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6 posts from October 2009

October 23, 2009

The Internet Mommy Book Launch Party

 
Theinternetmommy I am taking a break from the non-stop socializing to blog about The Internet Mommy Book Launch party. The book is"inspiring interviews and stories from mothers who work and play online- How Social Networks Influence the Way Moms Make Money, View LIfe, Find Friends and Raise Kids". The book does a great job of sharing stories and information about how moms are taking their networking skills online.

Kimberly Clayton Blaine is the author of the book. When I asked her what inspired her to write the book she explained:   "all the support from other women I met online elevated the work that I was doing. I was once a lone star - now I support others and they support me."

I first found out about Kimberley Clayton Blaine when I viewed her vlog: TheGoToMom.TV. I found the videos to be engaging - with mom stories I relate to. Then she joined the LA Moms Blog to share her stories about being a mom in Los Angeles.

Sharing stories online has become the new "moms group", and the best thing is that you don't need to leave the house. But many of us "Internet Moms" maximize our online social networks by meeting up at live events. The Internet Mommy Book launch party is a perfect example of that - all the momsIMG_0423 here have such interesting stories on how they participate in either blogging, writing for websites, Twittering, Facebooking and other types of social media.

I know many of the moms that contributed to the book, and I am honored to have a section of my own - that involves Twitter and a pillow fight between my boys (for more details, you will just have to check out "The Internet Mommy").

Back to the party, I am enjoying catching up with the LA Moms Bloggers in attendance, meeting moms that I only knew online and some that I did not know but will now be following.

 Kimberley is welcoming everyone to the party.

 Launch2

(Left to Right) Kim Walls, Kimberley Clayton Blaine and Beth Blecherman

 Launch 1 


There are more pictures on the way with the other fun ladies in attendance...

October 19, 2009

Education Policies - A Rant

New York Stock Exchange, New York City.Image via Wikipedia

Just seeing the movie clip from Micheal Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" made me want to more publicly speak out against the bailout policies. One scene in particular was of Micheal Moore putting crime tape along some of the bailout players buildings at Wall Street and asking for "our money back".

But there are other areas that I would like to speak out on and don't have much time - until I see my other moms posting on their blogs - then I can join in the fun. I always get inspired reading the posts on Silicon Valley Moms Group (where I am proud to be a co-founder of). Each of the blogs has a category for "education" that always has the latest and greatest education related mom experiences.

I also enjoy reader the personal blogs of the Silicon Valley Moms Group writers. One of the writers from the LA Moms Blog also posted on her personal blog about an experience she just had at her public school: "An Open Letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District". I read her post and then added a comment which really turned out to be a rant. I know that in reality problems exist in public and private schools, it is important to find the best environment for your child.

This school year has just started but I seem to reading about many situations where school policies were taken too far, especially in consideration of the real problems all schools are currently having to deal with. Problems such as cuts in budgets, layoffs, incorporating technology/technology education, creating an environment where kids with different learning styles are supported, offering inspiring arts/music/science curriculum, and more. Public Education is especially important because it reaches more children, who will be the future of our country. I still believe that investments in kids/education will produce a better return then the other "bailout" programs. I am a strong supporter of President Obama and believe that if any one can do it - he can. But he was handed a big load of problems from the last administration. For now, I will just keep reading and ranting. I hope to find a way in the near future to put my rants to work for the "improve education" cause.

Comment from TechMama on Sweatpants Mom's post:

Continue reading "Education Policies - A Rant" »

October 18, 2009

Just helped friends customize their blog, that was fun!

Many parents who consider themselves non techie are now either reading, setting up blogs of their own or trying to understand blogging because their tweens/teens have blogs.

Luckily, I started blogging over 4 years ago and now my son, who is 10, is just becoming interested in blogging. Today I had to the honor of helping dear friends - that are going on an AMAZING year long sailing trip - finalize their blog. For anyone that is interested in following a family that set sail for a year - click here to see the blog: Mitgang/Gottesman Sailing Voyage Aboard Whatcha Gonna Do .

They had done a great job of setting up their blog and picking a simple background with text that is easy to read, but I helped them add some important details: categories, setting up RSS feeds so their friends can subscribe to their blog and other details. This was my first time using Google Blogger and I found it easy to use. I started blogging on using the blogging platform "Typepad" and have been using that ever since. I also have blogger friends that use WordPress. There are also other platforms to use as well.

So now I decided to work on a post that will help beginners understand how to create a "basic" blog. My first step is to do some research. I will be posting soon with details, please add any hints for beginners creating a blog to this post. One thing I will be looking into is - how to set up controls if it is your tween/teen setting up a blog (public versus private).

More to come...

October 12, 2009

10 Great iPhone Apps for Moms & Dads

Iphone TechMamas.com guest post by Sarah Granger who is my go-to/power user iPhone App mom. 

Other than the obvious apps that come with the iPhone that save us in daily life like SMS, e-mail, Calendar, Maps, Weather, iPhoto, etc., here are ten great iPhone applications to download from the App Store that have good uses for moms (and dads).

1. ICE - In Case of Emergency - important app for emergency contact info including doctors, allergies, medications, etc. for you and your kids.

2. WebMD Mobile - Allows for quick lookup of symptoms and helps to determine when children need to go to the doctor or the emergency room.

3. LocalPicks - Great ideas for restaurants when your kids are about to have a meltdown - you can find out what's close, fast.

4. Light - Turn your iPhone into a light in the dark when kids are scared or if you need to find something, like car keys.  

5. Scribble Lite - A fun program for the preschool and Kinder set, they can paint and draw from your iPhone.

6. Bubbles - For the little ones, this is a great way to pass the time - you or they make bubbles and pop them.

7. Facebook - Stay in touch with mom friends or cyberstalk your kids and their friends; also good for comic relief when you need a break.

8. Pandora - Builds custom radio stations for you based on your preferences: drown out the kids or make them think you're cool.

9. iChalky - Hours of silly fun, stretching a little faux chalk-like hangman type character (and don't forget to try inserting your kids' faces).

10. SitOrSquat - Last, but certainly not least, this helps locate nearby restrooms and identifies whether they are clean, safe, etc.

...

Sarah Granger, tech mom of one, has written for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Bay Area Parent, Playborhood, techPresident and Digital Landing.

October 10, 2009

Is There Any Such Thing As "Safe Web Surfing" for Kids?

J0433153 *republished 10/10 with updates:

A blogger friend emailed me asking about safe web surfing for her son. Many parents want to allow their kids to search for websites on the web, but worry about them wandering onto dangerous websites.

So I decided to revisit an area I think about often: What controls are available for safe web surfing for kids?

1. Brandon from BlackWaterOps tweeted the following suggestion:  OpenDNS.com , set your router, safe guard your childs surfing. no software to bypass, update, and its free. MakeUseOf.com had a post on 5 Free Parental Control Apps that also included OpenDNS.com. Their post had some details on which settings to use.

2. CNET Download: Searching the CNET download website for parental controls will provide a listing of applications available for download. I decided not to leave web surfing to chance and implemented a web filter on my son's first computer (that he received when he was 8). I choose to use the option of "not allowing" any website, so my son and I could hand pick which websites were allowed. This option does take the most time, but it is the most restrictive. The only challenge is that once in a website, a filter will not work. For example, if I allow YouTube, I can't restrict which videos he watches. Lifehacker posted with an application called "Kideo" that helps make YouTube safer. There are also other applications for restricting YouTube access.

3. Online security controls are available at the operating system level. Here is a link to information about Microsoft Windows and Apple Safari browser controls. The Mozilla Firefox website has information on Firefox browser controls. Websites like MACWorld and also publish information about safe web surfing.

4. Laptop Magazine has reviews on Security software and How-to's.

5. Common Sense Media has website reviews to locate the right websites for kids. Disney Family Fun website posted with the pledge that kids should take, and some other relevant websites for information on safe web surfing: America Links Up , Cyberangels , Family Guide Book, GetNetWise, SafeKids, SmartParent and Web Wise Kids.

Continue reading "Is There Any Such Thing As "Safe Web Surfing" for Kids?" »

October 05, 2009

FTC Guidelines Are Out: FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

Following CNN has helped me stay on top of news, and this morning it was from KuhnCNN - Eric Kuhn's tweet about FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials  that let me know they came out this morning.

Update 3pm pst: Eric Kuhn also posted on the CNN Political Ticker website about the FTC guidelines. There are numerous other articles popping up including on the New York Times (which mentions fellow blogger Linsey Krolik). 

Here is a link to the press release on the FTC website: FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials . Here is a link to the PDF Text of the Federal Register Notice for FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials.

For background here are some posts written when it was first announced the guidelines would be coming. I wrote a post on TechMamas.com about blogger relations to marketers: It's Not About The Review, It's About The Relationship & Relevance . Eric Kuhn wrote a post on the CNN blog titled "'Mommy bloggers' vow to avoid ethical conflicts". Susan Getgood from Marketing Roadmaps posted before the guidelines came out, with good points on what bloggers should do and Linsey Krolik shared her thoughts on social media law and mommy bloggers liability on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog. There have also been multiple other articles, including this one in the New York Times.

The hot question of today is: What do the FTC Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials  mean for bloggers? As I read the legal jargon of the guidelines the first people I turned to are the gals from BlogWithIntegrity.com. We are all still reading the guidelines and am sure there will be many posts. Here are some of what I think are the key items in the PDF Text of the Federal Register Notice for FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials (understanding that I am still reading through them myself).

I am going to insert parts of the guidelines to help identify key points (assuming that I can publish those parts under the fair use guidelines - but if not - happy to take it down). It is important to read the full PDF Text of the Federal Register Notice for FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials to understand the "whole" picture:

The clips below are excerpts from the PDF Text of the Federal Register Notice for FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

Overall:

"the other commenter noted that the Guides should not “inadvertently regulate everyday word-of-mouth communications among actual consumers regardless of whether such communications take place in person, via e-mail or in new mediums such as blogs or social networking Web sites.”

"This commenter stated that even if consumers participate in advertising sampling programs, their online comments about a particular product should not be considered commercial speech and these consumers should not be deemed “endorsers” when they are free to say whatever they want about the product (or not say anything at all) without the advertiser having any control over their statements."

Whether a speaker is considered "sponsored"?

..."if the speaker was essentially “sponsored” by the advertiser....circumstances that will determine the answer to this question are extremely varied and cannot be fully enumerated here, but would include: whether the speaker is compensated by the advertiser or its agent; whether the product or service in question was provided for free by the advertiser; the terms of any agreement; the length of the relationship; the previous receipt of products or services from the same or similar advertisers, or the likelihood of future receipt of such products or services; and the value of the items or services received. An advertiser’s lack of control over the specific statement made via these new forms of consumer-generated media would not automatically disqualify that statement from being deemed an “endorsement” within the meaning of the Guides. Again, the issue is whether the consumer-generated statement can be considered “sponsored."

Whether the speaker is considered to be providing an "endorsement"?

"The comments correctly point out that the recent development of a variety of consumer generated media poses new questions about how to distinguish between communications that are considered “endorsements” within the meaning of the Guides and those that are not."

"The Commission does not believe that all uses of new consumer-generated media to discuss product attributes or consumer experiences should be deemed “endorsements” within the meaning of the Guides. Rather, in analyzing statements made via these new media, the fundamental question is whether, viewed objectively, the relationship between the advertiser and the speaker is such that the speaker’s statement can be considered “sponsored” by the advertiser and therefore an “advertising message.” In other words, in disseminating positive statements about a product or service, is the speaker: (1) acting solely independently, in which case there is no endorsement, or (2) acting on behalf of the advertiser or its agent, such that the speaker’s statement is an “endorsement” that is part of an overall marketing campaign?"

”Thus, a consumer who purchases a product with his or her own money and praises it on a
personal blog or on an electronic message board will not be deemed to be providing an
endorsement..."

"In contrast, postings by a blogger who is paid to speak about an advertiser’s product will be covered by the Guides, regardless of whether the blogger is paid directly by the marketer itself or by a third party on behalf of the marketer."

"For example, a blogger could receive merchandise from a marketer with a request to review it, but with no compensation paid other than the value of the product itself. In

this situation, whether or not any positive statement the blogger posts would be deemed an “endorsement” within the meaning of the Guides would depend on, among other things, the value of that product, and on whether the blogger routinely receives such requests. If that blogger frequently receives products from manufacturers because he or she is known to have wide readership within a particular demographic group that is the manufacturers’ target market, the blogger’s statements are likely to be deemed to be “endorsements,” as are postings by participants in network marketing programs. Similarly, consumers who join word of mouth marketing programs that periodically provide them products to review publicly (as opposed to simply giving feedback to the advertiser) will also likely be viewed as giving sponsored messages."

BLOGOSPHERE: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS MEANS? WILL YOU BE DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? Please comment with your thoughts.

I will just keep on disclosing. As I have more time to read through the document, I will add my own thoughts...

Disclosure: This is not a paid post, that is unless the FTC starts paying bloggers - which they would never of course. This is a reaction I had to turning on my computer this morning and seeing the chatter all over Twitter about the FTC guidelines and trying to understand them myself. Hope I disclosed that correctly.

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