The BlogHer Conference 2010 was held in New York City at the Hilton on Avenue of the Americas just this past weekend. According to sources, it boasted 1000 more attendees than last year for a total of 2400 attendees this year. Not bad for an association that just started only 5 years ago (2005). This year BlogHer Conference was kicked off with a Latina twist -- a welcoming Fiesta co-organized with LATISM (Latinos in Social Media).
When the opportunity for WiredLatinos.com came to see what was all the buzz on BlogHer about, I jumped at it. I must say and must give full credit to Ana Flores of Spanglishbaby.com for contacting me and planting the seed about this story: The Explosion of the Latina Blogger.
Blogging has been around for a while and there are millions of blogs out there -- everything from computers and technology to fashion and food trends to comics and book reviews to fungus and bacteria. You name it, there is a blog. However, in the past couple of years there has been a shift into who are the bloggers, . . . .there has been a shift to the Latino sector, specifically by the Latina blogger.
There have been reports after reports being published on studies done by Pew Internet, Sophia Mind, AOL and other researchers, where Latinos are found to be more and more wired and Latina women are setting the pace. According to the report just recently published by Pew Internet, Hispanics are outpacing cellphone use among 16 - 25 age group. The report by Sophia Mind found that more than 85% of Latina women visit social networks. AOL's report stated, "Compared to the General Market, Hispanics are more sophisticated technology users. Their use of a wide rate of devices (e.g., smartphones and gaming devices) to access the internet illustrates a high level of comfort with and willingness to try new technologies." Most importantly, Sophia Mind found that nearly 40% of Latina women say networks lack information that connects with them.
What is the solution or the response by these women? To create their own blogs. And this weekend, New York City buzzed with intelligent, sophisticated and interesting dedicated bloggers attending the BlogHer Conference. I was lucky to meet several of the seven VMeTV sponsored blogueras: Ana Lillian Flores, Spanglishbaby.com; Melanie Edwards, ModernMami.com; Silvia Martinez, MamaLatinaTips.com; Carrie Ferguson Wier, TikiTikiBlog.com; and Rory Lassanske, MamaContemporanea.com. I also met in person Monique Frausto of BlogsbyLatinas.com, whom I had already interviewed for WiredLatinos weekend interview session, and Dariela Cruz-Gillespie of MamiTalks.com.
I first met the unassuming group of smiling blogueras at McDonald's. All equipped with smartphones or iPads at hand the ladies greeted me as a long lost friend. With time pressing for panel presentations by some and other interview engagement by others, I went to work wanting to find out how did this all happen. When did it all happen . . . and most importantly WHY was all this happening?
Monique Frausto of BlogsbyLatinas.com knows the Latina blogging world first hand. Her directory of Latina blogs was launched in October of 2009 and has exploded to nearly 1000 in less than one year. These are all Latina blogs. "Most blogs are about family, life and personal, but there is a trend for food blogs as well." Monique has a blog called CurvesandChaos.com. When I asked why she started blogging she said, "I would read fashion magazines or blogs and I just couldn't relate to them. I couldn't afford that fashion or accessories. If I can't relate to them, probably other women were not relating either. I wanted to create something we could all relate to so I created my blog."
Cuban-American, Carrie Ferguson Weir of Nashville, started blogging back in 2006 when she launched her line of Los Pollitos Dicen t-shirt brand. She did it as a form of promoting her business, but then she found that their was an audience for the cultural Latino stories, the intricacies of the daily Latino life. Her first blog was Bilingual in the Boonies and in 2009 she launched TikiTiki. When asked who the new blogger was, she said, "Look at us. We are intelligent, educated, sophisticated and we each have our own perspective."
MamiTalks.com was started by Dariela Cruz-Gillepsie. She first started the blog as a hobby after the birth of her first baby Adrian. In fact, her first blog was called "NuestraVidaconAdrian." Six months ago,however, Adrian had a baby sister so Dariela had to change the blog's name. "I write about what I love: family, my kids and my photography. Parenting from my own perspective," she said.
Former college professor, Silvia Martinez of MamaLatina, blogs about being a parent to elementary school age children. "This is what I know. I know my children. I know about being a parent." MamLatina.com was launched in 2009.
Ana Lillian Flores is a co-creator of SpanglishBaby.com, a resource to parents raising bilingual babies.
"Latinas are outpacing the general market in our growth and use of social media," said Ana. "And, while general market bloggers with half the traction of Latina bloggers have long enjoyed sponsorships, Latina bloggers are now seeing much more interest and engagement from brands and companies."
VMe TV is a brand that has long supported these women's blogging endeavors and this week sponsored their trip to the BlogHer Conference in New York City. General Mills did the same recently and invited a group of Latina Bloggers to Miami for their relaunch of their website QueRicaVida.com.
It is not all fun and games and not for the faint at heart. Blogging is hard work. "It can consume you," said Melanie Edwards of ModernMami.com. "You have to find a balance between work and home." Most of the blogueras reported investing more than 20 hours per week on their blogs. This included research, writing and social marketing of their blog.
Blogging of course is not new. What is new is the explosion of Latina bloggers. It is more than a trend, it is a movement. Latinas are wired, involved in the access and distribution of information and in doing so are becoming part of a new system in which they are creating the content they cannot find. Together, this group of Latina internet savvy women are changing the way we access information, influencing the brands we use and setting the pace of the new blogger and the modern Latina woman. It is definitely an opportunity marketers should not pass on.
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