27-hands-up-for-soft-power
Desperate Housewives was an all  ‘American Pie‘ TV series that ran from October 2004 until May 2012. The action took place in Eagle State (don’t try and find it on the map!) on Wisteria Lane, in a seemingly perfect suburban neighbourhood in the fictional town of Fairview. The show followed the roller-coaster lives of a group of women & the many hats they wore. Friends-&-lovers. Mothers-&-daughters.  Cake bakers-&-home makers. Wives-&-housewives. Felicity Huffman played Lynette Scavo, business woman turned soccer-mom of four (ouch). When she left she swapped baking-&-home-making for blogging & launched www.whattheflicka.com. Which turns two this month. Happy Birthday!

A big hug for social media
Ms Huffman is just one of hundreds-&-thousands of brilliant birds who blog-tweet-share-pin-&-post. Apparently, according to a Pew Research study, released just before Big Ben struck midnight on 31st December 2013, women love social media more than men. Unless it’s LinkedIn (or you’re called Emily Miller or Viveka Von Rosen). Seems that the fairer sex are having a big bodacious affair of the heart with social media. No big surprise. Women are the more social gender (speaking generally of course). They love to chitter-chatter. Nothing beats a girlie-gossip. And they’re curious consumers who embrace brand interaction with open arms. Free hugs all round.

On the wings of a dove
Smart brands are getting smarter by upping levels of engagement, reaching out to women and listening to the voice of soft power. Take Dove. They’ve been playmates with their audience for over a decade with The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty Launched by Unilever in 2004 it includes a mish-mash of intuitive initiatives that tell compelling-&-telling stories (ads, videos, workshops, sleepover events, the publication of a book & even the production of a play). We’re not all born with legs up to our armpits or a face that could launch a thousand ships. How many times has the question been asked ‘does my bum look big in this?’.  This campaign says be happy in your skin and let’s celebrate the beauty of the individual.

Be yourself!
Dove are really on the case. A new study they recently conducted revealed about 82% of women believe social media today is massively having an impact and influencing how we define beauty today. (Dove conducted a similar study 10 years ago. Then only 23% of women believed they could control their view of beauty. Since then, that percentage has more than tripled). The findings were featured in a seven-minute short film called Selfie which was shown at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It follows a group of teenagers and their mothers who are asked to take photos of themselves that highlight their insecurities about their appearances. In an experiment reminiscent of Dove’s Viral Beauty sketches, the participants learn some of their disliked attributes are what others consider to be the most beautiful. Jess Weiner – Dove’s Global Self-Esteem Ambassador (what a brilliant job title) had this to say on the subject:

Social media is closely linked to how we perceive beauty because it is such a visual medium. We are seeing thousands and thousands of images posted to these sites every single day at a relatively fast pace. It impacts beauty because there is an opportunity to redefine it.

The social media gender gap
TIME declared that ‘Men Are from Google+, Women Are from Pinterest‘ back in February 2012. A month earlier Gizmodo described Pinterest as ‘Tumblr for Ladiez.’. There certainly seems to be a real difference between the way genders flirt-court-&-engage with social media. Take Pinterest. Women use Pinterest as a wish list. Men as a shopping cart. Women are more likely to get personal-&-conversational. Men are rather more factual-&-tactical.

Who rules the roost?
The battle of the sexes in the social media playground makes a fascinating social study. A relatively new infographic from Information is Beautiful gives a pink-blue breakdown of the differences. but comes to the conclusion ‘Chicks Rule the Roost.‘  Must dash. Off to pin. Send a quick tweet. And finish another blog for the #snogblog before turning into Miss Cherry Perfect and rustling up a perfect pie for tea. Now where’s my frilly pinny?