Rise and Shine

Dot Moms Lead Social Media in the 2012 Election

Photo of Adam JusticeAs expansive as the use of social media is in 2012, especially for middle income Americans, it would be naïve to think that Facebook and other social media platforms will not play a large role in the Presidential election this year.


Barack Obama has been called the first digital President, and whoever his opponent is in November will not overlook the importance of the Internet in winning the presidency in 2012.


Soccer Moms Strike Back

In 1996 Bill Clinton won a second term over then Kansas Senator Bob Dole. Clinton famously referred to a new key demographic as crucial in his Electoral College landslide. The now infamous “Soccer Moms” were married suburban housewives with school aged children. They were often characterized as mini-van driving liberal sociopaths who were conceited and exalted their children like adolescent demi-gods. Living vicariously through their little ones, their stereotypical personalities became hated by mainstream America, but coveted as a demographic for aspiring politicians.


In 2012 there is another strong female demographic that will be just as powerful, and an even more coveted voting block than the soccer moms of legend; enter the Dot Moms.


Dot Moms are basically the same demographic as the soccer moms of the 1990s, only more sophisticated, influential and informed. They’re tech-savvy and social. They’ve also branched out, and expanded as a group and through personal growth.


The Dot Moms include so many different demographics that it is almost practical to include every female between 22 and 50 that spends more than an hour online per week. Women don’t need children to share the same beliefs and informal alliances.


The Internet has become ubiquitous with the vocal minorities who make movements and protests seem much larger than they actually are. Dot moms have a scalable influence that their predecessors did not, and they know how to exploit it.


Dot Moms Have Large Networks and Influence

A study released last year by the NPD group stated that 79 percent of U.S. women with children under the age of 18 were active on Social Media. The same study also provided a clue to how they use their influence through social media. 23 percent of the women surveyed say they have made a purchasing decision regarding a children’s product as a result of a recommendation from a connection through a social networking site or a blog. As women become more active online, they become even more likely to be influenced through these channels. When women started using social media daily, the occurrence rate of women who purchased a children’s product as a result of an online recommendation rose from 23 percent to 43 percent. The more women use Facebook and read blogs, the more likely they are to be influenced by one or the other.


Other surveys have shown that women in this group have larger networks than both their husbands and their children. Current Gen X females with children have friend lists that span three generations and include not only their own friends, but friends of their parents and friends of their children. With the shift away from personal networks to networks based on interests (such as Pinterest and Chime.in) stay at home moms have expanded their networks even farther from the realm of personal acquaintances.


Lost in Translation?

The major question concerning the Dot Moms when it comes to political influence is how well product suggestions translate to influence in the political realm. Deal a day bargain hunters have managed to stay totally amicable and friendly as the Dot Mom situation has grown. Even though it seems like the majority of these women are liberal to begin with, discourse has never been their strong suit, and a single outburst can discredit someone in the eyes of their followers indefinitely.


It is also yet to be determined if the Dot moms who do a wonderful job of influencing each other have any influence outside of their chosen spheres. Overall the nation doesn’t like the way Barack Obama has handled the Presidency, and nearly 47 percent would vote for a generic Republican over Obama’s 42 percent if the election were today. A conservative turn from the women of the Internet would have a much bigger impact than liberal women voting as expected.


In my opinion, the lines have been drawn too dark this year for many people to cross them. Regardless of influence in unlikely places, it’s going to take more persuasion to alter a vote than it does to switch to Pampers. There is a great deal of influence with the Dot Moms to be had, but any political marketing will have to cross several degrees of connection to make a difference when the conduits have already chosen their sides.


  1. so are you predicting Barry is gonna lose?   (Just curious and this piece doesn’t make it clear)

    • Not predicting anything as far as the results go, just that the single most far reaching group that has been identified in several studies is this key demographic. Given their political tendencies, it’s likely that they will actively campaign during the general election.

  2. eleisia /

    You are leaving out an important demographic when you describe the Dot Moms as females between 22 and 50 that spend more than an hour online per week. Women over 50 are often more informed and spend more time online. And they are involved with recommending and buying products in their role as grandmothers. 

    • Eleisia, you’re right that women over 50 shouldn’t be ignored, and that there are some of them who have considerable influence in online circles.

      However as a group, it’s the women who have parents on Facebook and children on Facebook that have the farthest reach. I think a more accurate number would be women between 28 and 48, but it’s hard to box it in. Basically, if your 75 year old Grandmother is on Facebook and has 250 friends and your 25 year old daughter is on Facebook with 500 friends, your reach is multiplied because a lot of those friends add you by default and the fact that you’ll show up in their recommendations. It doesn’t work quite as well for any other demographic. 

      The important thing to keep in mind as well is that this is a generalization. In key male demographics there are users like Robert Scoble, Justin Beiber, Gary Vaynerchuk, and others who are more influential online than any single dot mom. None of them however are more influential than the group as a whole, not by a long shot. Even a blogger who has considerable influence over the dot mom demographic itself will not have a fraction of the influence that the group has as a whole. They’re all independent influencers now, and their sheer numbers combined with their network reach (across 3 generations of friends and family that they know personally) makes them a coveted target for advertising and political motivations. 

      • People aren’t allowed to friend their PARENTS or CHILDREN on FACEBOOK. I thought you understood social media, Adam! 🙂 

        I’m kidding, of course. I’m friends with my dad and my daughter. My son couldn’t give a rats whiskers for Facebook, preferring, instead, to spend his time on Steam and YouTube.

        • Haha you’re right Holly. It wouldn’t be cool for teenagers to friend their parents, and parents might wish they would have never opened that door when their kids are holding something they found out on Facebook over their head :).

          I wwould guess your son is 11-17? Youtube, and Steam.. hmm… you may want to check his history for 4chan aand Brazzers lol :p I kid, I kid! Youtube is far more powerful than Facebook as a marketing tool, and Social Media marketing hasn’t breached that levy. It is more conducive to traditional marketing. I might do an experiment later this year with YouTube, may have to bring your son on as a consultant! He could be 26 though, I was on X-Box live playing Crysis 2 and Call of Duty as late as last year haha.

          • Holly Jahangiri /

            In my defense, my DAD friended ME a couple of years ago – I was already in my 40s. He wrote, “Don’t worry, I won’t judge.” I laughed and said, “Too late now if you were planning on it!” (It’s wonderful how our relationships with our parents change, as we all move to the adult table.) My son was happy enough to friend me (he used to send me pretend cows and trees for my orchard, and we spent happy hours rearranging the crop rows to suit our OCD tendencies). Then he grew completely bored with the whole thing. He tries to get me to play games (he did get me totally hooked on the MUSIC from FF, and we took each other to the symphony two years running), but I tell him I won’t let him be my dealer…

            Did I mention I used to do a little game design on the side – to support my online RPG habit? 🙂 Yeah, we don’t go there.

            I know about 4Chan. (Okay, that’s two – at three, it’s like saying “Beetlejuice,” so let’s don’t, okay?) What’s Brazzers, dare I ask?

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