My thesis, mom bloggers and understanding brand relationships

News flash: I’m not your average mom blogger. ūüėČ

I do research in social media and post that along with my posts about my family, my work, my life and beliefs. Like most women I wear many hats, and I blog a little about them all. Sometimes it’s academic (like this one could be if I hadn’t just had 3 hours sleep), other times it’s more focused on how many things people throw away that are perfectly good. My blog is three dimensional – it’s a pretty transparent view of me in all my roles.

Many people and companies know I do humanities focused research in social ¬†media. Some are really interested – it sounds so fun to work on that stuff! But I’m ¬†kind of sucking the fun out of social media. I am very interested in how little details ¬†like word choice and sentence structure contribute to identity work (how we see ¬†people, and how we construct what we want others to see us as being). I find I need ¬†to speak about stuff in very much a short elevator pitch style rather than give full ¬†answers to those who ask about my research – because you know what? They really ¬†don’t care about the structure of a tweet the way I do. They want to connect and get ¬†stuff. I want to know why. While these overlap, they’re not exactly the same. To use ¬†an academic term, we have different lenses.

Luckily, my friends/colleagues are typically one of the following:

a. Too polite to say how truly boring they find it, or how I’m destroying the ‘fun aspects’ of social media for them by analyzing everything they do/post.

b. Care more about me as a person than my work.

c. Actually like talking about the research and how it fits with what they’re interested in (these people tend to be other academics, people in industry concerned with social media, or startup people.)

d. Someone I used in my research data collection.

e. On drugs/alcohol.

Or a little of some of all of the above.

In any case, whatever area you fit in – I’m posting my full Masters Thesis here. Because it’s my blog and I can. And also because I spent a heck of a lot of time researching and writing it. The realm of the mom blogger is a crazy and at times convoluted one. Not all of us get along – in fact I’m waiting for a “Real Housewives” version of mom bloggers. (If you giggled/smiled at that, you know what I mean.) And that friction is because we are all passionate, opinionated and sassy. Even though I disagree with some of the things people do, I respect them for making their own way.

So enjoy my thesis for what it is. For those who are not seasoned academics and want to actually find out what it was all about, probably the best thing for you to do is just read the intro and then skip to the conclusion – and trust that I did all the data work in between – that will stop boredom setting in.

I am moving on with my work, and have entered the realm of crisis informatics – looking at how people use new tools of technology to communicate during emergencies and disasters. I am very lucky to be working in the EPIC lab at the University of Colorado. I continue to be interested in digital marketing, social media and as a mom blogger (self identified as well as identified by others), I look forward to seeing how and if brands and women finally work out how to work together.

FINAL MASTERS THESIS

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