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Denis Postle:

"In 2000, a disastrous holiday experience led Justine Roberts and Carrie Longton to create Mumsnet (, a website that would make parents’ lives easier by providing them with a forum where they could pool collective knowledge, advice and support. Mumsnet describes itself as ‘by parents for parents’. It is now the UK’s busiest social network for parents, generating nearly 50 million page views and seven million visits per month.

Mumsnet provides an array of internet forums for conversations, discussions, announcements, controversies and campaigns focused around parenting. All this content is public, open to being read by anyone, and anyone can sign up to join in, for free and anonymously.

This huge resource is easily accessible but difficult to summarise. I searched for some current concerns: ‘Alzheimer’s’ scored 629 responses; ‘nervous breakdown’ 2,570 responses; ‘teenage troubles’ 8,580 responses. The most popular is ‘Am I being unreasonable…?’ – 265,000 responses.

I searched for contributors who had said something about Mumsnet. I found comments such as: ‘I have been here for 7.5 years and I bloody love you all too!’; ‘MN has given me countless hours of laughter and gossippy entertainment through terrible morning sickness, PND, and long nights trying to put a newborn to sleep’; ‘…I was speaking to some people when my dd was in year seven (age 11), and still speak to the same people and now she is 17. There are some wonderful people on here.’

Like AA, Mumsnet sustains safety and trust through anonymity and this has given birth to a rich vernacular language; the countless text conversations display the entrails (often literally!) of women’s lives and engage, with unvarnished frankness and humour, with topics such as flexible working, family-friendliness, the constant juggling and the economic situation. Mumsnet epitomises the shared power and ordinary wisdom that the notion of the psyCommons points to, and demonstrates one of the ways in which it can be deepened and enlivened." (