Creating an online community

December 24, 2012
Raina Delisle

Tiffany Auvinen

From race car driving to fitness tips and travel to charity, you can find it all on Doctors’ Wives Living.

The online magazine was established by MA in Intercultural and International Communication alumna Tiffany Auvinen and her friend Sally Walton in January 2012.  Less than a year after launching, they won Best Collaborative/Multi-Author Blog in Canada through the competition.

“We try to make it really positive and upbeat and provide really positive information to people,” Auvinen says in explaining the popularity of her site, which receives more than 130,000 page views monthly. She says the lifestyle publication is for all women who aspire to live fulfilling lives, including helping charitable organizations, learning about new experiences and empowering other women to try new things.

The website features sections such as To Do (recipes, decorating, fashion and activities), To Live (health, fitness and travel), To Love (sex and relationships) and To Give (charities and give-aways). There’s also a section called DWL Experiences, where readers can purchase or reserve experiences such as river rafting tours, circus classes and dining out at recommended restaurants. 

“We want to promote experiences rather than material things,” says Auvinen, who’s based in Victoria. “We find that our lives are enriched through experiences, like having a child or going on a trip versus buying a Louis Vuitton bag. We want to get women out there trying new things because life is just so short.”

Auvinen had the idea to launch the magazine in 2011 while at home with her new baby. She had previously worked in public relations and wanted to continue working on creative projects. The name Doctors’ Wives Living is a playful take on what people call her and Walton; despite the fact that they both have thriving independent careers, people often refer to them as “doctors’ wives.”

“We thought we would play on that nickname people had given us and provide information with help from people who are in our social circles,” says Auvinen, adding that contributors include doctors, a personal trainer who works with NHL players and a fellow alumnus who writes about relationships from a man’s point of view. New content is posted daily during the week and contests for prizes also help keep readers’ interest.

School of Communication and Culture Prof. Michael Real says Auvinen was a student who took a lot of initiative and was very good at organizing and getting support for initiatives. “Tiffany was a pure delight to work with,” Real says. “Very enthusiastic and very much a people person.”

While studying at Royal Roads from 2009 to 2011, Auvinen focused her research on social media and a mommy group in Victoria in an effort to discover what women were communicating about online. “It definitely helped me in learning about social media and how to communicate with people and what they wanted to learn about,” she says. “It had a huge impact on the business.”