Such is the power of Mumsnet, a parenting site that has leveraged its sizable online presence into a voice loud enough to be heard on the national stage — and in the offices of Britain’s political leaders.
The British news media dubbed the 2010 parliamentary elections, the first of the social media era, “the Mumsnet election.” Both Mr. Cameron and Gordon Brown, who was prime minister at the time, sat down for Web chats with the site’s users, fielding questions on subjects as varied as taxes, bankers’ bonuses, breast-feeding and nursery schools…
.. Mumsnet “is real people talking to each other about real things that matter to them,” said Jo Phillips, who recently profiled the site for Total Politics, a political magazine. It gives politicians a way “to look in through the window, listen through the keyhole” to voters’ concerns.
When Alan Johnson, who was then the health secretary, did a Mumsnet Web chat in 2008, users questioned him about insensitive miscarriage care in the National Health Service.
“Mumsnet have informed me that I will not be allowed to forget this issue,” he said. Soon, his department was working on new miscarriage guidelines. Mr. Johnson says now that he had not been aware of the problem until Mumsnet users brought it up.
From “In Britain, Web Forum For Mothers Makes Politicians Sit Up” by Beth Gardiner in The New York Times.
(Thanks to Rachel Tripp for the link).