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Gretchen Seefried


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A year ago, Gretchen Seefried didn’t know how to copy and paste. Today, Seefried is a social media diva and an online entrepreneur. She’s breaking barriers, building bridges and creating an online community for a demographic just now finding their bearings in the virtual world. In the process, she’s gone from stay-at-home mom with a passion for volunteerism and charity to the proprietor of a niche Facebook-like site.

In September, the Denver mother of five launched MidChix—what she calls “a boutique social media site for birds of a feather.” In this case, birds are women 40 and older. It’s a place where middle-aged women can connect with like-minded ladies about various issues and topics.

For Seefried, the process of creating the site has been a fascinating exploration of women, age, connections and technology.

“At this stage of life, there is a realization that connection with other women is incredibly valuable,” she said. “We empower each other. That’s something that becomes clear the older you get. That’s true with jobs, in parenting, in family.
…I think online communities are a wonderful opportunity to allow people to get connected or stay connected or both.”

With 1,100 users thus far and about 80 percent of them local, MidChix has room to grow. Seefried has increasingly realized that there is an active target audience for her site. She thought it would be a process of finding middle-aged women who are clueless about Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and teaching them the ways of the web. But she’s discovered that her demographic has techie skills and they know how to use them.

“We had a billboard up that said, ‘Give Facebook the bird. Join MidChix,’” Seefried said. “Obviously, we are not trying to compete. It’s the difference between a big cocktail party and an intimate girls’ night out. There is a place for both.”

On inspiration: Seefried originally tried Facebook when her daughter went to college, so they could more easily stay connected. “I thought that a person’s ‘wall’ was like their bedroom wall, not the Great Wall of China. So I wrote something asking if she had found a doctor for her irritable bowel syndrome,” she laughed. “After that, I took a break from it.” When her second-oldest child went to college, she tried again. “My 16-year-old son was just appalled by the fact that I was on Facebook,” she said. “I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll just start my own.” She cashed in her life-insurance policy, hired a software developer and did just that.

On going from mom to blogger: “Being a stay-at-home mom for so many years, my life was really about holding down the fort,” she said. “…It’s completely changed. I’m a whole new person. It’s been fun and exciting. And to have my family and kids be excited for me, it’s just wonderful. I just can’t wait to get up in the morning.”

On the future: Starting a social media site might have actually been the last thing Seefried ever imagined she would do in her life. “But I’ve always focused on connecting with people, writing and supporting causes. And hopefully this will become a way to do all three,” she said. When she does start making a profit, a percentage will support local organizations that help children.

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email no info send march17th/09

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