25 October 2007

Yet another mom in politics

Yesterday Katherine Stone rallied dozens of bloggers to call their Senators to support a bill "to ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services, and to increase research at the National Institutes of Health on postpartum depression." The bill, also called the "MOTHERS Act," is sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Durbin (D-IL).

(I'm a little confused with the bill number - Congress.org says the bill number is S.1375, but I've seen it also reported as S.3529, even though there doesn't seem to be a bill with that number in the Congress.org database.)

This is just the latest example of someone you wouldn't necessarily think of as "overtly political" making a major investment of time, creativity and emotion in a public policy issue. People who read Katherine's blog know she has a ton of credibility on the issue, much more than virtually any blog that discusses nothing but politics 24/7. She's working closely with two large organizations - BlogHer and Postpartum Support International.

I've said this before, but the mom-o-sphere is the next source of leadership on political and consumer issues. Moms make the overwhelming majority of purchasing decisions in households. They regularly voice concerns about health care, education, safety, the environment, and work/life balance. They are leveraging blogs - yes, other forms of social media too, but mainly blogs - to build relationships and even coalitions. They're starting to use the online channel to exert their influence in politics and in the marketplace.

The companies and campaigns that ignore their issues-based discussions do so at their own peril.

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