WalletPop was recently at Epcot at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., to join the so-called Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.
At a breakfast in the American Adventure pavilion in the hours before the Future World section of the park opened, Twitter luminary Guy Kawasaki flew in to address the group of mostly women to advise them on how to use their laptops to garner power and influence, simply by spreading their money-saving advice.
These "mommy bloggers" have been using the Web to swap coupon codes and sales links for years, and from there, they grew into a far-flung family of friends. The gathering at Walt Disney World was a chance to finally meet face-to-face in a setting that they loved.
A few short years ago, bloggers were seen as the crackpots of the journalistic world, babbling pointlessly into their computers while the world marched on, indifferent to their voices. That's no longer true. Bloggers begat online communities, and those communities have buying power. Now, for the first time, bloggers and their followers have true sway -- and corporations are paying attention.
Disney itself eagerly hosted the Social Media Moms, allowing them access to media events that were once restricted to print and TV journalists.
Disney recognizes the power of moms' word of mouth in another way: It also recruits and organizes another group of moms, the so-called Disney Moms, who dispense their touring advice on the official Disney Web site. And as the bloggers in our video reveal, Disney is by no means the only company that has cottoned onto the benefits of tapping into the enthusiasm of a targeted digital media niche.
The moms and dads of the Disney Social Media Mom movement can be found on Twitter using the tag #DisneySMMoms. You don't have to be a member of Twitter to find their messages; just search using the tag. (And I can be found on Twitter at @bastable).
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