The Secret Life of Online Moms: Anonymity and Disinhibition on YouBeMom.com

author: Sarita Yardi Schoenebeck, School of Information, University of Michigan
published: April 3, 2014,   recorded: July 2013,   views: 1732

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Description

Moms are one of the fastest growing demographics online. While much is known about where they spend their time, little is known about how they spend it. Using a dataset of over 51 million posts and comments from the website YouBeMom.com, this paper explores what kinds of topics moms talk about when they are not constrained by norms and expectations of face-to-face culture. Results show that almost 5% of posts are about dh, or "dear husband", but these posts tend to express more negative emotion than other posts. The average post is only 124 characters long and family and daily life are common categories of posting. This suggests that YouBeMom is used as a fast-paced social outlet that may not be available to moms in other parts of their lives. This work concludes with a discussion of anonymity and disinhibition and puts forth a new provocation that moms, too, spend time online "for the lulz".

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