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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 04/12/2012

Politicians slow to embrace Pinterest miss connections with mothers

Lately the presidential candidates have turned their attention to women, especially the elusive voting bloc that used to be called the soccer mom.

This year, the group seems harder than ever to pin down and candidates have, at times, been flailing in their efforts to reach them (One tip: Do not tell audiences that you had to ask your wife for advice on how to do this.)
(KAREN BLEIER - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

A better way to find them, according to Joanne Bamberger, a D.C. political analyst who writes the PunditMom blog, is to leave the soccer field and get on Pinterest.

“I’ve often wondered why we don’t see more politicians at women’s blogging conferences, since that would seem to be a natural place to connect with online influencers. But maybe the next best thing for those running for elective office is Pinterest,” Bamberger, author of the 2011 book “Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America,” (Bright Sky Press, 2011), told me in a recent conversation.

“Pinterest is about sharing information with people you already trust. So if a candidate can make inroads in that arena, it means votes.”

The addictive social networking site that allows users to “pin” and share photos of favorite items and inspirations is currently enjoying a moment.

Its use has grown 866 percent since last fall according to Mashable, a social media tracking company. It drew more than 100 million visitors in March and is now the third largest social network in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter.

Marketers estimate that about 90 percent of those users are women and at least half of them have children.

(A separate marketing study by the NPD group recently found that online social network recommendations have a particularly strong influence on mothers.)

Companies are quickly recognizing the potential reach and devising their own pin boards. Procter & Gamble and Baby Bjorn, for instance, have created specific Pinterest campaigns to target mothers:

Meanwhile, politicians have been much slower to catch on.

The Obama campaign became active on Pinterest only two weeks ago. Before that, it was only Mitt Romney’s wife Ann who had taken her boards seriously, Bamberger said. Ann Romney has boards that highlight the favorite foods she likes to make for Mitt and books she’s reading.

Some of the apprehension may come from the belief that Pinterest is too frothy for serious political engagement. It’s often called an online scrapbook site. That is changing quickly though, as niche intellectual movements and book clubs are finding a place on the site beside the boards on nail polish.

Bamberger points out that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY), recently started a Pinterest board to promote her project Off the Sidelines, which encourages more women to run for office.

Are you are on Pinterest? What kind of boards might you want to see from a politician? Is it a network where you can engage in political ideas?

Related Content:

Romney starts honing his appeal to female voters in hopes of closing gender gap with Obama

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 04/12/2012

Tags:  Electronic Media, Politics

 
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