The real moms of Facebook (and why we’re there)

by julie on February 23, 2013

Being a mom who writes about tech — and being a mom whose kids use tech — it’s my responsibility to keep abreast of new developments. And as a woman who worked in tech for many years, I’m unfortunately accustomed to the misogyny that still lurks in the field.

One of the best resources I’ve found (besides Cool Mom Tech, of course) is Mashable. Their tech coverage is interesting, accessible, and relevant. I had the pleasure of attending their Social Good Summit last fall and learned so much that I’m still sifting through my notes.

But oh boy did they step in it with last week’s infographic on why moms join Facebook (and who those moms are).

This is a picture of Liz, Isabel, and me (we’re all moms) with Mashable founder Pete Cashmore:

liz isabel and me with mashable founder pete cashmore at social good summit

This is who Mashable apparently thinks the moms on Facebook are:

boring old white moms stalking their teens on facebook

Boring old clueless white ladies who wear pearls and cutesie t-shirts and who have little else to do other than fiddle with the TV and annoy their teens.

moms can't work the tv, love puppies, and want to know where you are

There might have been some good information in that infographic. Most of the moms I know were too distracted by the thoroughly unrealistic depiction of moms to absorb any of it.

Mashable, meet Shannon. And Marsha. And Liz. And Beth. And Tanis. And Chris. And Kelly. And Nina. And Yvonne.

hot, smart, accomplished, diverse moms on facebook

They’re all incredibly accomplished moms of teens, and they’re on Facebook. Oh, and they’re pretty freaking hot too. And not all white either.

By no means is this a complete list. If you’re a mom of teens who doesn’t fit Mashable’s erroneous construction, please leave me a comment so that we can all gawk at you and your accomplishments.

Heck, even if you don’t have teens yet, you will someday. Comment freely, hot mamas. Let’s show Mashable who we really are.

Isabel @alphamom February 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

Yes, accomplished and hot they are! woot.

Mr Lady February 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm

In fairness, I *would* wear an “I <3 U" tshirt, but of course only on prom night, or to drop one of them off of a date. I'd wear my rainbow nose ring, too.

Katie February 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I’m not the mom of a teen (my kid is 9 month old), but I find it also hilarious that they have a lady with white hair in a bun representing women born in 1954, as if she is elderly and belongs in a convalescent home. Women born in 1954 are 58-59, they’re hardly the trump card in the Old Maid deck.

Mir February 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’m not sure I’d call myself accomplished, but, uh, I mostly use Facebook lately to talk about our local production of The Vagina Monologues (which I was in) and how folks should come see it to raise awareness. So if my teens find their mother being an unapologetic feminist who participates in fundraising for a local women’s shelter embarrassing, too bad for them, I guess. (P.S. They don’t. Sorry, Mashable.)

Kristen - Motherhood Uncensored February 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Of course, Mir! Also Tracey Clark.

I guess I just can’t believe so many of the moms I know have teens. GAH!

Sarah Piazza February 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Damn straight.

Karen February 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

What? No patterned Christmas sweater depicted? Because THEN it would be accurate.(and *note sarcasm* goes without saying.)

Whose brilliant idea was that thing, anyway? (Oops! Sarcasm leaked out again.)

Larisa Spillman February 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I haven’t been able to see the infographic (aside from what I can see on your post, so thanks) on Mashable’s site. Did they take it down or is it because I’m on my mobile? Also, as someone who will have teens beginning in 6 years, I’m hoping to have at least some of the cool featured here in the Real Moms Of Facebook. (New reality show?)

Liz February 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Thank you, for the very kind shout out and for giving the moms on Facebook stereotype the virtual bitch-slap it deserves, Julie!

summer February 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Oh, for the love of christ. My daughter is 19, to get that part out of the way. I self taught when I needed to switch careers from restaurant general management in order to spend more time with her, and what I did was, I taught myself how to build computers, then networks, then websites. But I guess that WAS a long time ago, back when I was a young 30 years old, not the ancient tech-illiterate 41 that I am now. COME ON GUYS.

Nina February 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thank you Julie for telling Mashable how sexist and full of crap their article is!!

Melisa February 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I adore this. Thanks for writing it. I have two sons, 18 and nearly 21 (yikes!), and I look nothing like Mashable’s idea of a mom of teens. NOTHING. Well, occasionally I wear a headband but that’s it.

Devra February 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Hmm, the last time I wore a headband, I believe it was approximately 1980 and I got it to match my Pappagallo bag with the hideous wooden handle and fabric cover with small turtles in pink and green. If anything THAT was not the real me and now that I am older, and have teens? More of the real me is hitting it hard and that preppy fake me is looooong gone! (apologies to my preppy CT sisterhood, but it just wasn’t a good look for me at all.)

Amanda February 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Phew, because I totally feared that I could not look the part if my future required perfectly concentric applications of rouge.

As Cape Cod Turns February 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I really need to try some blush on my apple dumpling cheeks :) Mom of 2 teen girls (14, 15). Pass the wine.

Christine February 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Oh Mashable. You so crazy. What a completely insulting infographic. I am an educated, full-time professional mom of five who sports a few tattoos and an eyebrow piercing. I know how to work my TV, although I have little time to watch it. And, even though my birthday is in June, I don’t own a single strand of pearls (or much jewelry at all for that matter). I can’t relate to the moms portrayed in that inforgraphic at all. While I can agree that many moms like to keep track of their kids on Facebook, I think that is just one of the many reason we join and only a minor reason why we continue to log on to Facebook almost daily (or a couple times a day for some of us). In my household, we do make our kids friend us so we can (loosely) monitor what they are putting out there. But two of my kids are now adults living on their own (one is 18 and another will be 21 in April) and they haven’t unfriended me yet so I must not be posting too much embarrassing stuff on their Facebook walls. And for the record, I was on Facebook before any of my kids. Thanks for calling Mashable out on this Julie!

Shannon February 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Word. And one of the many ways I use Facebook is to get to know my teenager’s friends better – because they actually like me and friend me. I’m cool like that.

Jenn February 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I love the women on your list. I can’t believe we don’t *all* have matching shirts with pictures of our teens on them. :) Mine are already 19, 17, and 11 and we still are “friends” on FB and actually teach each other about new and/or different tech sites or gadgets. Can you believe none of mine were teens when we met?

Thanks, Mashable! I appreciate the makeup tips, fashion advice, and kick ass use of a pathetic graphic to depict a huge demographic in an insulting way. ;)

Molly Gold February 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

I’m a mom of 2 teens and an elementary aged child, Mompreneuer who has been online since 2000, and choose video as my first choice for content creation. That I’m connected with my teens on their social networks is simply common sense parenting as we have to responsibly teach our kids to navigate their over digitized world safely, stepping back as they grow and take control of their digital footprints. And the part where tonight, with a houseful of teens who know what their friend’s Mom does for a living, they asked ME about about Twitter, Google +, and more. Not exactly what Mashable had in mind I suppose but THAT is the face of Moms of teens today. Savvy is our middle name no matter what our clothes, hair, or accessories might be. And just for the record, there is nothing more classic than a cashmere twinset, timeless pearls and a smartly styled pony tail or bun ~ that’s called elegant at any age.

julie February 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

No disrespect to pearls; just not with a message t-shirt, as shown in the infographic.

Mom101 February 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

The pearls in the infographic were meant to be a midwestern grandma stereotype.

No smartly styled pony tails.

allegra February 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm

My friend is trying to dispel the another vein of the same myth with her blog about grammas who do STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) anyone have stories about their grammas? Check out Dixie Swift, she’s mine.

Becki February 24, 2013 at 5:09 am

I’m barely a mom of a teen. I’m on Facebook to keep in touch with far-flung family, friends, old colleagues and schoolmates. My kid’s not on Facebook yet. Not sure I want to tailor my status updates for when he is.

Cathy McCaughan February 24, 2013 at 7:18 am

I am the mom of teens and I can be found on facebook and everywhere else on the Internet using my real name, but even mashable should know that fb is the worst for real-time breaking news, political discussions, networking and monitoring important issues, like CISPA. Moms of teens know this.

melissa February 24, 2013 at 8:55 am

I don’t wear pearl necklaces or high collars, not to mention I steer clear of headbands…they look funny on me. My cheeks aren’t rosy, more like pasty white. No resemblance to the mom in the picture and me. And I’m a mom of teens. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong?
PS. I joined FB long before my kids did. I think they joined to stalk me. I’m just sayin.

Sheri February 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

My first child claims to have reached adulthood now that he is 20, but I’m not so sure. I have two more sneaking up on the teen years, and one who has a long way to go. I don’t know if I’m accomplished, and I’m probably not hot, but I’m definitely not wearing pearls and annoying my kids (much)!

Karen Sugarpants February 24, 2013 at 8:58 am

Mom of a teen (& another child) here. See also: nursing student, athlete, and a whole slew of other characteristics that don’t make me fit into anyone’s mental Tupperware.

Leigh Ann February 24, 2013 at 8:58 am

No teens here, but what an insulting infographic! In my group, the age 5 and under, they’d likely show moms who talk about pee and poop all day. Never mind the fact that some of us are writers, speakers, working moms, or even just real people with a brain.

MidLyfeMama aka Michele February 24, 2013 at 9:01 am

My son is only 6, but I am on FB ALL OF THE TIME and am a full time college administrator, full time mom, full time wife, full time dog owner, maker of jewelry part time, and full time SUPERWOMAN. To name a few. I will undoubtedly be all of those things plus a few more in another 6 years when my child becomes a teen.
I own pearls but don’t often wear them. I have asked how to work the TV but that was only after my husband added the Apple TV and Roku boxes and I didn’t know which did what. I am now the master of all my domain. Mashable may have been trying to be funny but they missed the mark by a long shot.

Abbie Gale February 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

I have two 13 year-old twin boys. I am on FB as me and i am on FB as my blog. My blog is all over the internet. I am all over my local papers, (front page last week) for shaming our county commissioners about not funding a new school. I was in Redbook as me this month (Feb) and i have been quoted on CNN with my blog name. C freakin NN and it was a funny about why i love Botox, keeps me hot and from needing to wear pearls. My kids are always embarrassed that their mom is so cool that their friends tell them I’m hot. Not my goal but if hit is standing up for convictions, being quoted in a serious article because the reporter thinks your funny, and in Redbook for giving marital advice on Valentine’s Day then I will let them call me “hot” because its the new “cool.”

Fairly Odd Mother February 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

It took me 45 minutes to figure out how to leave a comment b/c I’m a mom and clearly clueless on the internet. Good thing my husband is home to turn on the TV with that thingy you hold in your hand.

I’m not a mom to a teen yet, though as my oldest is 12, I feel like I am. Now excuse me, I’m going to go iron sheets.

Colleen Pence February 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

I’m a business owner, blogger, and mother who uses FB to connect with friends *and* for business. Sad that Mashable resorted to this ridiculous infographic. If they posted it hoping to get the Real Moms of Facebook in a kerrfuffle so we’d talk about them and bring them page views, mission accomplished. I expect more from Mashable, a source I read everyday for business.

Lonnie E. February 24, 2013 at 9:23 am

I’d be rolling on the floor laughing if it wasn’t over-the-top irritating. I first joined FB with a business page. Yep, I am a Mom and I have my own business. *gasp* I don’t use FB to keep tabs on my almost 16 year old daughter, turns out I can do that without the help of a social network. And I can even turn on the TV! I’ve found that it’s good to have that skill for when the kid and I want to curl up on the couch together and watch our new addiction, “Shakespeare Uncovered” on PBS, or for when we turn on the Wii and I totally kick her butt playing a game.

Joy Palmer February 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

Was planning to write to Mashable myself, but you’ve saved me the trouble.

“Dear Mashable, I am a ‘Mum’ on facebook. I like to share silly videos and pictures of my kid’s school projects. Sometimes I post a recipe or brag about a cake I’ve made… Next week I am going to Brazil to talk about Augmented Reality and disruptive technologies. I also happen to be responsible for several large innovation IT teams who work on national UK services. I develop open data strategies, and use chunks of my budget to run hackathons and other events to drive innovation. Sadly a lot of these events are still dominated by men.

It’s really sad I need to give you a summary of my resume to get you to understand how pissed off we all are about these ridiculously offensive stereotypes over ‘Moms on Facebook’”

Coffee with Julie February 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I’d leave a better message if I was confident I could figure out how to leave a message on here. I’m just a stupid, old mom. What do I know?

Mom101 February 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I lurve you.

I mean, I ,<3 U…how do you turn on the TV again?

Michelle Kalsi February 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Thank you, Julie! These women are a great representation of FB and how we connect. I’m not the Mom of a teen but I am the Mom of a 10 and 8 year old who uses FB to share our crazy, multi cultural, multi-continent world with friends and family. I work in my own business (part-time – because I can!) as a business development consultant to multi-nationals in emerging markets. I’ve worked in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and just moved 6 months ago to India. Boy did Mashable get this one wrong! Well maybe we’ll get a few less annoying and ridiculous ads in our streams…

Christina Sciubba February 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

I’m a 36 year old mother to a 16 year old and a 2 year old … I’m on facebook and I sure do not fit those silly descriptions! I’m a teacher’s aide in the special education department and I’m working on my bachelors degree as an online student to obtain my teaching degree and going on to obtain a doctorate to teach college level kids. It’s important to me that my kids see how hard I work to be their Mom, their Dad’s wife, a good employee and a hard worker at my studies. No, I sure don’t wear pearls in my ears or around my neck and no cutesy t-shirts reside in my drawers!

Meagan Francis March 1, 2013 at 8:45 am

This is just…wow. From the stupid photos to the descriptions (part-time receptionist and “full time M O M”????).

I have two teenagers and I promise you I am in every way more savvy about the Internet than they are. (Though, I will say, they are better at working the TV than I am, but mostly because they are more motivated to figure out the four-remote-control system.)

Christina Gleason @ WELL, in THIS House March 1, 2013 at 8:52 am

My son is too young for Facebook, but I’d say this graphic was way-too-fitting for my mother-in-law’s behavior on Facebook. She watches EVERYTHING my husband and I post on Facebook…and comments on it at family gatherings. It’s creepy. I’ve added her to my restricted list, but she still sees things that I post as Public.

And my father-in-law LIKES everything my husband posts. Good or bad. If it’s on my husband’s FB profile, his dad has given it the thumbs up. But he doesn’t call, and he hasn’t visited in about 5 years.


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