February 10, 2014

Guest Post by DadaRocks: Dad Blogger POV

The following is a previously published post by @DadaRocks. He has graciously given permission to republish it here to express his thoughts on being a “dad” blogger in a predominently female industry and at a blogging conference. Enjoy!

Dada Rocks logo

Daddy Stands Out In a Crowd

I wasn’t really going to write about BlogHer here too since I did a small recap on my personal blog site. Although I wanted to keep telling the story of how it felt to be at a conference where you’re less then 10% of the total amount of people attending the conference, first it’s a little weird and awkward.  If you don’t think so, that’s fair, but when you first step into a room filled with women, some of whom you know and most of whom you really dont know you get that little voice in your head saying “Really?! Really?! do you really need to be here?”

The concept of “flight or fight” kicks into overdrive once you encounter the least bit of push back of someone questing your intentions at a “women” focused event. While I was so happy to connect with all the different men/dads that were at the conference, some of whom you’ll see on DadRevolution in the coming weeks (hopefully) writing guest posts, this wasn’t my first conference designed for the opposite sex. Clearly some brands knew and recognized the fact that dads/men were going to come (and had different printout/materials/swag for them) and some didn’t care and really didn’t want to focus time on you, which is sad. I understand where they’re coming from;  for them this is their event to truly connect with the powerhouse that is female social media. Although jokes would have you hear the drum beat in the distance which is that of the social media push of the dad/guys.  M3Summit taking place in Atlanta in a few weeks is just the first of many conferences and it’s going to set the bar in how men are dealt with in the space of social media. Sure, clearly there are guys that are gurus of social media, but they aren’t being marketed to like the moms/women bloggers (yet). Some of that is because brands have tried using the traditional pitch… I get it, to rewrite the rule book would be tough stuff; but if you really want to effectively market towards men/dads, you’re going to need a new playbook.

The days of men being shown as total idiots, the dads who can’t change a diaper or have issues getting it together, isn’t really the case anymore.  Also, neither is the case of the dad wearing a cape flying around the city doing 3 jobs, finding time to be an amazing dad, and only drinking and smoking a cigar to relax once everyone is asleep (isn’t great either because they’re both unrealistic). Look, I’m not about to change my kid’s diaper and put ducktape around his legs to make sure I get those pesky leaks. I’m also not going to dangle my baby over the rail of a hotel (MJ already tried that) and I’m also not going to forget them! We’re quickly coming to the tipping point for dads in social media; you clearly see the wave that “Dad” is the new “Mom” is being said by brands (but is that really, truly?!) or are we just in a fundamental shift of parenthood and the parenting space?

I know that in the coming months there will be lots of social media conferences, ones aiming directly at the hearts of moms and they’ll be creating tracks/sessions/partner conferences aimed towards guys.  That’s real, that’s happening. Why? Because brands do want to figure out how to engage men/dads more. They want a better answer than the key difference is [that]we pee standing up (my line from Evo) and to be honest, after more time in the space, I really don’t know if there is a fundimental difference other then that. I know men are less likely to try new products – we are very much creatures of habits, so attending Blogher totally goes against most of the cells in our body.

I will say this: I love going to events and feeling welcomed. There wasn’t an hour at Blogher where I was introduced or introducing myself and heard “So you’re dada rocks!” That was truly great, to see friends that I’ve only connected to online in real life.  Connecting with old friends (who I met at EVO) who live around the country is amazing. Yup, this dad does stand out in a crowd and that’s fine with me! In the long run we’ll need more conferences that focus on the social media space of both parents.

Because if you really want to understand someone, you really need to sit down and start talking to them… trying to use a mold already made for a different cross segment isn’t going to fully work. 

What do you think?

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  1. Craig says:

    Thank you – I’m still a little on the petrified side – but thank you.

  2. Brandon says:

    Great stuff. I can’t wait to be able to get in on one of these. I would also love to see how the sponsors adjust their views on Daddy Bloggers in the next couple of years. Should be a wild ride! I have heard mention of a few guys going to Blissdom this year. I will definitely be tapping in and seeing what feedback they have!

    • UnexperiencedMom says:

      I think “Dad Bloggers” are the new wave. The new “hip.” I see companies changing their methods and pitches to reach out to all of you. And I am sure you will see more feedback from guys attending blogging conferences this year! ;-) Thanks for stopping by the site to check out his post!

  3. Selfish Mom says:

    I think there are a few things going on with “dad bloggers” that need to be addressed. Number one, I think brands are still trying to figure out who the audience is for dads who write blogs. I think my husband put it best: he changed diapers, he gave baths, he helps with homework and disciplines the kids and makes them dinner and does laundry and does just about all of the stuff with them that I do (although less often, because he’s home less). What he doesn’t do is talk about this stuff out at a bar or restaurant with his other guy friends, and he doesn’t read blogs about parenting. Nor does any guy he knows. So who is reading the dad blogs? Companies aren’t sure yet if, through dad blogs, they’re marketing to other dads, or if it’s another way to get to moms.

    Second, I think it’s fabulous that there are so many women and mom centered conferences. If those conferences want to change to accommodate men, fine, but I think that the organizers need to know that this will change their conferences for the women attending as well. Sometimes women just want to hang with women, just like sometimes men just want to hang with men. I don’t exactly think that anyone should be banned from conferences, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with aiming the programming squarely at women. I’m guessing some day soon there will be a dad bloggers conference, focusing on the specific issues that dads who blog have.

    Third, there seems to be something of a “dancing bear” phenomenon right now with dad bloggers (you’re not clapping because the bear is dancing WELL, just because he’s a bear and he’s dancing). I’ve heard a few conversations that started “We have to invite some dad bloggers, who should we invite?” Not “I want this blogger to come, and he happens to be a man.” Dad bloggers are the minority, they’re relatively new, they’re different, they stand out, they don’t have anywhere near as much competition as the mom bloggers, and they can rise to the top much faster because of all of this. It’s hard to tell who deserves to be where because they’re being picked from a much smaller pool. There are some absolutely amazing dad bloggers out there, I know because I read them. But others are getting opportunities simply because they’re male. Man, does that sound familiar.

    I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable at any conference. But if someone does feel that way, maybe it’s because the conference isn’t designed for him, and I say emphatically that that’s OK.

    • UnexperiencedMom says:

      Wow…I LOVE this feedback! You made some seriously good points. All of them were very valid and I have to say, I agree. I see so many conferences accommodating men with tracks or changing their themes to do so, but like you said, sometimes conferences just need to be geared towards women instead of trying to gear it towards all. I think once some of these questions about the emerging “dad blogger” niche get answered and more time passes to see how it develops, there will be conferences geared specifically towards them (I know of one specifically geared towards them last year). In the meantime, I know some of them are just trying to fit in wherever they can, which by the virtue of what they blog about, is with us – women. Because like you said, not all men read blogs.

      Great points! Thanks so much for stopping by to weigh in.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with @SelfishMom’s comments and am working on a blog about mom bloggers, dad bloggers and where some of the tension comes from.

    I wanted to respond to Adam’s post directly, because there are 3 key things Adam doesn’t acknowledge:
    1. Adam had been blogging much less than a year when he attended BlogHer. Some of the response he got from PR was likely due to the fact that they had no idea who he was. This is a mistake a lot of new bloggers make – “how come they aren’t paying attention to me?” Most of the top bloggers have been building their relationships and content for years.

    2. The feeling Adam had when walking into a room full of women is one that women (and minorities) experience consistently at most tech/social media conferences. That’s why places like BlogHer were created. It’s not just a blogging conference with more women than men. It’s a blogging conference FOR women. Men who attend should do so with an ally mindset, not a conquerer mindset. Oh, and by the way, that mold mentioned in the last sentence? It’s one of the first times there IS a mold for women. The mold is actually for men and we’re usually an advertising/marketing afterthought.

    3. Mom blogging is about far more than brand recognition. By suggesting that’s what dads should aspire to, you trivialize the impact mom blogging has had on women in the US. It’s the first time many of us have had a voice, felt a sense of power, and have been able to connect with other women in a bigger way. Men already dominate everything else, so it’s a little greedy to declare that you’re going to dominate mom blogging as well. I mean, really?

    • UnexperiencedMom says:

      You bring up some very good points, Christy! I think many newer attendees don’t always know (or haven’t yet learned) that the relationships between experienced bloggers and brands didn’t just happen overnight, but yet, were the product of a process. It’s a process that takes work and that can come across as intimidating and frustrating for some newer bloggers I can imagine. Great food for thought also on the topic of dad/men bloggers at conferences and in the industry in general!

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts – appreciate it!

  5. DaDa Rocks says:

    I should create a new post about how things over time change your perspective and to be clear this post was written just days after blogher 10 and I had been blogging for less then six months.

    I still had plenty of friends (mainly female) at blogher and I was disappointed by the reactions that I received from many of the sponsored booths.

    Although I dont agree with christy on this line “Men already dominate everything else” because if there were more male audience parenting materials maybe men would be a little more involved…

    I do agree with Amy’s husband its not the normal men bar talk – actually the few times I’ve gone out to a bar since having a child (and none of my friends had children) that was the furtherest thing in my mind. What was on my mind “FREEEEEEEDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM” [think braveheart here folks]…

    It’s funny with all the people/brands/agencies that I met at blogher – I’ve developed relationships with very few of those names… my brand/pr relationships that I currently have come from different channels. The thing that has come from the women marketed conferences is great friendship (be it online or in person). Thats one thing I’ll say no matter how many conferences I’ll go to dealing with social media and people are huddled around tweeting.

    Social media is the act of being social online… and sometimes in person… Am I going back to BlogHer this year, no. Some of it is cost, some of it was experience, and some of it is need.

    Christy makes a great point I was a newbie blogger trying to make a splash, now I’m very well footed and understand who I want to work with and why and best of all how to do it.

    There are other conferences that I’ll try to get to this year, Blog World Expo, EVO conference, Type A Parent (renamed from type a mom), and 140 Conference.

    To the guys reading this post – standing out isnt hard you have 50000 mom blogs and maybe 2000 dad blogs, its creating value and a brand thats hard to do.

    • UnexperiencedMom says:

      Great points, especially how standing out as a guy blogger may not be as hard as one might think, especially if you have created value in your brand/blog.

      I love the back-and-forth conversation happening from your post because it really helps people look at the bigger picture and how the pieces fit together when it comes to moms/dads blogging. I sometimes think it’s harder for you guys to make a place because, like it was said, blogging about daily life isn’t always something that men want to read about (like you said – FREEDOM when they aren’t around the kids!). But I can say from my own POV, I enjoy reading dad/guy blogs because it truly rounds out the parenthood POV. I don’t always want to just see it from a “mom’s POV.” So thanks for being a “dad” blogger and thanks again for allowing your post to start a fabulous conversation on this topic here!

  6. FamilyIgloo says:

    It will take time to accept the new Dad generation / revolution and the associated technological ramifications (blogs, twotter , etc…)


  1. [...] Rebecca wrote a great post about the importance of conferences for women. That post of Rebecca’s definitely influenced Amy’s comment on a post written by DadaRocks. [...]

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