46 posts categorized "Blogging"

March 22, 2010

Moms Gone Wired Article in Dallas Observer News

This morning I saw a tweet with the name "Moms Gone Wired". At first I did not see the link to the article, but then a Twitter buddy of mine (Bonggamom) pointed that out that the article mentioned TechMamas.com along with other blogs written by moms.

The article titled "Moms Gone Wired: One Woman's Journey Through the Mommy Blogosphere to Gain Parental Prowess and Free Stuff" is written by Alice Laussade. While the term "free stuff" in the title misses the point (of my journey at least) - it is great to see coverage of the journey many moms have made through blogging. My journey to create TechMamas.com was to have a place that I could start a discussion on parenting, technology and gadgets. My technical background before becoming a parent helped me see that the "tech - mom " voice was missing from online discussions. But that was 2005 and blogging was just starting to catch on. Now I am proud to say that in 2010 that there are many moms that are now utilizing blogs to re-create their careers and get their voices heard online. Just looking at my about page and to the network of amazing moms I have met through Silicon Valley Moms Group, BlogHer and other social media (reflected on my many Twitter lists created to keep track of them) has made my journey completely worthwhile.

Even if I had to give up the small amount of free time a busy mom of three boys has - including exercising regularly - and became dependent on the second shift after the kids go to sleep to keep up with everything.

My participation in blogging and social media has opened up career opportunities for me in a way that is flexible with my schedule as a mom. The key for me is that I am passionate about the topics I cover (parenting, technology, gadgets, social media). I am passionate enough that it has been fun and interesting keeping up with my blog reading through my RSS feeds and Alltop, Twitter, Facebook and organizing my info on Pearltrees. "Free stuff" is worthless to me;  relationships, networking and information are important to me.

Yes, sharing information for the good of the people - that is what Dooce, I and the other not so secret sect of power moms do with our blogging...I type that with a bwa-ha-ha-ha" Dr. Evil laugh similar to what Dooce responded when asked in the article "if she plans to use her powerful power mom powers for good or for evil".

I also type this while realizing if I don't head out the door in the next 5 minutes I will miss yet another opportunity to exercise because I just "had to" write a blog post. If I am going to be a super hero power mom I need to keep in shape. But I need to do that while making sure I pick up my kids at carpool time. Can I meet that challenge?

March 18, 2010

Organizing Online Content With Pearltrees

Traveling-geeks-beth-blecherman While on the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris, we had the opportunity to meetup with a French company called Pearltrees. This was our first stop on what was a busy day meeting an exciting group of French companies. Beyond hearing about the companies, I was just happy that I made it on and off the Paris Metro without losing my ticket.

Pearltrees is a collaborative way to share interests online. I was intrigued by the concept of a new way to organize (in real time) my content and find additional content online. I also appreciated the visual nature of Pearltrees, each unique content link is considered a "pearl" while groupings of pearls are "pearltrees". I even imagined using Pearltrees to organize the links I share on Twitter and my other social network platforms, to bring life to archived posts on my blogs that have related topics, find new content and organize interesting conversations that take place online. To better understand the functionality, I started using Pearltrees.

Here's the process I followed to explore Pearltrees:

While on the Traveling Geeks trip I decided to use Pearltrees to organize some of the posts about our trip to Paris (I plan to add more):

 TravelingGeeks 

After returning to California, I went back to my Pearltree to find a picture to use on my post of the Traveling Geeks group meeting. I revisted that Pearltree to find more pictures for this post.

 Traveling Geeks Paris 09 - a set on Flickr 

Not finding the pictures I wanted in my own Flickr set, I then searched Pearltrees for more Traveling Geeks content and found Pearltree stories in English. From that, I found fellow Traveling Geek Olivier Ezratty's Picasso albums. 

 Some photos... 

I could of also found that Pearltree via a Google search for Traveling Geeks. Here are the results when I performed a Google Search on "Traveling Geeks Pearltrees":

"Traveling geeks !!!! by PED - Pearltrees
PED created the pearltree Traveling geeks !!!!. Check out: Pearltrees Beta Launches on Wednesday: Will Let You Archive the // down the avenue: Pearltrees: A ...
www.pearltrees.com/PED/1501612/ - Cached"

I checked those albums and found these pictures of the Traveling Geeks meetup with Pearltrees.

Pearltrees_travelinggeeks

The Traveling Geeks getting ready for the briefing.

 Pearltree_2

The briefing started with an explanation of how Pearltrees works from Patrice Lamothe.

 Pearltree_3

The Pearltree team and one their workspaces. 

Pearltrees meeting pictures photo credits: Olivier Ezratty . Picture of Paris Metro photo credit Beth Blecherman.       

My next step will be to create some posts with tips on what I have learned about Pearltrees. More to come..

Disclosure: I met the Pearltees team while on the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris/LeWeb where I first started using Pearltrees. Disclosures about the Traveling Geeks can found here. After using Pearltrees, I wanted to learn more so I spent some time using it. Recently I started advising Pearltrees.  What I blog about are my own opinions.

November 17, 2009

Who Says You Can't Be a Geek, Mom, Blogger & Athlete?

Send Me to the Vancouver Winter Games!As TechMama's compatriot blogger and co-mom-geek, Beth invited me to blog here all about how I'm a semi-finalist in this awesome contest sponsored by Microsoft Office to win a trip to the Olympics. Needless to say, I'm really psyched.

It actually doesn't end there - the grand prize includes a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show and a brand new laptop! You know I'll be blogging about that too. But to win, I need votes. As many votes as possible. Every day. It's easy to register and vote. Just go to OfficeWinterGames.com and I'm the last one on the list of women bloggers.

I first laced up ice skates at age five, and my parents tell me that the look on my face told them I was hooked. I never had Olympic aspirations - I knew I didn’t have that kind of talent - but I also never lost my love for skating. I kept at it, even after college, and I’m proud to say I’m a national adult figure skating medalist. Meanwhile, I started using PCs in grade school, became a programmer, sysadmin and tech project manager and began writing about tech in the 90’s, usually using MS Word. I began blogging in 2003. I've been called an expert live blogger and tweeter on many occasions covering a wide range of events and topics. I started blogging about figure skating for BlogHer last year, and it's been a lot of fun.

While I have never been able to attend an Olympics, I have watched every moment of Olympic figure skating since I can remember, and I’ve sat on the edge of my seat for hockey, speed skating and skiing as well. I will blog my tail off up hill both ways in the Canadian snow for Microsoft Office if I win this contest. Please help me get there!

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 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.

September 20, 2009

TechMama hits the Red carpet for MUST SEE movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy_with_a_chance_of_meatballs When I found out that Sony invited a group of moms to LA to get photo/video tips while using Sony Digital Imaging products, I was very excited to use the Sony cameras and camcorders. I was also told that we were going to the premiere of the new Sony Pictures 3D movie came out THIS WEEKEND: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"

I enjoyed reading the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book to my children when they were younger, and spent the week before the trip asking my sons and their friends what they liked most about the book. They all remembered numerous vivid details in the book, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The images of falling food was obviously so rich for these kids’ imaginations. Lucky for them, and for parents who like to sneak in some hidden learning with the nighttime “read me a story” request, there are also weather-related Language Arts and Science lessons tied into the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book and movie. Scholastic published an interview with the book authors Ron and Judith Barnett.

After seeing the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" at the premiere (See disclosures at bottom of this post) last weekend - I had a MAJOR epiphany. The movie not only has amazing 3D graphics and animation to give viewers a "real taste" (yes, pun fully intended) of what it is like to experience falling hamburgers, a spaghetti tornado, a Jello palace, candy rainbows and other food fun - but it also has positive messages for kids and adults alike and geek surprises along the way. One geek surprise in the film that is also on the Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs website is a poster of Nikola Tesla, who was a real life inventor and electrical/ mechanical engineer. Next time I see the film, I will be looking to find more surprises. The movie is one of those feel good movies where the only violence is against gummie bears, geek (including science and math) is cool for boys and girls, the main characters all struggle then improve communication to their loved ones, selfish is NOT cool and the most important things in life are family/loved ones, as well as embracing your true self

On a personal note, I reached an epiphany with the help of the "story" behind the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and the interviews with the Directors and cast. My ten year old son is bright and like many of his peers inspired more the technology of movies and movie making than by his 5th grade homework. He can figure out the intricate features of my and my friends’ digital cameras faster than any adult. This inquisitive 10 year likes to spend time explaining to my 6 year old twins - while they are watching shows or films -  what is real versus what is computer generated and how it is done. One of the first things he did when he received his new MACbook was to play with iMovie, create green-screen movies and then attempt to explain the whole process to his family and friends. "Look mom, I figured out how to use the green screen function". To that, I said "Later, I am cooking dinner". One morning while I was asleep my son found my DSLR camera tripod and figured out how to use it for the his digital camera to take videos with the timer function. The first thing he said to me that morning was "the video quality is much better when I use a tripod".

Then, I attended the movie premier and witnessed the main characters of the film "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) struggle to embrace their true self. Flint's father also struggled to support that journey. Another message in the movie was that math and science, along with other fundamentals, are important to master if you are going to "save the world". This helped me see that I should be more active in supporting my son's interest in the production side of video/films. I decided to hand over one of my camcorders and a memory card to my son so that he could take and manage his own videos. I set aside time this past week to discuss how to edit videos and tied in the less-exciting school work part of his life by explaining that he needs to do his homework if he wants to go to a college and study filmaking. Best of all I explained to my son that if he is going to save the world, I mean master the art of filmaking, that mastering math, science and language arts now in school will help give him the fundamentals he will need for future success. 

I then used Twitter to share my epiphany with the film's directors, Phil Lord responded with:

Cloudywithachanceofmeatballs

The Writing/Directing team for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is Phil Lord and Chris Miller. We had the chance to interview both of them during press rounds the day before the premiere. The first thing I learned was not a big surprise: when they were younger, both enjoyed writing plays and creating short films. They met in college and realized they have similar interests. During the interview they were funny, completely engaging and witty as they explained that the movie production was a team effort - with over 500 team members (or "cells" in an organism as they called it). Each day on the set was like a food fight as they had to build each part of how food falls into the overall animation. When asked what hints Phil Lord and Chris Miller would give to kids, a few were "math/science is cool", "school is important", "Be comfortable with who you are", "Embrace your inner wierdo/geek", "Do something original and do it boldly". The last hint "Do something original and do it boldly" is what resonates for me as a way to describe the effort behind creating the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs".

The RED CARPET PREMIERE

Techmamas_red_carpet

Armed with a Sony A330 DSLR camera that we each had use of for the weekend and my smartphone (for live Twittering) I and the other moms each had our own spot on the red carpet to catch the action. We loaded our pictures to the Flickr group Sony Mom Event 2009.

Continue reading "TechMama hits the Red carpet for MUST SEE movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs " »

July 16, 2009

It's Not About The Review, It's About The Relationship & Relevance

I have been trying my best to stay out of the discussion about parent bloggers and reviews because I feel many are missing the point. Susan Getgood (who "gets it" ) wrote a great piece that provides background and perspective: "The FTC is NOT gunning for mom bloggers".

I know many smart and talented moms and dads are sharing their opinions online. Not expert, rocket scientist years of research - but opinion. And that is why I started reading blogs - to read opinions online.

Some are accepting products for review and then sharing their opinions of the product. I have accepted products in many different variations (consignment, review, product samples) to enable me to use different types of technology to share with my readers. I do agree that disclosure is key.

So what about bloggers accepting products?

I am not going to make any sweeping statements, but I read many blogger reviews and use my own vetting to decide whether I find their opinions valuable or not. I can tell when someone is not being genuine, and if so - I don't read the post.

I don't accept advertising on TechMamas (at this time) but I have started accepting sponsorships which I will enclose when I post. Sponsorships enable me to attend conferences and buy equipment I need for blogging. I don't (and will never) do paid posts, when I accept products the agreement is that I will only post what I want to - if it is relevant for my readership.

When I started blogging, I had had left my career (and a salary!) in consulting to enable me to spend more time with my kids. My main inspiration to start Techmamas.com was to have a platform to discuss parenting and technology - and access to information about family technology I could share with my readers.  Accepting technical products for review enables me to use it as a mother and with my family (if relevant). 

As Caroline McCarthy mentioned in her CNET post "Do Mommy bloggers need to grow up":

Continue reading "It's Not About The Review, It's About The Relationship & Relevance" »

July 03, 2009

Canada Moms Blog Road Trip

We are excited that Catherine Conner and Katie York, from Silicon Valley Moms Groups Canada Moms Blog have taken off on a road trip across Canada. I am enjoying following them on their adventures!

Shout out to the Sponsors: GM, Fairmont Hotels and BTrendie.

June 15, 2009

Blogger Adventure On the USS Nimitz: Social Media At Sea

06 Last year Guy Kawasaki visited the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and hatched a plan with Dennis Hall and Bill Reichert to bring a group of bloggers on a embark the following year. As a result, a group of bloggers was chosen for that mission. I was thrilled to receive the official invite from Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown, Public Affairs Director for the Commander - Naval Air Forces - Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC) to be part of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) Embark May 29-30.

BLOG HAS MOVED TO NEW WEBSITE - TO FINISH READING THIS POST PLEASE CLICK HERE TO THE NEW TECHMAMAS.COM.

May 16, 2009

TechMama Joins The Bloggers Embark To The USS Nimitz

I was thrilled to be invited by Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown, Public Affairs Director for the Commander - Naval Air Forces - Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC) to be part of a Blogger Embark aboard the USS Nimitz later this month. We'll be flying to and from the Nimitz on a Navy C-2 Greyhound (twin-turboprop Navy Transport) where we will witness Navy and Marine Corps life at sea.

Here is the list of Blogger Embarkees: Charlene Li , Jennifer Leo, Jenny Lawson, Pamela Slim, Jennifer Van Grove, Jennifer Jones, Guy Kawasaki , Bill ReichertJefferson Wagner a.k.a. Zuma Jay, Robert ScobleAndy Sernovitz, Andrew Nystrom , Dennis Hall, Captain (Mr.) Carroll LeFon, USN (ret.), Chris Pirillo, and I (Beth Blecherman).

Guy Kawasaki, Dennis Hall, Bill Reichert Bloggers' Embark meeting 10-08-08Guy Kawasaki is the lead Blogger for our first visit, his second. He had the opportunity to visit the USS John C. Stennis last year. His post, " 26 Hours at Sea: The Longest Posting in the History of Blogging", describes his adventure. The picture on the left is at Garage Ventures when the idea for this Blogger's Embark was hatched (Guy Kawasaki on left, pictured with Dennis Hall and Bill Reichert). 

F-18 Hornets pitch-out

Dennis Hall provided some information on what we will see: "Here is a shot of a scene you will see typically during your embark. It shows F-18 Hornet fighter jets arriving for landings or 'traps' in formation and individually pitching out for their descent to the flightdeck. The Navy Blue Angels fly F-18s."

Here is a subset of the group that could make an early evening meetup in Silicon Valley to discuss the Embark:

Bloggers' Embark icebreaker - Dennis Hall, Beth Blecherman, Jennifer Jones, Robert Scoble, Charlene Li 

Pictured left to right: Dennis Hall, Beth Blecherman, Jennifer Jones, Robert Scoble, Charlene Li

Continue reading "TechMama Joins The Bloggers Embark To The USS Nimitz " »

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