Meet the Birmingham student who wrote a dissertation on Mumsnet

‘I’m not sure if Mumsnet users were happy with me’

To save you zooming in on everyone’s dissertation titles on Instagram, we’re talking to the UoB students with the most interesting dissertation topics. Last week we interviewed the English Language student who wrote hers on Fiat 500 Twitter, and she’s not the only Language student to be storming Twitter. Meet Lauren, who wrote her dissertation on Mumsnet.

Despite Mumsnet being a chat forum exclusively for parents, many of us have encountered the site before, particularly for its infamous debating and threads. The UK-based chat forum was established over 20 years ago, to discuss parenting and other topics.

Lauren Conheeney, an English Language and Literature student at the University of Birmingham, completed her 12,000 word dissertation on ‘An investigation into Mumsnet as an Online Community of Practice.’ In an interview with Lauren, The Birmingham Tab asked her where she got her inspiration and love for Mumsnet from, she commented: “I can’t really remember how my obsession with Mumsnet started but I think it was around this time last year when I googled a basic question about my hair.”

The English graduate continued: “I was surprised no one had deep dived into such a site before, so I just knew I had to make my dissertation about it somehow.”

Lauren decided not to give away her results just as yet but revealed some exclusives about Mumsnet: “I can say though it’s basically just like reddit but for your mum when she’s fed up of yours and your dads sh** and needs a whine and wine to release the stress of everyday life.”

Many people would wonder how Lauren investigated the Mumsnet site in detail, Lauren revealed: “I basically just collected a corpus of threads over a week, after a bit of time getting to know the site and getting a sense of the usual users.”

However, Lauren revealed that she did have some issues conducting her research: “I did try and reach out to users to do some interviews which resulted in me being told to go away, so not sure if actual users of Mumsnet were too happy about it.”

Despite this I’m sure most people, even Mumsnet users, would like to read her dissertation at some point in the future.