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social media

The Internet, introverts, online, social media

Have you noticed that even though the world has become so connected with the Internet, almost incestuously so, it’s becoming lonelier? Sure social media and the Internet have made it much easier to reach out and touch someone…anyone. The thing is even with being able to connect with millions of people on a daily basis, we are able to experience solitude in a way that we never have before. It’s like being naked in front of the world and no one noticing.

I guess I had never really thought of this until last night when I was watching television and a commercial came on for online university and it shows all the graduates celebrating via Internet in their own homes and my first thought was, “ That’s sad.”

Don’t get me wrong, online has it place. In grad school, I moved before my last semester and luckily the university offered a few remote classrooms which meant that the professor gave us a syllabus, we met once a week remotely via an online classroom and we turned our assignments in weekly via email.  This all sounded very convenient and it was for me because by this time I was a grown up with a full-time job and responsibilities and a marriage. But what about the 18-year-old who decides that it is more convenient and more cost-effective to just stay home and take courses from his mom’s basement? What happens to the “experience” of college? For me, that was the most important part. It is where I metamorphosed from a child to an adult. It’s where I learned who I was, apart from my parents.

Then I started thinking about it and “it” (the slow submersion into solitude and easing into social awkwardness) starts much younger than that these days. I’m not saying that being an introvert is a bad thing. I am just saying that being raised in a cyber world (online k-12, cyber dating, cyber sex, online college, chat rooms, sexting, texting, email, Skyping and Facetime) can make it difficult to live in the real one. We’ve all become so trusting in the Internet but really do we even know whose behind the screen, at all?

The Internet is an introvert enabler.

I get it. This is supposed to be progress but it feels a lot like going backwards. People are unlearning their basic social skills. Kids would rather text the kid next to them than look them in the eye and talk. People are making up and breaking up via texts and emails. School is not the same experience as when you and I were in school. All of those social norms we learn from facing our fears head on and in person can not be learned without pushing through the in person social awkwardness.  People are not interacting with other people anymore. There is a buffer easing into place; the Internet. It’s hard to connect with people with an entire Internet between you.

I know it sounds ironic coming from a grown woman who has made her living and some of her closest friends online in the past 5 years but I think that was all possible because I had already lived in the real world. I attach real world experience to each and every connection but for a kid who was able to bypass all the in real life social situations, I think online takes on a whole new meaning. I think its solitude at its worst. It has taken the humanity out of the equation.

Sure living online is easier; you can be, do, say whatever you want in half the time and without 1/3 of the effort but I prefer the real world. I prefer to face people and talk to them; hear their voices, see their facial expressions and pick-up on their social cues. I like the feeling of initiating a conversation with a complete stranger face-to-face or recognizing the acceptance and love in the face of someone I’ve known forever. I like the satisfaction of pushing through the messy, awkward encounters. There is growth and accomplishment in surviving real life that you just can’t get from living your life online.

It’s only getting worse. The more technology evolves, the faster society declines into solitude. I’m going to be offline more with my family and friends and want to take those very real connections that I have made online and solidify them in real life. So if you see me at a conference, please don’t hesitate to initiate a conversation. I love to talk to people, just ask anyone whose met me. I’ll talk your head off.

I can’t tell you how many people that I have met who I felt a real life connection with online only to meet them in real life and them not say a word to me. The problem is that it’s a lot harder to speak in person to someone who knows your deepest secrets than it is to tell the world those secrets from behind a computer screen. Believe me the first time I realized that the woman I was talking to had read my life story on my blog, I almost swallowed my tongue in fear but I pushed through and she’s one of my favorite people in the world now…who happens to know all of my deepest, darkest secrets.

In many ways the Internet has allowed us to be more open about who we really are but in others, it has stifled us in our real world relationships.  We’ve gotten lax and stopped trying. We’ve made things so “convenient” that we are missing all the good messy stuff of life. I like the messy stuff.

How has your life changed since the Internet?

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baby as art, Sioin Queenie Liao, selfie

Selfies, photos of babies and babies with pets have officially over saturated social media.

I know this post will probably not get me any friends and I am honestly not trying to be an asshole. I am a sucker for a cute baby photo as much as the next person but honestly, is anyone else getting tired of seeing babies (other than their own) sleeping? I currently have over 100,000 photos that I have taken of my girls since they were born. I took them for my own enjoyment. Sure they are adorable but you don’t want to see every photo of my daughters, every moment captured. I mean its babies in baskets, babies with puppies, babies with daddies, babies with other babies and babies as part of art while they sleep. Babies with painted on mustaches, wearing fedoras and roller skates. Gatsby baby sipping an old fashioned and astronaut baby planting a flag on the moon while baby Mike Tyson and baby Evander Holyfield chew on one another’s ears.

When my kids are asleep, especially when they were asleep as babies, there was no way in the world I was going to be using them as props with animals or amidst the backdrop of a cityscape or flying through space or taming a lion or whatever the hell else they are doing these days. Also, where are you guys finding the time?

baby as art, Sioin Queenie Liao, selfie

The more I look at these adorable photos done by Sioin Queenie Liao, I am reconsidering babies as art because OMG, my ovaries are twitching from the cute

Are these only children? Do you have a nanny? Is this your job? When my kids were babies and slept, I let them sleep because an overtired baby or child woken out of a nap before it ran its course was certainly not worth a photo op! My sanity is worth more than a potentially viral photo op. I always let sleeping babies lie.Sure, I think the photos are awesome but I don’t want to see every.single.one. you take. When did this happen? Do we keep nothing for ourselves anymore?

And the selfies? Holy fuck am I sick of the close up, Zoolander faces, #nakedselfies in the shower, at the gym, in the bathroom, in the ER getting stitches, giving birth breastfeeding and ass wiping. Is there nothing sacred anymore? Look I enjoy a good fly on the wall moment as much as everybody else too but suddenly, it’s just too damned much. People, pump your social media brakes. You’re telling us all too much. If a picture’s worth a thousand words than you just told me what a raging douche bag you are, in 15 languages, 67 different ways.

selfies, babies sleeping, babies and pets, photos, social media

Credit: Instagram & Danielle Lloyd

Selfies have their place. We’ve all taken them. Hell, as moms we are the photographers in most cases so, sure, we have to slip a selfie in here and there just to commemorate that we are here. That we lived. That’s fine. I’ve taken selfies. We all need avatar photos for FB and Twitter, etc but for grown ups to be taking selfies every day or in some cases multiple times a day, you might have an addiction. Take as many selfies as you want for your private collection but I don’t think the entire world needs to see you chew your food, kiss your kid’s booboo, your outfit of the hour or how your eye make-up looks and we certainly don’t need to see you in the shower with your baby, your backside or your stomach after eating; those are moments that you should keep and cherish for yourself. Nobody needs to see your post-coital selfie unless you are a hooker for hire.

Looks like just like with food, we all need to learn some social media selfie portion control; everything in moderation my friends. Take as many selfies and kitschy, cute and creative photos of your children and your pets as you like but how about we exercise some self-control and and only upload a chosen few to FB and  Twitter. If you must photo dump to satiate some need to document every image, why not keep it to Instagram?

P.S. NONE of this applies to newborns. Bring on the newborn photos, I can look at them all day:) Just don’t pair them with the family pet or use them as a prop in an elaborate creative purge every hour on the hour.

What are your thoughts of this time we live in of constant selfies, sleeping babies and their exciting lives with their pets?

 

Photo credit: If you can’t get enough of these cute kid photos, check out Sioin Queenie Liao slideshow on Today Moms bit I’ll never budge on selfies.

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online imposters, blogging, plagiarism, safety online

Something bizarre happened this weekend, someone pretended to be me; leaving me to wonder who the real moms online are and who are the online imposters?

This is the first time I’ve ever been aware of anyone doing this where I was involved. Someone pretended to be me online. I don’t mean they copied my posts and swiped my words, it went beyond that. Unfortunately, I have become used to the plagiarism after 5 years of blogging and I’ve learned how to stop it. I’ve never had someone actually try to pass themselves off as me…the person.

It was brought to my attention that someone had actually created a fake account using my name and photo. I have an imposter pretending to be me online. Imagine my surprise when I see a comment supposedly left by me, only it wasn’t. I do not like being forced to take responsibility for words that I didn’t actually write. God knows that I write enough things to get me in trouble all on my own. Anyways, it left me feeling decidedly vulnerable and violated. Someone had invaded my privacy on a very personal level. It made me begin to question everything.

I’ve put a lot of trust in you, Internet. I know that you are not infallible. I forget that the Internet is not just filled with a whole bunch of moms reaching out for friendship and support. The Internet is full of weirdos; pedophiles, imposters and single white females just waiting for the chance to prey on some poor unsuspecting schmuck. Do we really know anyone?

I feel like from now on, every time I write I should be asking myself Who are the real “moms” & who are the online imposters?

Who are harmless crazy cat ladies sitting in their one room apartments playing with their 10 Reborn baby dolls? Who are the 300-pound, balding perverts who live in their mom’s basement and touch themselves while reading about your children losing a tooth or crying from a booboo? Who are the single white females who sit in their home alone reading about every detail of your pregnancy while doing a little legwork and soon knows where you live and when your baby is due? The crazy lady who wants a baby so badly that she’s willing to befriend you and then cut you open like a fish and take your baby?

We never know who we are talking to; in person or in real life. The guy you worked with at Arby’s could turn out to be a pedophile 20 years later. The guy you went to prom with could secretly dress up like a woman and write erotica. The mom you’ve been sharing every detail about your life with online could really be some man in Brooklyn who has no kids and gets his rocks off reading about yours.

This past weekend has left me with two thoughts; people are really bat shit crazy. I don’t mean crazy like you and I and in need of some sleep and Xanax. I mean off the reserve, scary and dangerous crazy. People who pretend to be others online are creepy on a very deep level. Two, I don’t know if this space is really one that I want to be a part of anymore.

I used to be so naïve and I thought people who wrote about rainbows and unicorns all the time were trying to hide something out of a need to protect themselves from criticism but now, I realize that the lack of transparency was probably born out of an innate need to protect themselves from actual crazy people who can steal every detail of your life and make it their own but I don’t know if I can blog in any other way than with complete openness. One imposter has lied so much that she has convinced herself that the person whose life she’s stolen is the imposter and she will fight anyone who says otherwise. I find that to be very frightening because obviously the lines between fantasy and reality have been blurred so badly that she no longer recognizes which is which.

When I think of the personal stories and photos that I have shared on this blog, it makes me cringe to think what could be done with all of it in the wrong hands. It’s also made me reassess what I want this space to be. I’m not sure the pros outweigh the cons anymore. I just want to write and connect with other moms. I am nobody special, the other bloggers who have had imposter accounts made in their names and my friend who is literally having someone steal her life, we are just moms trying to connect to one another and somewhere in all of that, we’ve let an imposter infiltrate our community but what is the alternative? From behind the screen, do any of us really know who the online imposters are or who we are really talking to?

Can you tell the difference between the online imposters and the “real” moms online?

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trolls, blogging, internet troll, haters

It’s wordless Wednesday and I am hard at work meeting deadlines so no time to write here but I came across this diddy and I had to share it because I know many of you bloggers can relate. It spoke to me and it will now be on repeat whenever I encounter a grumpy old troll. I know we’ve all had our fair share of “sexually aggressive,racist, homophobic, mysogynistic, cowardly, illiterate, wastes of human skin” trolls who love to spew hate whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or our blogs usually for absolutely no reason at all.

Thank you beautiful stranger, your comments count.

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Nina Davuluri, Miss America, Indian-American, Racism in the United States

I was going to write a post about my girls today, instead I am writing about Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, winning Miss America. Why? Because apparently racism is running rampant and it demands to be discussed so that our children know better. People are very ignorant and say awful things when hiding behind a computer. This story affects me and my daughters. We come from a culturally diverse background and this racist bullshit makes me mad! Fighting mad. I want a better world for my daughters to grow up in.

A·mer·i·can

əˈmerikən/

A native or citizen of the United States.

Americans are citizens, or natives, of the United States of America.

Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, 24, won the coveted title of Miss America. For the talent portion of the competition, she performed a classic Indian dance fused with Bollywood moves. Her platform was “Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency.” How ironic that the world has none for her. Twitter immediately blew up with angry hate tweets.

Nina Davuluri, Miss America, Indian-American, Racism in the United States

Ms. Davuluri hopes to become a doctor, like her father, who is an obstetrician. For her question portion of the competition she answered a question about Julie Chen’s plastic surgery and answered with poise and intelligence with a message to be confident in who you are. Love yourself. She just happens to be the first Miss America winner of Indian descent.Does that change how American she is? If you are born in the United States, you are American.Because if we are not and are only the sum of where we descended from than NONE of us are American.

Davuluri is more than just a beautiful woman of Indian descent; she is an American that we should be proud to have represent us. Davuluri, a New York native, was on the dean’s list and earned the Michigan Merit Award and National Honor Society nods while studying at the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science. She is passionate about healthy lifestyles after a personal battle with obesity and bulimia in her youth.

When I think of Miss America, I don’t think of “alabaster skin” being the top qualification for being a representative of our country. I think of a beautiful, intelligent, well-rounded young woman of high moral character who my daughters can look up to; a young woman with hopes and dreams, tolerance and compassion born in America.

The color of our skin should not be the litmus test for how American we are. We cannot be measured by the creaminess of our complexion. Exotic eyes and features do not make us love the United States less than our fair-skinned counterparts. In some instances, it may make us love it more because we don’t take for granted how great this country is. For us, this is the realized dream this is the something better and most of us had to work hard to get here.

Miss America, Nina Davuluri, Indian-American,Nina Davuluri, Miss America, Indian-American, Racism in the United States

The United States is a giant melting pot of assimilation. Unless you are Native American, you are not native. We are all foreigners. Let’s get that straight from the start. If you want to split hairs, I am 1/8th Cherokee and even though my father is from Mexico, doesn’t that still make me more American than most? Our country is diverse and many of us are first generation Americans. The skin color of Americans runs every color of the spectrum from milky white to deep chocolate, and we are all Americans. We all deserve human respect and rights.

People taking to twitter to complain that our new Miss America is Indian American is disgusting. The ignorant remarks about her religion and her heritage are racism at its worst. I take offense and I say we should not tolerate the bad behavior of a few racists. Our differences as a people in the United States is what makes us great; this is why so many people want to come to this country because it is symbolic of freedom, tolerance and supposed to be a place free of persecution but that is simply not the case.

Mis America, Nina Davuluri, Miss Kansas, #MissAmerica, Indian-American

As Americans we need to all look in the mirror and ask ourselves is this what we want our America to look like? I want to live in a country of diversity and tolerance. What do you want your America to be?

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media kit, how to write a media kit

What Do You want Your Media Kit to Say about You?

media kit, how to write a media kit

How to write Media Kit for your Blog ~ We all want to know where to begin when writing our media kit but it’s one of those secrets of the trade that no one wants to share. On the rare occasion that someone actually gives you feedback, it’s cryptic and vague. I am here to decode it for you.I figured since I already spilled the beans on how to write a Mommy blog and how to navigate Twitter, the next logical step is how to write a media kit for your blog. Above is a screenshot of my current media kit. There are two pages in total. This is page one.I came up with my media kit by doing lots of research on the internet, consulting other ( more experienced) bloggers to look it over and having those people who actually receive sponsorship proposals to give me their honest feedback. I hope this post is helpful to you. If it is, don’t be stingy pass it on to your fellow bloggers and leave me a comment with any questions or suggestions that you might have.

  •  Contact information. For the love of God, make it easy for companies to contact you via your media kit, your blog, etc. If you don’t, do not be surprised when no one contacts you. You can’t pitch companies to work with you or to sponsor you to conferences if you are not even professional enough to make yourself easily accessible on your blog and media kit. They want to know that if they need to reach you, they can. Make it easy. Be accessible.
  • Your blog the Brand. Your blog is a representation of you. Your media kit should reflect your blog’s brand. What message are you trying to send? I would advise using the same color scheme and graphics that emphasize your brand. If someone is familiar with your blog, there should be no mistaking that your media kit is for your blog. I even include a screen shot of my blog within my media kit. Same color scheme, same theme across the board…blog, media kit, business cards, Facebook landing page, Twitter background.
  •  The Right Pitch. An elevator pitch is a short, concise explanation of what you do. What is your blog about? The TRUTH about Motherhood is  a brutally honest, laugh out loud funny, raw account of navigating this new lifestyle that we Mommies find ourselves drowning in after having children. It’s what happens after the “They all live happily ever after” takes place.

Your Media Kit is Your Online Introduction

  •  What’s Your niche? What’s a Niche? Where do you fit into the grand scheme of your niche? Ask not what the company can do for you but what your blog can do for the company. After you’ve stated your elevator pitch, you can now give an explanation of your blog’s niche (Mommy Blog) , why you are an important part of that niche ( I’ve spent the past three years blogging, building my brand and growing my community), and why you are a good fit with a potential vendor or PR representative ( because I am well respected and known. I am trusted and people know me via my blog. I’m more than a nameless face behind a computer. I have laughed and cried with my community. We’ve consoled one another,cheered one another on and helped one another through difficult wins and losses. We are friends). This is the place to sell your brand. What makes you a better fit than the next blogger? What can you do that is unique?
  • Statistics. When discussing traffic statistics, include the following; total monthly page views, uniques, feed subscribers, new visitors, pages per visit and time on site. I also include my social media reach. This includes my Twitter followers, Klout score ( though after they reconfigured the algorithm, Klout has killed everyone’s score), Facebook Friends/ Fans, Google Page rank and Alexa Traffic. Definitely include your social media reach because even if you only have 300 blog followers but you have 10,000 Twitter followers or 3000 Facebook fans, your reach is far wider than you might think. If you have it, provide a link to your portfolio so potential partners can see that you are diverse and that you reach is even greater. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Be loud and proud but not obnoxious.
  • Just how influential are you, really? If you don’t feel like your statistics are as high as you would like them to be, focus on your influence and how you reach a specific audience. Include your demographics, especially if your key demographic reflects that of the company you are trying to work with. Your influence isn’t just online. Do you have a large circle of people who you influence in real life? Are you active at your child’s school? Church? The Junior League? Any social groups? Also include awards you’ve received that are relevant to your influence. This exemplifies your reach. Mention it.
  • Advertising Guidelines and Pricing. I don’t put cost information in my media kit but rather have them contact me directly for more information. If you are going to provide specifics, I recommend; What sizes of advertising will you offer (e.g., 125×125, 120×600)? How much does each size ad cost for a week? A month? A year? Will you give discounts for clients who book advertising over several months time? I also provide a laundry list of different ways that we can work together; i.e.

media kit

If this was helpful, please share it and since GFC is abandoning us WordPress blogs in March please consider subscribing via RSS or email.Give the company no excuse to not work with you. Make yourself available and irresistible. If you only have one chance to make a first impression and everyone judges a book by it’s cover, let your media kit be the right cover on the book of your blog.

Let Your Media Kit Make a Statement

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Chicago, Facebook Live, Throat Punch Thursday,Brittany Herring, Hate Crime, Donald Trump

Throat Punch Thursday~ Intellectual Property Plagiarism

Intellectual Property Plagiarism ~ This one is personal. You all know how I feel about being plagiarized. I think we can all agree that plagiarizing sucks. I’m not some Pulitzer prize winning writer, I talk about a lot of crazy off the wall shit and it’s not normally popular opinion or written in the usual rainbows and unicorns fashion, so when you plagiarize my intellectual property…it doesn’t take me too long to figure it out. Not to mention that I have taken some pretty extensive steps to catch plagiarist. Oh yeah, I’ve got my blog boobie trapped assholes. I’ve even written entire posts about how to catch a plagiarist and stop them from plagiarizing you.

Intellectual Property Plagiarism Not a Victimless Crime

I don’t think that some people understand that I have ownership over my blog posts because I author them and when they take them without my consent and without acknowledging me as the true author, they are stealing. I don’t adhere to the adage that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s not. The sincerest form of flattery to a writer is to pay her for her writing. When someone copies my thoughts, ideas, words and actions; when someone tries to be who I am by using my mission, my formula, my title and name…that is plagiarism and it pisses me off. It seems the more traffic I get, the more well known my blog becomes the more likely people are to try and hitch their wagon to my star. I’m not saying that there is anything special about what I do but it’s mine. It’s me! I feel like these plagiarists are turning all Single white female on me. It is literally happening almost on a daily basis at this point.I’ve written so many cease and desist letters that the formula is tattooed on my brain.

Intellectual Property Plagiarism is Real & punishable by Law

This latest case of intellectual property plagiarism is what has my panties in a bunch today. Earlier this week, as I was perusing Facebook I stumbled on a Community page using my blog name The TRUTH about Motherhood. Did you even know that this was possible? Can you say blatant intellectual property plagiarism? This piqued my curiosity. I may not be a Dooce or Jessica Gottlieb but I’ve been around long enough for a substantial amount of bloggers to know who the hell I am. It always gives me a little knot in my stomach when I ever see my title used or very close to it because then I have to check it out to see what else it has in common with me. Imagine my reaction when I was reading the description of the page and it read;

Witty, honest look at Motherhood from the trenches. The agony and the ecstasy of being a Mother, from pregnancy, through labor and delivery, to bringing the first baby home and to infinity and beyond. Where other mothers pretend to be Bree Van de Kamp,Truthful Mommy lets it all out there for the world to see. If 30’s the new 20, then imperfect parenting is the new perfect.

I was trying to place the words. I went back through my posts and I saw bits and pieces here and there but not the exact quote.But I knew it had been said. I knew it was something I had said. Then I remembered, it is the verbatim description of my blog on the Babble top Mom blogger nominations. My head was spinning. Then I realized that they had labeled the page Community. To me, that infers that they are the community page for The TRUTH about Motherhood website ( which they are not) especially since they had the balls to use my exact description of my blog and even refer to TruthfulMommy( ME). I contacted them and they refused to answer and removed my comment from their wall. I reported them to FB for intellectual property infringement and they were forced to remove the description. Some of my followers also told me that they reported the page for being a duplicate. I think that since they refer to themselves as the community of The TRUTH abut Motherhood it is still under the guise of being associated with my site and should be forced to change their name, as well. We will see what Facebook does about the situation. I have made my feelings clear. I hope they have to change it or remove it in it’s entirety. This is just one more instance in a long list of times that someone has stolen my brand.

Intellectual Property Plagiarism Parasites

Today, I am throat punching the hell out of PLAGIARIZING PARASITES. I make no bones about it, if you are copying someone else’s thoughts/actions/words give them the acknowledgment and link back, at the very least try to do so. I will not tolerate this anymore. If I find out that you are plagiarizing my intellectual property, I will go through the proper channels and I will take you down.

Hope you will link up your Throat Punch Thursday posts with me. All you have to do is grab the Throat Punch Thursday button ( listed under the buttons tab at the top of the page), put it in your blog post and link up. If you’d like to stay in the Throat Punch know, I’d love it if you would email subscribe ( as GFC will stop working soon).

*Just checked and the FB page for the “community” calling themselves The TRUTH about Motherhood has been taken down! FTW! Thank you FB for having some integrity.

Have you ever been plagiarized? What did you do? Did you go after the plagiarist assholes who stole your property? Did you give them a throat punch? We need to keep an eye out for one another and let one another know if we come across one anothers material on sites not belonging to the original writer. We are bloggers hear us roar ( right before we throat punch your ass)! Fellow bloggers, let plagiarists know that intellectual property plagiarism will no longer be tolerated by any of us.

 

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Twitter~ Today is Twitter’s 5th birthday! Awww, Happy birthday little guy. This explains why I was so late to the Twitter game. Silly me, I was too busy trying to figure out this growing and giving birth to babies business to try and figure out Twitter too.I don’t think I made it to the party until late 2009, early 2010. But let’s be honest,probably like most of you, I got to the party and felt like I was on Mars. It was completely foreign to me. Facebook, I got. Facebook was, you know, a way to check in on old friends to see how fat they got and to spy on ex boyfriends to see how fat my replacement was. I’m pretty social,I can chit chat with anyone ….I know. Hell, take me to a in real life party and I’m the one flitting from person to person, saying hi and giving kisses..real ones, not those fake air ones. But Twitter was 140 characters out into the abyss. I didn’t know ANYONE in real life who was on Twitter, except for my 16 year old cousin who already told me that she was going to the mall and taking a poop via her Facebook status. I always thought to myself, thanks for alerting the world and any potential kidnappers to your whereabouts. SO,I got to Twitter and I tweeted a couple tweets and it was like throwing a pebble into a cave…crickets chirping. Of course, I had no followers and I followed….Oprah. That.Was. it! Long story short, It took me about  6 months to take another go at it and figure out what I was doing.I’m here to help you not hear those same damn Twitter crickets. This is a great piece in conjunction with How to Build a Mommy Blog Without Blowing Up the Joint or Alienating TOO many People. I’m giving you the tools to optimize your Twitter experience.

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Twitter

photo courtesy of google image

Twitter

  • Open a Twitter account.Come on everybody’s doing it. Now, when you do this, choose your @name carefully, this is what the good people of Twitter will know you by.This is your handle.If you have a blog, I suggest using your blog name or pen name.Mine is @TruthfulMommy, in case you were wondering. I know you were. Choose a name that makes it easy for your blog followers to find you on Twitter. I don’t recommend choosing a kitschy name like @HarryBalls because it will not likely attract potential followers but will have a high yield return on porn spammers.Of course, if that’s what you’re into.Go on with your bad self @HarryBalls!
  • Also,DON’T put your actual address on Twitter,as anyone can see it.Unless of course you LIKE to have stalkers, then I say..go for it.
  • For the love of GOD, please upload a picture. I beg of you.NOBODY wants to follow, answer tweets, be followed by an “EGG” (this is the universally generic code for, I have no photo because I am a shady character of some sort) avatar.Don’t do it!I can’t stress this enough. This is a way to alienate people on Twitter.
  • Add something to your profile to tell us a little about yourself. This is your introduction to the party.Don’t stand there and be silent.When others are searching for people to follow, this small bio is all they have to go on. I must admit, I don’t follow people back if they have no bio. That’s like walking up to a complete stranger, who may or may not be friendly.I just move on to the next person.
  • Once you have your name, time to dip your toe in the Twitter waters. My suggestion is to start by following some of your favorite bloggers. You most likely already like them to some degree, if you read their blog. So, start there. It’s a great way to get to know them on a deeper, more spiritual level. Nah, not spiritual but definitely deeper. You will get to know them as a person. People tweet a lot more often than they blog. It’s a fact.
  • Just because you follow 757,000 celebrities, don’t expect them to follow you back or tweet with you.It is as bad as crickets. Are you a celebrity that knows these people in real life? If so, go for it. Their Twitter accounts are a great source for knowing their business but not for making friends or networking. If you want tweeting relationships, follow real people.

Twitter, I Heart You So

  • After you’ve secured some people that you follow, you will see their tweets. *Tweets, in case you don’t already know, are short 140 character messages that allow people to say something..anything….everything.
  • Next, this is crucial, say something ;ENGAGE your Twitter followers. Come on! Don’t be shy. They say something that you find funny, interesting, relate-able, whatever the case may be, comment. Just be yourself and be real. Nobody likes a phony baloney.Believe me, no one wants to hear those damn twitter crickets..unless of course they ARE @Oprah who has 5,395,627 followersand tweets once every other week. She’s busy, normally that’s not the case. Most people tweet because they want someone to tweet back.You tweet , they will tweet back and likely..you will have earned your first Twitter follower.
  • Do NOT constantly tweet at one particular person,unless it’s your Mama and even then, don’t do it.This is not to say that you should comment on every single thing something one particular person says, unless you’ve already developed some sort of rapport, unless you want to find yourself blocked as a Twitter stalker. The only exception is celebrities, and this is only the case because they are most likely NOT responding to most tweets. Plus, they are used to dealing with paparazzi so a little twitter stalker is probably harmless in comparison.
  • Think about why you are tweeting and who you want your audience to be.You’ve got your account, name, and photo. You are following some real people. Interacting.Engaging. You have earned some followers. Now, it’s time to get your Twitter frame of mind on. Why are you tweeting? Friends? Networking for business? Spying on celebrities? Once you make this decision, then you might start to look for either like minded folks or people in the industry that you are trying to network. Believe me.I have thoroughly convinced myself that Twitter was made for 30 something and up Mommies and Daddies to get advice, gossip, make friends and network. THAT is my Twitterverse.Now, pretend you are at a party and make the rounds. Jump in and say hello. Introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to shine. They don’t know that you are sitting there in your PJs. Start a conversation, say something controversial, ask for advice, compliment someone.This is how you get started on using and growing your twitter acquaintances. Remember, if you don’t speak up..no one even knows you’re there.
  • After you get the hang of this, the possibilities are limitless. I have met fabulous people who I would NEVER have met if left to my limited geographical devices. I have learned a lot from some great people.I’ve made great friendships.I’ve networked myself into the good graces of some wonderful opportunities that would otherwise have not existed if I hadn’t joined Twitter. DO it. Don’t be afraid.It’s only awkward for a minute. I promise. And you can always follow @TruthfulMommy and I’ll walk you through it:)
  • Be aware of the conversation.If you butt into a conversation, which we all do on Twitter, be sure to know what was being said before you got there or at least have some idea of the context. It can be embarrassing if not and some people REALLY don’t like it.
  • NO AUTO DMS! They should be OUTLAWED. They are rude and everybody hates them. Even the sick bastards who use them..HATE THEM!
  • Use DM if nature of tweet is private.If you have something personal or sensitive to say to someone, DM them.DO NOT tweet it. My husband is a newbie and guilty of this.THANK GOD I have his password and can delete before he embarrasses me to badly:)
  • Don’t over tweet your posts or keep saying the same thing over and over again.You will bore people and they will leave.It’s not about tweeting often, it’s about having something to say in your tweets.If not, don’t expect a load of tweets back.It is perfectly acceptable to use your Twitter to promote your posts and yourself, just be aware of your time frame.No one wants just YOU ambushing their tread.
  • Don’t get all crazy if someone doesn’t tweet back on something you tweet.Some people have huge treads and can’t possibly read every tweet. And some people, myself included, leave Twitter open…even when away from computer. So, I may not actually be on twitter. I know, it’s crazy but sometimes I actually have to leave the house and play with the kids, clean the house, buy groceries, rule the world.
  • Retweet what you think is worthy.If you read a funny, interesting tweet that someone else wrote or feel their tweet contained a piece of information, post, or message that needs to be shared, retweet(RT) it . They will appreciate it and so might your followers. But be aware, you may have followers who you know nothing about and a simple RT can be grounds for a Twitter attack and subsequent Divorce. We mustn’t forget the Justin Bieber situation?
  • Don’t be a numbers whore. I know we all get excited about getting a lot of followers. It’s about quality of Twitter relationships not quantity. I myself am guilty of this. I Love having loads of tweeps ( Twitter peeps) to engage and interact with so I’ve gotten a little crazy on numbers before. I’m sure most of you remember New Years Eve of 2010, when I gained almost 100 followers in a matter of about 20 minutes with the help of my #wineparty friends. It was exciting and I love my #wineparty tweeps like nobody’s business, #Wineparty is hosted by @Blogdangerously every Friday night at 9 pm EST. You basically follow the hashtag (#, used to keep tweets on a particular topic together and easily found) and we all drink and tweet.Lots of fun and a great way to get to know people on Twitter.
  • Beware of Twitter jail. I know that you think I am yanking your chain, but I assure you that I am NOT. I know this because I ,myself, have spent time in the Twitter joint. *GASP* I know, the gall. Apparently, if you have a big Twitter mouth ( as I do) and tweet more than 100 tweets in an hour, you will most certainly do not pass go and be put into Twitter jail. This means you lose all tweeting rights and capabilities for an hour.But , be not afraid young Twitter Jedis, you can still DM!FTW!! You just can not shut me up!
  • Last but not least, Be your true authentic self  and have fun.Don’t be a Twitter snob. If you’re not there to make friends or network, to engage, then you should probably stay away from the Twitter party.

Alright, this is my hard earned knowledge that I have to share today about Twitter.Happy Birthday Twitter!I’ll give you your present later. And now that you have the power, I hope you will all join me at the Twitter party and I look forward to tweeting with you and getting to know you better:) Happy Tweeting! And if you do follow me, say hi @TruthfulMommy  on Twitter so I know you are there!

Twitter

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blogging as a career, how to write a blog, how to start a blog, tech, blogging, mommy bloggers

How to start a Blog? Hmmm, that is the million dollar question. Okay, maybe it’s not. Who cares. Just be honest with yourself and have fun. I have been writing The TRUTH about Motherhood for going on two years now. In the beginning, it was slow moving. I had NO idea what I was doing writing my blog. There were things I wished I’d known about blogging.

Back then, there were no how to start a blog books.

I knew I wanted to write but had no idea how to get my writing out to the masses or what to write. But then I got the hang of writing my mommy blog. Here’s some wisdom that I’ve picked up along the way. Not the least of which is make your follow me, contact me, subscribe to me areas very clear and easy to find. Mine is located on the sidebar and under the “About”  tab ( in case you were wondering and wanted to follow, subscribe, or contact me:).

 How to start a Blog without Blowing up the Joint

Decide beforehand what YOU want to write about on your blog. What interests you? What’s your expertise? What’s your niche? What can you talk about endlessly and NOT bore your readers to death? Don’t go into this blindly.Try to have some sort of direction in mind.

Choose your community.Getting a blog following is hard work. Keep writing, keep working and get involved in a community of people who you’d want to read your blog. This was a piece of sage advice given to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Heather Armstrong of Dooce. I will admit at first I scratched my head and had no idea what this meant. Then I realized, build a tribe, surround yourself with a community of readers who are reading you for the reason you intended.Retain your integrity. This is VERY important.

Me, I want readers to read my mommy blog for my writing. But you also have to interact with your audience, reply to comments, go visit their blogs. Get to know them and let them get to know you. I want to grow a community of sisterhood through motherhood.

Be honest.Be Fearless. Let your guard down.There is nothing I hate more than someone who ONLY writes about sunshine and rainbows. Yes, some days life is sunshine, rainbows and bubblegum farts but some days, most days, I’m a woman on the ledge and my kids are tantruming and pushing me to jump.

Other days, they make a grilled cheese sandwich seem magical. It’s not always pretty. If I want inspiration, I’ll go read Enjoying the Small Things. Mostly when I read a blog, I want community. I want to know that I’m not the only one whose kids still sleeps with me, that someone else’s 3-year-old is subsisting on chicken nuggets, that it is perfectly normal to not like your kids every minute of every day. I want to understand your misery and share your joy..not feel like I’m a loser and you’re a liar.Write with your heart on your mommy blog or whatever kind o blog you have. A great example of being fearless and honest Jennifer Kindhouse and JessicaGottlieb.

Make it well written. I understand that some people feel that their blog is “their” space, like a diary. To an extent, I do agree. But if you want/expect your blog to be read by a lot of people, you have to play by the rules….of grammar. Nobody wants to read run-on sentences, misspelled words or choppy, nonsensical ramblings. Believe me, I edit for a living, it’s no fun.

Pay attention to how you write. It is as important as what you write. Hell, be brave use some of those big words that you learned in college and knew before you had children. You know the ones from way back when you actually conversed with other adults on a regular basis? Great examples of this would be  Laura @ A(n)(Un)common Family and Fadra (Fay-dra) @ All.Things.Fadra

NO CAPTCHA! People will not comment on your blog if it’s a whole big brain teaser ordeal and optometry test. In fact, they will probably loathe you for it. Believe me, I learned this early. Thank you Mommakiss!

NO self-starting playlists! There is no reason that my ears should be assaulted by your blaring music on your blog. We probably don’t have the same taste in music. Every blogger is not the same. I don’t want to be subjected to banjo music just to read your blog.

No matter how wonderful the blog may be, I will move on ( mostly because I am already listening to my own playlist. FYI: Iron & Wine + Crambone blaring=Ear bleed for me!) Don’t do it. And yes, I have been guilty of this myself. You know there are no rules if someone has not already broken them, hence the need for the rule:) I’m sharing my hard-earned wisdom of how to start a blog.

READ ALSO: Rise of the Real

How to write a Blog without Alienating Too Many People

For the LOVE of GOD, NO AUTO REPLIES! Do you know how insulting it is to take the time to read your blog, leave a comment, get excited to see a reply in my inbox only to open it and realize that it’s a generic “thank you for commenting” response? Not cool! This may be the cause for myself and your blog to divorce. I won’t be back. How rude!

SOCIAL MEDIA! You must have a twitter @DeborahACruz and FB fan page, at the very least, if you plan on growing your blog. You must have the appropriate buttons available for your post to be shared on these venues. It is very annoying when I read a fabulous post that I want to share with the world and I have to copy and paste the url. I know it sounds absurd but trust me, make it all as easy as possible for your readers.I’d also recommend getting an instagram account and a Pinterest account. You get the picture?

Don’t be afraid to network. To get love, you’ve got to give love. Be yourself and make some comments. Meet some people. Jump into some conversations.Like some fan pages. Make some friends. Get to know some fellow bloggers. Your biggest asset to building your following is your networking skills.You can’t just write to the abyss and expect hoards of people to find you. You are the face of your brand.No one’s buying if it’s not out there on the shelf! Remember that. Write it down! I’ve met most of the wonderful people I know, and learned a lot in the process, from networking on social media sites. It’s very important to know how to utilize sites like Twitter.

Join some focused communities! Not only is this a great way to network, it’s a great place to find like-minded individuals (fellow bloggers) who will want to read your posts. It’s also a great place to hone your writing skills, get advice and build your audience. There are many great organized communities to join.

Earn Yourself a Comment Mafia! What’s a comment mafia? It means you better get your ass out there and comment on your friends’ blogs and support those ladies that you want to share a community with if you expect them to do the same.This goes back to building your community. I can not stress the importance of this one. These are the ladies who will help you with everything from a kid with diarrhea to how to design your media kit and they will RT, Sparkle, love on posts and point you in directions of opportunity. Do the same for them. Don’t hoard your success. Share what you learn.

READ ALSO: How much to Charge for s Sponsored post

There is room enough for all of us in the bloggy world.Karma baby.Put out into the world what you want back. I am blessed with a great group of women who have helped me tremendously. They laugh at my jokes, cry with me when I am sad, lift me up when I am down. I try to do the same.I’m not perfect, and we are all busy women, but damn it we’re there when we really need one another.Love my girls! You ALL know who you are and listing you would just be name dropping:) Check out my This Blogger’s Life series.

Be Proud of what you do!If you are ashamed of what you are writing or feel like you have to hide your true feelings on a subject, don’t write about it.People can detect smoke being blown up their asses and most people will feel that it’s disingenuous and they will not return.

Never try to be someone you aren’t and you must remember you can only tell YOUR story.

That’s how to start a blog

 

Now, that’s all the wisdom that I have time to share today but why don’t you let me know any words of wisdom that you might have. What pointers would you give a newbie if you were explaining how to write a blog?

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