Category Archives: Twitter

The Today Show Defines the Digital Mom, Part One.

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So while changing a funky diaper this morning, I happened to have on the Today Show. I usually get about a half hour with Meredith and Matt before I am onto other things in my day. And it was probably going to be switched off right after that diaper change had I not heard the intro to a series about “Digital Moms”.

Wait a second. That’s me!

C’s “Pull Up” got pulled up right quick, I hastily ushered him over to his favorite chalk board and ran back to turn up the volume. And this is what I watched.

Initially I was excited. Yes, here’s focus being given to moms and all that they can do from home and online! So cool!

Um… hold on. Did the Today Show really portray what a “digital mom” is truly all about?

I know its only the first part of the series but so far, I am a little disappointed. Here are my thoughts.

First of all, every woman should in fact follow Laura Fortner’s advice. Yes, use the Internet anyway you need to. If that means finding support groups while you wrestle life as a parent, do it. By all means. Its WAY  cheaper than therapy. I’ve got great online friends who have supported me through good and bad. I get it. Women SHOULD connect this way.

And I most certainly use twitter and facebook socially (as well as to promote what I do). In this bloggy world, you have to make personal connections with people if anyone is to take you seriously. That’s the irony about blogging. While it seems rather anti-social to work alone at a computer – it is actually interactive, personal work. But twitter and facebook are certainly not the be all and end all for me. I take no issue if that’s all some moms use the Internet for, just as long as twitter and facebook aren’t what “digital moms” are defined by.

However, the Today Show seemed to portray the digital mom as a social Internet butterfly flitting from one social network to another, hardly offering anything of much value, prioritizing their iphones and laptops over time with their children.

From where I sit in with dirty diaper in hand, the Today Show doesn’t get it yet.  Seriously. They have only just scratched the deeply faceted surface of a very complex system. Women online today are kicking some virtual ass and taking names. While nursing babies on three hours of sleep or running children to little league, they are reaching out in ways that affect important change. They are standing up for what women deserve, interviewing future presidents and representing mothers at the Democratic National Convention. They write, they rally, they fight, they work hard, they make us laugh ( a lot ), they give, they think, they educate, they share, and they even make money doing it. All while being moms. From home. With a laptop in front of them and toys scattered at their feet.

And here’s the funny thing. Businesses and PR companies actually get what digital moms are all about. (Think back to that all expenses paid trip to NYC I just went on.) Why do they get it? Because mothers are the ones spending the money and digital moms are the ones writing about where they spend it. And digital moms are not some untrained variety of advertisers, happy to plug any product for free stuff. These moms tell it how it is, the good, the bad and the ugly. Consumers are drawn to these women’s perspectives because they write well, they write from the heart and lots of people follow what they have to say.

But I do have to say this. The Today Show isn’t the only one scrambling to get it. As my friend Mary pointed out to me today, you have to be in it, to get it. And that is so true. I can’t tell you how many times my friends eyes glaze over when I talk about blogging. And I take no offense at all. Because writing and connecting and working online isn’t everyone’s bag. We all do our own thing, its all good.

But if you are a news source, wouldn’t you try a little harder to get it and not just piece together a cute story about what seems to be a new cyber hobby for bored moms?

So anyway, its only the start of a series. Maybe I have my panties in a bunch way too soon. I could be jumping the gun, this could be really great for all digital moms. Still, I did send a message to @todayshow on Twitter today asking them to consider attending the Blogher conference in Chicago. If they still don’t get it by the end of this series, that conference will set them straight. BlogHer represents the diversity, the smarts and the know how of real digital moms today. And it’s something to be reckoned with.

Well, I’ve had my say. I promise to stay tuned into the series. (Wendy aka @eMom will be on tomorrow. I was lucky enough to meet her at Seaworld. Go Wendy!) I will certainly post later in the week with my perspective once again. “Oh great”, I hear you groan.

Ah well.

I am digital mom, hear me post.

Peace out.

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Communication, Mothers, Twitter, Women, Working moms

Blogger Karma: Give Some, Get Some.

I have this thing about karma. Or at least I have a thing about my own pseudo-semi-spiritual notion of what it means. My kind of karma, the “Caroline” definition of Karma (and forgive me real karma people for butchering it’s true meaning) is to give and give and give. And when you give, you will get back what you deserve. I also know karma is about balance and for every good there is a bad. Yin, yang, good, bad, bladdy bladdy blah. But I am completely down with my little karma concept in that we just have to take care of one another and the universe will be sure you get yours in the long run.

So, then I went to BlogHer. (I know I know, I am talking about it again. But one post this conference does not suffice. I think this might be the last one though, ok?) And, while I sat in sessions and kept a fairly low profile, the gears in my brain were working overtime to absorb and learn as much as I possibly could. I think the session that Kacey summarizes nicely might be my greatest inspiration, but I seemed to pick this concept up more and more throughout all of the sessions I attended and after the many conversations I had.

And now, a few weeks have passed, and I want to share the big lesson, the big “ah-ha”, light bulb going over my head, bit of knowledge that has bubbled up to the surface of my brain and truly enlightened me. That lesson is:

A good blogger practices good blogger karma.

(Cue bright beam of light on my blog, angels singing from above.)

And what do I mean by that? Well, you may have heard what I am talking about in slightly more down to earth terms but I am going to put a spiritual spin on it here. So, after all that listening and stewing, this is how I think one practices good blogger karma.

A good blogger should reach out, make time for and respect the community of bloggers you are writing amongst. As anti-social as writing by yourself at your computer may seem, let’s face it, blogging is a community oriented mode of expression. And for your blog to succeed, you need to care about the bloggers around you. Because they are there, reading you, watching you, and considering what you have to say. So for as much time as you might spend on your own blog (writing, tinkering, stat watching, widgeting or what have you), you should spend an equal amount of time reading and reaching out to other bloggers. To achieve true blogger karma, you might want to consider the following:

  • Comments: Visit blogs, read them well, and make a smart comment. Care about the blogs you read.
  • Link: If you really were inspired by another blog, be sure to link to it in yours. Give it the public props it deserves
  • If you are on twitter, and you enjoyed someone else’s post, link your followers to it on Twitter. Don’t get too caught up on linking to your posts all the time on twitter either
  • Join and load up Stumble It. And then click on “I like it” for any posts you read that you like. Take the time to add the categories and tags approprite to that post
  • Add your favorite blogs to your blogroll
  • Be nice and reach out to other bloggers by email, twitter, comments or through any of the various community networks

Again, I know most of you have probably heard this all before. But do we all really take just as much time to reach out to other bloggers as we do to our own blog? That’s hard to do, right? But you really need to care about those other bloggers. A lot. You need to give them credit and pay their posts forward. Perform random acts of blogging kindness. Comment. Twitter, Stumble It. Kirtsy it. Email. Post it on Facebook. Just give your energy, your time and your heart, dammit. You have nothing to lose and so much blogging karma to gain.

I remember when I first started blogging, and I thought it seemed extremely self-involved. I mean, c’mon. Writing endless paragraphs about stuff I am thinking about, and then pushing a button to put it out there for the web-savvy masses to read? Did I REALLY think I had anything THAT important to say? I felt like it was a tad self-indulgant and felt a little embarressed I would assume my writing would and should be read.

But now, this new concept of blogging karma has been a wonderful bit of enlightenment. It helps me feel more justified to ramble on about my own semi-brilliant thoughts in a blog post when I know I will do my bit to support other blogs once I’m done. What a relief that is to me.

And sure, you don’t HAVE to practice blogging karma. You can write your stuff and do your thing and twitter about yourself all day (like I have today… Did you hear? C. pooped in the potty!) and maybe occasionally check out some post here and there that got your attention… but then what are you learning, really? And, will your blog grow at all? And, lets not forget – what I know you probably care about most – WILL people really come check your blog out if you don’t bother to check out theirs? Just consider it, ok?

Now that being said, ENOUGH ABOUT ME. (ha… I crack myself up.) I am off to peruse the wonderful world of smart bloggers everywhere. I will wave my Stumble It wand and sprinkle well thought out comments everywhere….

Ugh, ok. All this positive “be good to your fellow blogger” crap might have just reached it saturation point and is getting to be a touch much. Even for me. (gag.)

But you know what I mean.

Just get out there and go be nice.

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, BlogHer Conference, Deep thoughts, Educating myself, Karma, Spirituality, Twitter

BlogHer Revisisted: Sharing the Goods, the Bloggers and the Exhaustion.

We are finally back home. I still have bags to unpack. More laundry must be done. Another trip to the grocery store for items other than milk and bread might be nice. There are bills to pay, school supply checklists to complete, and phone calls to return.

And yet, here I sit. With my BlogHer gear spread out around me. My name tag is hanging on the wall while business cards, brochures, buttons, stickers and other various types of swag are dumped out here on my desk.

I am ready to remember my fabulous trip to San Francisco.

Or perhaps I’d like to click my heels and wish myself back there.

Some people like to call it BlogHer 08, but I like to think of it as the Magical Mommy Mystery Tour. What a wonderful, crazy trip it was.

(Be prepared my loyal readers. This post may be a doozy and even a bit too long for me to stand. But this conference, like this post, was overwhelming, lengthy, and a tidal wave of blogging information in of itself.)

It all started on a Thursday. I leaped onto a plane with my laptop strapped to my back, leaving my swirling world of mommy groundhog day in the capable hands of my husband. Five hours later I found myself in SF, being picked up by my long lost college roommate, her three boys and current boyfriend. She lives in Mendicino and lives a wonderful organic lifestyle on a farm there. We piled into the van, the smell of incense was thick, she offered me a sip of her raw chocolate milkshake. Oh thank the heavens, I was soooo not in Kansas Florida anymore.

We bounced through the city and met up with another long lost but equally wonderful college friend of mine whom I would be staying with. She’s an artist and has a piece hanging in gallery downtown. We stopped in to check it out. Art. Oh what a fabulous luxury to make, enjoy, consider and be a part of. ESPECIALLY without my children to wrangle. I have to give her a shout-out. You can find her here. She is amazing and I am so damn proud of her!

That night I reconnected with the old me. The me in college, the non-mommy me, seen through the eyes of old friends with good memories. Rejuvenated and officially back in touch with that that old self of mine, the next morning I was dropped off at 7:45am in front of the Westin-St. Francis Hotel. Again, I had my trusty HP laptop backpack strapped to my back (perhaps as my own blogging parachute of sorts) and I crossed the street to make my way into the hotel.

Deep breaths. Ok, where should I go? Is it really even here? What if the whole BlogHer thing is only a part of some online fantasy world. I mean, c’mon… bloggers? In REAL life? Could it even be possible? And then I saw a sign pointing me in the direction of registration. As I reached the top of the staircase, there I found a long line of women – blogging women – waiting, chatting, various and interesting. I found my place, got my name tag, my swag bag, and was off.

The maze of rooms, ballrooms, and hallways threw me right away. Where could I sit down? My overwhelmed brain was attracted and distracted by the flashing lights and stim from every direction. Table after table of vendors offered cool gadgets and big smiles. A group of women were playing Wii Fit in front of a flat screen TV. Smells of coffee, roombas vacuuming at my feet, computer screens flashing, laughter, women, even TV cameras and then a large blue mascot standing in front of me for some new PBS kids show… c’mon, hold on a sec, I can’t quite absorb all this… I need to eat first… where could I sit down? Finally, there was the grand ballroom filled with empty tables and I plopped down to eat my bagel.

The first two women I met were amazing. Shark Fu – aka Angry Black Bitch – to my left and Zanaru at Create It Herself to my right, the conversation was fun and light and I was so glad to meet them both. As the morning went on, I met Moosh in Indy, Mama Spohr, Susan Wenner Jackson from Working Moms Against Guilt, and Kim Sue Ellen from Simply me. I met Lucrecer from Art Slam– what a cool blog! And Allese Thomson just starting out at Behind the Make-up had such interesting things to say.

I jumped into my first break-out session: Is mommy blogging still a radical act?  Watch part of it for yourself. It was one of the best sessions. I am also now a huge fan of Polly Pagenhart, otherwise known as Lesbian Dad.

Then I went to a mommy blogging session on Parenting and Privacy. It was there I met Christine Rury from Home Team Wins– we sat and stressed over the pictures of our children on our blogs that could be photoshopped, stolen – oh man, what were we doing to our babies? Out there in mommblogger land, the kosher amount of information we share about our children seems to run the gamut. Some don’t post their children at all, some post pics and their full names. It’s a personal choice. And I realized what sort of reality show and entertainment for the masses blogging can be.

I met more cool women over food, in the halls, having coffee: Clairenation, Lara David, Spinning Yellow, Stimey (I blame you for my new Twitter addiction! Honestly, I am glad I got over it and joined. It was so great to meet you.), ShallowGal, Crummy Cupcake, Anne Fritz from The Jet Set Girls, Katherine Gray of Dirt to Dish, and Vampituidty.

But wait. I can’t forget my new friend Terri who works with HP. She helped me get my new laptop and video camera up and running. Supportive, smart and so positive about blogging, Terri was a wonderful friend to have there! And if it weren’t for Terri, I never would have gotten video footage of me meeting a true celebrity, recognized far beyond the world of blogging: Grover and Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street. Actually, what was really fun was talking to the voice behind Grover, and she caught that too. I hope to post the video soon.

Before BlogHer wrapped up for the day, there was a community keynote with about 20 bloggers reading various posts of theirs. I gather BlogHer will be posting more of the readings from that evening. Honestly, people, these speakers were AMAZING – and you can watch the first speaker here.

That night, the bloggers made there way to an uber-hip club called Ruby Skye. It was very cool but I felt frumpy. I was still in the same clothes since I did not have a chance to change. But the food was great and I met an awesome mommy blogger: Tricia from Four Plus Four Equals Ten. We chatted, compared notes on the day and missed our kids together. On the way out the door, I met two more very cool bloggers. Military mama whom I follow and had her sweet little one with her asleep on her shoulder. And then Deb on the Rocks – and she actually does rock, no doubt.

The next morning, I felt a little less peppy and a lot more weary. I sat down from some breakfast, hardly feeling exactly witty or on my “A” game. And who should make her way and find a seat next to little ol’ me? One of my fav bloggers ever: Pundit Mom.

Um, ok. How do I NOT look like a dork? How do I just chill out and seem as unstalker-ish as possible. I did my best, I really did Pundit Mom. Not sure if it worked though. But I’ll gush here because I can: I think you’re really smart and cool and it was honestly an honor to meet you. And thanks for the little Pundit Mom pin, I wore it the rest of the day. (I know I know, my friends. I am a big old nerd.)

I also met A Girl and a Boy who is now expecting a boy! Congrats to her! And then met Slouching Mom and I am now an official fan of her site too.

Revived by the cool bloggers I had met, I slung my backpack over my shoulder, found my way through the maze of hallways and pushed into the most crowded session I had been to yet: How we communicatre building traffic via content and community. I found a small spot on the floor, I could hardly see the speaker, but solomenly took notes on my laptop. It was an excellent session and I learned a great deal. Phew though, I guess I have a looong way to go.

The day continued and onto more sessions I went. My bag got heavier, the jet lag was catching up to me and I finally found myself hiding in corners just to catch up on email and try not to make too much eye contact. I had a feeling the women huddled over their own laptops here and there felt the same way too.

A quick note about the “high school”ish reputation BlogHer seems to get. Eh, I guess there was the cool crowd, the cliquish types and even the star bloggers (who are probably so nice) that I couldn’t quite bring myself to say hi to. (Julie Pippert, you’re one of them, as well as Mom-101 and Queen of Spain. WHY didn’t I just suck it up and say hi??? Silly me.) Here’s the thing. I went to a women’s college (go yoke!)and I “get” women together. Sure, you’ll have some catty stuff here and there. But I honestly think most women just aren’t used to being in an all women’s environment. They ASSUME catty stuff, gossiping and backstabbing is happening all around them. However, I’d bet if you did go up and chat to that cool group of women laughing about whatever, they would gladly have you jump in on the conversation. Women seem programmed to think other women will rip them down. It’s very discouraging. I honestly have more faith in women than that. All women environments can actually bring more strength and confidence than you can imagine. There is camaraderie, there is room for everyone to be a leader, there is no glass ceiling. It might just be hard to figure that out in a couple days, where everyone is feeling insecure and outed when they usually are somewhat hidden by the blogosphere. It certainly makes for an interesting dynamic. But enough about that.

The final highlight of the day was the Closing Keynote speakers: Heather Armstrong and Stephanie Klein. We all gathered in the grand ballroom, excited and twittering “DOOCE DOOCE DOOCE DOOCE”, our laptop screens lit up like lighters at a concert. They were great. We hung on their every word. I am not a regular reader of either but to see such successful bloggers talk about their lives in the public eye was fascinating and extraordinarily eyeopening.

That night I had a red-eye to catch home. I popped into the party over at Macy’s briefly but I just couldn’t hustle up the party-girl in me to get too fired up and stay for very long. Instead, I hauled my stuff to the lobby and called my husband. I was ready to come home.

But BlogHer had one more surprise up her sleeve for me. As I got settled into the airport shuttle van, who should I run into? But two other bloggers, of course. Not just bloggers, but panel speakers. Adele at A book Without a Coverand Shaz at Shaziamistry. We were fast friends and had an early dinner together at the airport before parting ways (Adele, I hope you made your flight! My tweezers DID make it through security, by the way…). I would recommend checking out Shaz’s website if you are a newbie blogger. She has all sorts of techie advice, especially hints about wordpress! If you want real in-depth help, she loves Starbucks (hint hint)… or I am sure she wouldn’t mind being paid for real either. But what a wonderful treat to meet such cool women on the heels of such an amazing event.

And with that, I climbed onto the plane. I popped my contacts out, said a prayer of thanks there was no “Mr. McFeely” or possible groper seated next to me to worry about, and fell fast asleep.

Friends, if you have made it to the bottom of this post, a round of applause to you for sticking out BlogHer 08 with me. And stay tuned for Grover and Abby Cadabby video coming up soon! Now I better clean all this BlogHer stuff up, it’s like I am pining away about my college days or something. Sheesh.

(p.s. Did you see the BlogHer 08 write up in the NY Times? And then I also found Pundit Mom’s response pretty interesting too.)

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, BlogHer Conference, Educating myself, Feminist tendancies, Travel, Twitter, Women

Rehabbing from BlogHer08… but Hopped Up on Twitter.

I have returned safely from BlogHer08 and slipped back into vacation life with my family. But here I sit. Vaguely slack jawed, short of breath, over-stimmed and kinda tweaked out. BlogHer08. It got to me. It’s as if my inner blogging hard drive uploaded some monstrous load of software and now it just needs to reboot before it can function at all. There is far too much to process, too many business cards to look through, pictures to upload and blogs to visit. I’m not ready to post about it (but I will be, oh, I will be). 

And oh no. A techie analogy. And I am SO not techie. What has HAPPENED to me?

See, clearly BlogHer got under my skin. Like pouring water on a Gremlin or discovering new super hero Spidie-Senses after being bitten by the BlogHer bug… there is no turning back now. Blogging is running in my veins, has me dreaming in widgets and seeing in technorati.

And do you know what else BlogHer08 did to me? Those sneaky sneaky women. Like crafty drug pushers, all whispering in the hallways between sessions “you gotta do it, you gotta try it, EVERYBODY (there) is doing it”… I DID do it. During an insane moment at a table surrounded by women silently tweeting away to one another in a frenzy, I signed up for Twitter. For the networking possibilities, I told myself. For the good of my blog, I rationalized. Uh-huh. As the 3 R’s says, I’ve drunk the Kool-aid now. There’s no turning back. A blogging Gremlin cracked out on Twitter. Get me to rehab. FAST.

So that’s really what I am doing here. I have put myself into a little bit of Blogger’s Rehab. As I type this, I am outside at our tiny family beach cottage, enjoying the peaceful world around me. I am soaking in the silence and watching the sun in the trees while the rest of the household naps. What a beautiful world this is here. Far from the conference site, the sessions, the swag. Just me and my family, together, relaxing our brains and rebooting our inner hard drives. 

However. I can’t help but notice. The birds. Do you know what they are doing? THEY’RE TWEETING.

(….if ya wanna find me on twitter you can find me at “Morningsidemom”, i’m checking it, i’m watching it, everyone thinks I am out here with my book, with my new bff – my HP – tucked safely away in my back pack. No. I am out here, hunched over, I don’t hear the birds… but I hear a whole lot of tweeting… so so much tweeting….)

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Filed under Blog love, BlogHer Conference, Twitter, Uncategorized, Vacation