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How Parents are Using Social Media

One of my favorite things about social media is the influence it has on my real-life world. I built Kidoinfo using social media tools and it has allowed me to meet, connect with and form a community with amazing parents and businesses.

The first Kidoinfo event, Parents Using Social Media, was standing room only at Bravo Brasserie in downtown Providence. Mary-Kim Arnold expertly moderated a lively discussion with our four fabulous parenting panelists: Katy Killilea, Michelle Riggen-Ransom, Erin Barrette Goodman, and TJ Sondermann. TJ swept in at the last minute to replace Alex Taylor who was sick. Alex was missed but TJ was a stellar stand-in. Parents Using Social Media Panel 2010-0209To those who attended, I loved having the opportunity to meet you in person for the first time or reconnecting with familiar faces. Thank you to the sponsors–your support made the event possible. If you missed the event, I hope to see you at the next one. I am including a list of our panelists’ Top 10 Social Media Resources along with links to a few articles recommended by Mary-Kim Arnold. Over 40 people filled out a survey praising the panelists for their fine presentation and asking for more events in the future. Just some of the suggested topics include: how to monitor/protect kids online, juggling work/life balance, and connecting work-at-home parents. Please share your favorite resources, what you liked about the event, and ideas you may have for future events.

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– Read Bio
– Read Meet a Parent Interview

Top 10 Resources
This is an honest list of what I use most often. It goes without saying that Kidoinfo is my primary source for family stuff.

For cooking inspiration
1. 101cookbooks.com–simple good food
2. coconutandquinoa.wordpress.com–to help me work in obscure ingredients
3. wednesdaychef.typepad.com–fun criticism of newspaper food columns
4. smittenkitchen.com–great for baking especially

For chilly nights
5. ibex.com–to envision being swathed in fine merino wool from head to toe

To stay informed
6. nytimes.com–especially the “dining and wine” and “books” parts
7. hulu.com–more and more often we rely on John Stewart for the day’s news (in the case of hulu, it is yesterday’s news)
8. wbez.com–I listen to Chicago Public Radio in the morning. Because of the time difference, it is one hour behind WRNI and allows me to catch more of Morning Edition before the BBC comes on. No offense, BBC.

For music
9. lala.com (will play whatever you want, for free, and not illegally)
10. kcrw.com–this is what pandora would play if pandora understood me

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– Read Bio
– Read Meet a Parent Interview

Top 10 Resources

Social media
1. twitter.com/mriggen
2. facebook.com/mriggen

Parenting (sort of)
3. http://mimismartypants.com/

4. http://mashable.com/
5. http://blog.hubspot.com/
6. http://www.chrisbrogan.com/
7. http://smallbiztrends.com/

8. http://www.poptech.org/blog
9. http://www.etsy.com/
10. http://perezhilton.com/

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– Read Bio
– Read Meet a Parent Interview

Top 10 Resources

1. WordPress – This is the blogging platform I’ve been using for almost two years. (Before that I was on Blogger.) I am very pleased with all that it can do, especially now that I am starting to connect with other WordPress users and learning more about all the various features and plug-ins.
2. Picnik – Free online photo editing. Sort of a Photoshop-light. Lots of fun features! Great for adding special effects or text to your photos and also for making photo collages.
3. Flickr – This is where I upload and store all of the images I use on my blog. I have my account set so that only I can download the full-size version of my image. Visitors to my flickr site only have access to a smaller, lower-resolution version. I highly recommend that all parents who are sharing images of their children and their home online use some kind of photo-editing program to reduce the size of all photos. Otherwise (with most blogging platforms) people can click on the image posted on your blog and get a GIANT version of the photo, which may contain personal details that can present safety concerns (a street sign that shows where you live, your street number on your house or mailbox, your license plate etc.).
4. Feedburner – This allows readers of my blog to receive my posts via e-mail. It also allows me to see how many subscribers I have, when they subscribed, and what their e-mail addresses are.
5. Google Alerts – I use this to filter the news I want so I don’t get bogged down by everything else. I have Google Alerts set for terms like: Family Yoga, Kids’ Yoga, Birth Network, CSA, Farmers Market, etc. This allows me to get a quick look at what’s happening around the world in my specific areas of interest. I also have Google Alerts set for my name, my website URL and my blog name, which lets me know when someone writes about me online or links to my site.
6. Constant Contact — I mainly use Constant Contact to promote my events by sending out e-postcards/invitations. I have also used it successfully to solicit feedback through post-event surveys. I currently do not publish an e-newsletter for myself, but I have designed them for other people/organizations/small businesses.
7. Soule Mama – This is one of my favorite blogs to read. Author Amanda Soule has been blogging for over five years. (I had the pleasure of interviewing her for kidoinfo.com last year!) Even if the content is not your cup of tea, she provides a wonderful model for a beautiful, creative, professional, family-friendly blog.
8. Scott Noelle’s Daily Groove – I’ve been a subscriber to Scott Noelle’s Daily Groove e-mails since our first child was a toddler. I love his format. It is easy for me to gobble up each morning while making my family’s breakfast, but stays with me throughout the day as I digest the power of his pleasure-centered parenting messages.
9. The RI Birth Network – I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to spread the word about this wonderful resource for expectant and new parents in Rhode Island. The Birth Network site has an extensive member directory that allows parents to search for the services and providers they need.
10. Local Harvest — This is a site I frequently link to from my blog. It is a great place to find farmers markets, CSAs, and restaurants that feature local foods. You can also search their events page to find local food and farming-related events in your community or sign up for their “keep me posted” feature and get listings of local events delivered to your in-box.

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– Read Bio
– Read Meet a Parent Interview

– Top 10 Resources

1. Flickr is a huge community of people making images with cameras of all sorts.
2. Moo makes beautiful (mostly paper) things out of your photos.
3. Dropbox is an easy freemium tool to share files (text, photos, whatever) between computers and access them online.
4. Make Magazine is full of inspirational projects.
5. Delicious Bookmarks is a great way to organize bookmarks in a way that is easy to search and share with others.
6. Posterous is a really easy (but powerful) way to start a blog.
7. School Closings seems to be the most direct and clean way to find out what schools are doing about the weather.
8. Providence Daily Dose provides a local news alternative to the Projo.

These two I helped out with:

9. Twalala is a Twitter client is a way to filter out tweets you aren’t interested in.
10. Minivite is a simple way to share information about an event with others.

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– Read Meet a Parent Interview

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– Read Bio


1. Faux Friendships, from The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/Faux-Friendship/49308/
2. The Evolution of Social Technology, from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-bianchini/the-evolution-of-social-t_b_433815.html?view=screen
3. Social Media and Young Adults, from The Pew Center: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx
4. Cross-Generational Dialogues on the Ethics of Digital Life that you can download from the Macarthur Foundation site. (scroll down — midway — pdf) http://digitallearning.macfound.org/site/c.enJLKQNlFiG/b.2029245/k.C6EC/Library.htm

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  • When working with others online, here are some recommended resources to check out from the Women 2.0 Summit:

    File-Sharing: Dropbox
    Document Sharing: Wikis
    WorkGrouping: Campfire
    WhiteBoard Favorite: Dabbleboard