Riding the Social Media Wave.
As social media continues to rise in popularity, more and more parents are becoming tech savvy and turning to online platforms for advice, tips, and new ideas. From this increased use comes the modern day ‘influencer’; a social media celebrity with a large social media following and an often-niche focus area. As defined in the Oxford Dictionary, an influencer is “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the item on social media”. One of the niche areas in which an influencer can operate on social media is parenting.
Historically, women have been the ones to remain home and parent children. This may explain the current popularity of mummy bloggers and influencers. Mum-influencers with thousands and thousands of followers share things like nursery styling tips, lunchbox ideas, and children’s clothing recommendations.
As a natural continuation of the mummy blogger trend, we are also beginning to see the increasing popularity of dad-influencers. Dads like Melbourne-based Jarrad and Michael Duggan-Tierney, or as you may know them @realdadsofmelbourne, post their parenting hacks, fails, and dreams with their 122,000 followers.
There are several reasons why dad-influencers are becoming more common and building larger followings. First and foremost, the proliferation of social media in itself is encouraging the majority of society to engage in the use of social media platforms to connect with others and to promote their endeavours. As social media becomes more and more commonplace, dads are finding themselves more efficient and able in their use of social media, therefore allowing for their social media accounts to flourish. Now, parents can keep connected with other parents on platforms such as Instagram.
Secondly, society in its entirety is becoming more accepting of different occupational and familial positions for parents. This is opening new doors in the world of gender expectations with regard to work and family life. A different branch of this more open-minded and progressive society is the widespread acceptance of different gender and sexual orientations. Same sex parents Michael and Jarrad Duggan-Tierney are just one example of not only dad-fluencers but also the societal acceptance we continue to see growing in Australia. Their son, Reid, who was born via surrogate, and with his Dads are showing their social media followers that families come in all shapes and sizes.
Finally, as dad-fluencing becomes more popular and commonplace, it allows dads the freedom to connect with others in a way that has historically been deemed a maternal connection. They can build more connections with fellow parents and provide more of a support network. Social media influencers on platforms such as Instagram often portray their lives to be perfect and without stress or mess.
However, parent bloggers are known to be more #real, highlighting parenting fails and accidents with their followers. This is a greatly beneficial improvement to society. It shows other parents that nobody is perfect, that no parent really knows exactly what they’re doing, and that it’s perfectly okay and they are still good parents.
While dad-influencers and dads may still face disapproval or criticism, so too does everyone that puts themselves out into the public sphere. The rise of dad-influencers in a typically female-led niche industry is a really positive step for parents and society in general. Promoting a more accepting and inclusive environment for parents and kids alike is good for families as a whole, and family members as individuals. It raises more inclusive and accepting kids, which will lead us to a greater and more equal future.
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