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blogger

shark week, PMS, living authentically online, Domain .ME, blogging, digital influencer, writer, blogger

Disclosure: This post about living authentically online was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Whenever I am asked by digital influencers new to the space or get emails from people contemplating starting a blog or becoming a digital influencer, my first word of advice is to be true to yourself; be authentic in the version of you that you present to the world. The bottom line is that there is only one you and that is what makes each person’s voice online special. Why even try to be someone else? Imitation is not flattering and you are almost always guaranteed to fail at trying to be someone else.

Of course, it is hard to be yourself in life and even harder in the digital space these days. I speak from experience. In fact, just this week, two separate posts landed me in hot water. I spoke my truth, my opinion on what turned out to be a very controversial subject and then, I had to put on my big girl panties and live with the consequences. After all, if you chose to live your life openly and authentically online there will be repercussions, at some point.

Still, I choose to be who I am, flaws and all. Sometimes I rush to snappy judgements or let my emotions guide my writing. This is not always a good thing. There is authentic, then there is too much information and that’s what happens a lot of the time with me and the fact that I lack a filter. People who know me can be forgiving of a rash jump to a conclusion or one time lapse in judgement, the general public who don’t know by by anything other than one singular loud, opinionated post are not usually so forgiving.

In one way, it’s awesome because if you follow me on social media and my blog you know the “real” me but at other times, when I make snap judgements or speak out before I know all the facts, it’s bad because I’ve already put that bad first impression out into the world. I think, it’s only one bad choice but to someone who doesn’t know me, I am just that one bad choice. I think it’s best to find middle ground.

Here are my tips to living authentically online:

Be yourself.

Don’t over edit yourself and write in the way that you speak. No one’s life is sunshine and rainbows all the tie and no one speaks like Shakespeare in real life.

Be honest but hold the nasty.

Put your real thoughts out there. You are allowed to have an opinion. My only word of advice is if it is a heated topic, go ahead and write it out. Mull it over. Come back to it in a few hours and then hit publish if that’s still what you want to say. Believe me, this is the thing I still struggle with.

Develop a thick skin.

If you decide that you want your brand to be all in your face, all the time, then be prepared for backlash. Someday, some time on some topic, someone will disagree with you. In fact, you may just have the most unpopular opinion out there and when you do, the public will let you know. They can be cutting with their words and sometimes they even go for the jugular by attacking not only you personally but your family, thoughts and beliefs. My advice, if you choose to be 100% authentic all the time be prepared for this and either let it roll off your back (easier said than done) or don’t read the comments.

Be a Big Girl.

If you still decide to put your views online to be scrutinized (and they will be) be a grown up. If someone calls you ugly and stupid (and at times much worse) for having a contrary opinion, the best response is not to hurl insults back at them. Be a professional. If you can’t respond civilly, then walk away from the conversation. I don’t like to delete comments because I feel like if I put a topic up for debate, it is my reader’s rights to be heard too. However, sometimes reading the comments can become so consuming and overwhelming that I just have to not read them anymore. I am a professional, this is my job but I’m also a human and, not going to lie, sometimes my feelings suffer collateral damage as a result of my opinions and choice to live authentically online.

Last but not least, don’t take it personally.

I know this bit sounds crazy because, after all, if you are living online authentically, it is all very personal for you. When people attack your opinions, your choices, your beliefs it definitely feels personal but remember this, they’ve never actually met you. They don’t know you. They are disagreeing with your stance on a topic, not you the person even though it usually feels like they are. This is a very important thing to remember always.

These are my tips for staying authentic online. There is an understanding of culpability when you live your life online. You have a venue to broadcast your words and thoughts to people all over the world, so even when you are being authentic you should still consider the effect your words can have on those around you. There are ripples to every action we do in the world and online is no exception. Be yourself, but be responsible. Obviously, this too is something I still struggle with but I’ve come to a point where when I make mistakes, I am adult enough to admit it and say sorry if need be.

Living authentically online doesn’t mean you have a license to be mean, judgmental or bully others. It means you have a responsibility to be true to yourself while being watched by the world. So be yourself but remember you are a part of something much larger than just your thoughts from behind a computer screen.

A fun way to let people know who you are and what you’re about from the very beginning is to obtain a .ME domain name as the perfect way to stay authentic online. For example, if you are a homeschooling mama from the south how about SouthernHomeschoolingMama.Me. See it’s fun and it lets the world know what you’re about before they even click into your site.

If you are living authentically online what would your perfect .ME domain name be?

living authentically online, Domain .ME, blogging, digital influencer, writer, blogger

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authenticity online, authentic online, real me, mommy blogger, blogger,mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

Disclosure: This post about authenticity online was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I started this blog, The TRUTH about Motherhood, I was known to the Internet as Truthful Mommy. I picked this pseudonym because I planned to bust every parenting myth that ever existed and I was a little leery about putting my face to my truth. I didn’t plan on being the poster child for authenticity online but I had every intention of being the real me.

I wanted to be the voice of the “regular” mom but I wasn’t sure that I was a “regular” mom because I felt like I was doing it so wrong. I didn’t think I was special in anything but my inadequacy. I just wanted to have an open and honest dialogue with other moms online or offline about the ups and downs of motherhood and life. I exist beyond just being a “mommy blogger” on the internet. I am a real person and people need other people. This isn’t just my job, it’s my life. I just wanted a place where I could be my own authentic self.

When I had my first daughter, suddenly, I found myself overwhelmed and completely out of my depth as a parent and as a human being. Every other mom I met made everything look so effortless and they weren’t telling me otherwise. I felt like the ultimate failure. I had so many questions.

Why was my 9-month old crawling backwards? Why couldn’t I ever make the arm to bed transition? Were my kids going to co-sleep until they left for college? Did no one else’s 2-year-old drop the F bomb? Why wouldn’t my toddler eat anything other than damn chicken nuggets? Why was I making all the wrong parenting choices when everyone else was making the right ones? Was I born missing the mom gene?

All the other moms looked so put together at Kinder Music and the Little Gym and I looked like death warmed over.  Motherhood looked effortless on them; like those 18-year-olds who just wake up and look gorgeous. Those were the days before Zombies were all the rage but I’m pretty positive I was the original Mombie. I was perpetually exhausted and about as far away from perfect as I could get. I mean, I was a nice person, trying my best but my best just felt like it fell short.

Then I “really” got to know the other moms and I realized those broads were just as exhausted and out of their depth as I was but they had something called dry shampoo and they never told me about their mommy woes because they were afraid I was going to think less of them. ME? The woman who hadn’t slept in 2 years. The woman who only wore pony tails and makeup she could put on in 2 minutes or less because little people needed every bit of my attention. That’s when I knew, I had to tell the truth for all of our sakes. So I did and it was glorious.

I had to be honest to have authenticity online or it was pointless.

To be fair, I’ve never been much of a liar anyways and my poker face is completely nonexistent so it’s not like I really had a choice but I chose to be the voice of honesty, not necessarily reason, on the internet and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 7 years. I hope I’ve helped a few people along the way. If comments and private messages are any indication, I’ve had my moments of truth that have landed on desperate ears that needed to know they weren’t alone. That alone was worth bearing my soul naked on the Internet.

I can’t imagine not being my authentic me online or anywhere else in my life. I don’t have the time or desire to be anyone else. I’m definitely rough around the edges, I’ve been known to curse on occasion, and I don’t always say the right thing but who I am online is who I am in person. In fact, the best compliment I’ve ever received has been when meeting readers in real life and having them say that I am exactly who I am online.

I am fully aware that there are times when I overshare and maybe should keep some things to myself. There are times when I hit the publish button and it terrifies me to think what a reader half way across that world might think of me; after all, my skeletons are not hiding neatly in some closet, they are right here for anyone with Google to read. But I can’t over censor myself and pretend that my life is all rainbows and sunshine all the time because it’s not. Sometimes it is but sometimes it’s really shitty; so I share it all here.

For me, being authentic online is the only way that I know how to be. Life is too short to spend all of my time trying to create some fake perfect virtual world that only serves to make others feel bad about what they’re doing. I refuse to be part of the problem. This is me and if you’ve ever read this blog, you know that I’m not perfect but at least with me, you know what you’re getting.

How do you stay true to yourself in life?

What is your definition of authenticity online?

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blogger, blogging, midlife crisis

I’m Debi and I’m an old school blogger. I started blogging 6 years ago ( well, it will be on May 7th). I’ve seen blogging change a lot.

I’ve noticed a definite trend in blogging lately.I’m seeing blogger “midlife” (of the blog) crisis happening almost daily. Everything that is old is new again. Or at least this is what I’ve seen happening; quit blogging, start a new blog and then make a come back….when you never really left. I’m kind of missing the days of self contrived press releases about being lost in the dessert and rescued by your childhood boy scout leader.

I guess “quitting blogging” is a euphemism for “2 week hiatus” and “new blog” is what’s “on trend” these days. I’m not making light of the desire to quit blogging or feeling like you have stayed past your expiration date, the struggle is real, y’all. And of course it’s easier to start a shiny new blog than to try to restore the old one. That’s expensive and a lot of work.

Hell, I understand wanting a do over. Man, I started my blog way back before I knew bupkis about SEO. When I started blogging, I had one objective and that was to write. I wanted to share my stories with other moms so they knew they weren’t alone in this craziness that is motherhood (because, it is CRAZYTown all the way.)

blogger, blogging, midlife crisis

Then I made friends and built a community because I loved what I was doing. I was making connections by being me. Sure my photos were not professional caliber and I didn’t know shit about what sizes to use and this was way before Instagram, Vine or Pinterest existed.

It was me blogging alone at night after the babies went to sleep and in between constant wakings. Co-sleeping was simultaneously awesome and killing me( especially the random head-butts it the middle of the night). I didn’t sleep a lot in those days but I craved the human interaction that blogging brought into my solitude life of new motherhood. You guys kept me company for two entire years while my husband lived out of state for work. You ladies (and gentlemen) saved my sanity and probably my life. YOU made it all tolerable and I survived.

Back then, I used Twitter like a phone and those 140 characters were my battle cry to whoever would listen. It was my mom 911. I made so many amazing connections; personal and business. There were no concerns of tweeting out links. Hell, I never even considered it. That was absolutely shitting where you ate. I would never text my IRL friends my links 3x plus a day and I would certainly never talk over their tweets or hijack their hashtags for my own benefit. In my defense, I’m not an asshole nor did I know what the heck a hashtag was.

Facebook was for sharing my posts, if I remembered but mostly it was for connecting to my readers. It wasn’t me virtually shouting ,”Look at me! Read what I wrote! Validate me!” It was, “Hey, so-and-so did the baby sleep through the night? How is the potty training going? Hey, you, if you need me, I’m here!” It was fun. It meant something. It was something I looked forward to. It was definitely not bugging strangers to play Farm games, JAMBERRY and poking people. HOW RUDE! I took social media and applied all the rules of real life to it and it was a beautiful thing. It worked.

People commented. We had conversations. I commented. I cared. You cared. We were invested.I craved to know their stories; their real stories. They felt safe enough to say something more than, “True.” I devoured the struggles and the triumphs. When I commented, I felt that it meant something to the person on the receiving end other than just traffic. It felt like community and friendship.

Then money came into it. Money is good and getting paid to do what you love is probably the best job that you can get. For a long time, I was naïve. I still didn’t notice traffic like I should. Hell, I didn’t even know how to check my traffic until Jessica told me to put Statcounter on my site. I had Google Analytics but I had no idea how to use it.

Then more money came and more jobs! Oh the writing jobs. I couldn’t turn any down. I just couldn’t believe someone would pay me to do this. I got to stay home with my girls, write about it and get paid. What??????

More jobs came. Then traffic goals became a thing. My free time was no longer free and soon, I felt like in order to be a good blogger I was becoming a shitty mom and that brought guilt. I decided I couldn’t live with myself in that state. My priority is to be the best mom I can be to my girls and wife to my husband but I want to be fulfilled personally too and it shouldn’t all have to be exclusive. I want to be happy.

By this point, I depend on my money. More money, more problems and all that shite. I found myself having less and less time for conversations and engagement. I started scheduling social and realizing that all of those amazing women that had gotten me through the lean years began to fall through the cracks. I still craved the conversations, the connections; the friendship. I missed every single one of you.

Then I became one of those assholes who checked her numbers constantly. I tweeted links a lot. I shared links on Facebook, Instagram and Google+. I pinned my posts and shared to Tumbler and even Linkedin on occasion. To be fair, I’ve always shared other people’s stuff too but I just didn’t get to read and comment like I wanted to. I shared it so that I could come back to it. My intentions were good.

I was writing everywhere and I began to feel like the Truthful Mommy train was over saturating the market. I’m sure you all got sick of me and I know that you knew that you could find me anywhere so why bother coming to read me on my actual website. It was too much.

I lost touch with many of you because I had so many deadlines and not enough hours in the day. It wasn’t fun anymore, it was a job. I was working really hard to build something but I’m not quite sure what it was that I was trying to build. I lost myself in the middle of my journey.

I’m not quitting my blog to reinvent myself. I’m addicted. I’ve been doing some face-lifting. Last fall, I changed the website. It’s not The TRUTH about Motherhood anymore…it is now simply just The TRUTH (because it’s not been just about motherhood for a very long time) I’ve learned that I need to organize so that I can actually spend quality time really engaging again. I’ve realized there is no shame in admitting that my blog needs some work done under the hood. I also know that some things are worth the price, this is one of them.

I’m going to pass on the Blogger Midlife crisis. I like my husband a lot, I need to give my girls more of my time this summer and I want to keep focusing on my health journey. I want to get back to writing because I love it. I want to have conversations with you. I want to surround myself with my tribe and I want us to grow together. I want my posts to be to the point where sometimes you’ll read 1355 word post and not mind because it meant something. I want us all to get lost in our stories. Who’s with me?

Disclosure: SEO was not considered once while writing this post. This post will never go viral because people don’t share like they used to. I don’t care because I enjoyed “talking” to you this morning. Let’s do it again soon.

 

 

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GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list

Can you believe it’s already almost Halloween? This weekend, we’re doing the city’s zombie walk at the girl’s request (because we are the coolest parents ever) and then it’s hay rides and pumpkin carving at the neighborhood fall festival. Before too long, I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Christmas??? I’m still dreaming of beaches and water parks! Where did summer go?

Every year, I know that I am going to get lost in all of our “obligations” that I purposely focus even harder on making sure the girls remember baking cookies with grandma, making fudge with daddy, singing carols and just a general feeling of warmth rather than the chaos. I try to make each holiday season fondly memorable even if that just means the four of us preparing brunch and watching Christmas vacation together. What I inevitably forget to do every year is give my family a list of what I’d like for Christmas.

Sure, I can say that all I really want is my family to be healthy, happy and together and that is true but of course, there are things that I would like but who ever has time to make a list. It feels so unimportant amongst everything else but really, it would be nice to actually get something that I’ve wanted. The thing with moms is that we are so busy taking care of others that we often forget to take care of ourselves and while we’ll bend over backwards to make our family happy, we just never seem to take the time to do the same for ourselves.

GoPro Hero4Black, GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list

Not this year. This year, I am not only making a list. I am making a pin board of all the stuff I’d be thrilled to have and a lot of it is tech toys like the GoPro HERO4 Black, an iPhone 6 Plus, a conference ticket or two and a few other tasty treats to kick my blog up a notch.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4Black

 

GoPro has unveiled its new line of action cameras at Best Buy stores, just in time for the holidays. Best Buy will also have the latest accessories and mounts to help you capture immersive footage of the moments that matter most like skiing in Aspen,  ringing in the  New Year some place warm or maybe spring break at Disney World.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4Black

GoPro cameras make the perfect holiday gift for everyone, my girls would love it to take action video while flipping on the trampoline. I’d love it to take stunning action photos for my blog. GoPro’s new line of cameras allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure, and joy to your life.

GoPro has 3 new cameras out this holiday season:

  • GoPro HERO4 Black is the most advanced GoPro ever, featuring improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates1, HERO4 Black takes award‐winning GoPro performance to a whole new level.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4Silver

  • GoPro HERO4 Silver is the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display. Controlling The camera, playing back footage and adjusting settings is ultra-convenient—just view, tap and swipe the screen. With 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at a staggering 30 frames per second, HERO4 Silver combines powerful, pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4

  • GoPro HERO: Featuring high‐quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video, and 5MP photos up to 5 fps, HERO captures the same immersive footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world.

It has 12x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates. This is action photography at its best. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Well, I’d better get back to sorting my Blogger’s Wish list Pinterest pin board

Learn more at www.bestbuy.com/GoPro or visit your local Best Buy to check out the latest cameras in person.

 

 

I’ve been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card , which I am putting towards buying myself the GoPro HERO4 Black.

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

 

This week’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is my good friend, fellow blogger and mentor, Jessica GottliebI have known Jessica for a few years now. I believe our friendship was sealed over a conversation on Twitter about drinking good wine, in bed, or something like that and we have been friends since. The more I’ve gotten to know her, the more I admire her keen sense of business acumen, her sense of humor and her determination to always put her family first. It’s hard to find a balance doing what we do but she does it and that’s something I’m still working at.
Anyone who knows Jessica knows that she is a straight shooter, loves her family and likes fast cars and pretty things. I love her because she has a giant heart, can use the word f*ck in casual conversation and still sound like a complete lady and always says what’s on her mind, especially if it’s a cause she believes in. I am honored to have her as my friend and here today. So, without further ado…

This Blogger’s Life… Jessica Gottlieb

This Blogger's Life, Jessica Gottlieb, bloggers, blogging,

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging a number of years ago when my friend was dying of AIDS. I was raising my kids during the day and then spending my nights by his side at the hospital. I found that my friends would ask me how I was doing and then I’d burst into tears and start giving them the details of Steven’s demise. I needed an outlet and blogging became a good one for me. https://angrymom.blogspot.com Without that site I’d have lost many friends.

 
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Write honestly. If you don’t have a passion there’s no reason for your readers to care.

 
What are the three words that describe you best?

I’d be scared to think about that.

 
What is your favorite website?

Just one? Everyone loves Suri’s Burn Book right? No one’s supposed to admit to reading GOMI but I have to admit that it tickles me. Also I really enjoy suburbanmatron.blogspot.com

 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

If you can get my husband my kids and me all in the same room I don’t really care what we’re doing. I am happiest when the four of us are together. As for alone time? I like to be in motion. I love tennis, yoga and hiking.

 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging?

I learned that I can be respectful of people who I disagree with. Blogging reveals a lot about people that you might not otherwise learn and I’ve found that I can enjoy parts of people and they can occupy parts of my life without needing to agree with them.

 
How do you balance life and blogging?

I have a social media schedule. I am willing to spend up to three hours a day working on these things and no more. When the time is done, my work is done. No one wants to read about a blogger who sits in front of the computer all day. You have to get out and live. Most days it’s less than an hour but three is my absolute limit.

 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

I don’t know what a successful blog is. Is success a large audience? Maybe financial security? Perhaps success means a book deal? Blogs are like the new MLM and the moment someone tells me they have one I sort of cringe because I’m not sure I want to read it. I’m not sure anyone wants to. Hell, most of the time when people ask me what I do for a living I tell them I’m a housewife. There’s something so inherently narcissistic about blogging that I’m both drawn to it and repelled by it. I can’t define success. I can’t define greatness. I’m not sure anyone can.

 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

They same thing I do now. I’d just have to budget better.

 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

This is where the work comes in. It’s difficult (and worth making the effort) to tell only my story. It’s entirely possible to talk about motherhood without talking about your kids. I’ve had a few slips and annoyed some folks along the way but for the most part no one knows much about my kids, my husband or my extended family. When my kids go to get their first jobs you will not be able to google their names. That’s the balancing act.

 
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?

I don’t know that I feel particularly wistful for anything. Change is good. I love that short content can live on other networks. I just don’t enjoy slideshows, I’d say that’s the only big bummer in blogging right now.

 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

I don’t. An awful lot of my content gets ignored.

 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

My family of four and Sasha and Malia Obama. I want the scoop from those two.

Thank you Jess for being my guest today and always being such a huge supporter of other women & bloggers, and on a more personal level, thanks for always being such an awesome friend and mentor to me. Your writing always makes me think and your fierce attitude has taught me that strong women can do what ever they set their minds to. XOXO

If Jessica  rocks your socks as much as she does mine, check her out at JessicaGottlieb.com and at Word of Mouth Women. but if you really want to have someone interesting to follow and engage with, Jessica Gottlieb is that person on Facebook and , of course, Twitter, where it all began.

 

 

 

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