be possible to bot-spam the place into submission as random email addresses can be used to register with no further checking). So what were my crimes? Well, I managed to upset people... I'm not really that sorry, so I'll tell you what I said, to who, albeit with comical overtones:

Little Mz Breadline
"I'm so poor, my son's father had to buy him a coat!"
"I buy all my kid's coats, what's so bad about that?"
"I'm a single mother {sniff}"
"Yes, but not the Virgin Mary... it's still normal for dad's to buy coats... get over it.
Trying to conceive
"I really want to conceive, but my husband hasn't agreed to do the deed again"
"When you asked, were you (a) fully clothed and staring at the computer? or (b) naked and staring at his crotch? Because if it's (a) then his reasons for refusing are the same ones you give for refusing to perform fellatio during match of the day!"
The Management
"We read your blog."
"That's nice... didn't you do that months ago, before approving me?
"Not really, blog approval is all about metrics, so we'd approve anything that contained enough uses of the word "child" "parent" and "hormones" initially. The thing is, we've had a couple of complaints, and we don't think it's right that you're part of the mumsnet community?
"Any particular reason? Is it my lack of self-pity and sense of entitlement? Or perhaps I haven't clicked enough revenue generating ads?"
"Well... both!"

So there we have it, a parting of the ways. Mumsnet will always be sadly ironic... they've decided that they're going to protest against the bounty packs being given out in hospitals, whilst simultaneously attempting to monopolise the online and spending patterns of thousands of parents who "just want the best for their child". They host content generated by a variety of less than child- or liver-friendly product promotions (at the moment it's Gin!) following a marketing strategy devised by the nice people at EngageSciences who explain exactly how mumsnet work in a clever little flowchart on their website entitled "Social Marketing's Secret Sauce". Mumsnet are not an advocacy group, they're not a parenting club, they're not a social conscience. They're an ingenious way to turn slightly vulnerable mothers into readily profiled fish in a barrel for marketers to exploit, and by targeting bounty, they're not helping mums, they're eliminating the competition.


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