It's Social Media Week in Rome, and as one always happy for a geek moment and free wifi, I signed up for several of the 130 events. To participate, all you need is an email address and a smart phone, and you're in like Flynn. Tuesday, I sat in at Mamme 2.0, a conference themed around the "mom sector", discussing anthropological research and its relevance in social media. Though I knew we were probably going to look at pie charts and be force fed statistics on how many Italian, IP-proud women visit mom forums, secretly I was hoping to hear and meet some Italy-based bloggers.
The panel was mainly comprised of men with one woman- all marketing and statistic dilettantes who power-pointed out facts and figures in the mamma blogging sector. Unfortunately, one of them made the mistake of saying that "mothers on line represent who is the vere mamme (real moms)" which is when the discussion went three dimensional, perhaps truly defining Social Media Week.
On twitter, #mamme #smwrme swarmed with comments like a vehement "Ecco, no amico, proprio NO." Audience members questioned panelists about the relevance of their research, in particular the emphasis on motherhood forums. They argued over the use of the term vera mamma, and about who their focus group was: new moms, pregnant women? The panelists continued to cite from forum comments, directing the discussion to marketing studies and outreach. The audience- writers, reporters, pediatricians, voyeurs, et al- launched more questions and criticism verbally and via twitter, obviously wanting to get out of the literal mommy box of marketing lore and discuss the realities behind mothers who blog and their writing. Even I threw down some hashtags and participated in the discussion.
Its obvious, regardless of the direction or misdirection of the panel, that Mamme 2.0 was a successful example of the use of social media to make your point/opinion/article seen, heard and read, to network and to chat. Social Media Week is happening right now in Rome and 8 cities around the globe. If you can't be there, you can be here by following the trail of #smwrme. Give me a shout @moscerina !