I sat on the “Family Matters: Blogging the Parenting Experience” at the Northern Voice 2010 Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference this past weekend. The six-mother panel discussion went off in a several different directions with family privacy and the practice of “mommy blogging” being the hot button topics. We could have taken a day to cover all the topics.
Prior to the conference, we were sent the following questions. We did not get a chance to answer them all, so below are my thoughts.
1. Complete this sentence. I blog to …. educate others about adoption, connect with mothers and members of the adoption circle, and I blog as a creative outlet.
2. Have you established personal boundaries around the topics you blog about?
I have boundaries around what I reveal about the birth family. On this blog, I have used pseudonyms and altered identifying information. I try not to put words in their mouths and always write in a respectful manner. Ultimately, this blog is about my journey as an adoptive mother in an open adoption and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
3. What top writing tip would you share with mom bloggers just starting out?
Be authentic, be real, be yourself. Experts talk about niches, and ways to be different or stand out, or increase visitors to your blog. They even use that ugly SEO term. I feel strongly that if you have a story to tell, you should tell it. Your story is yours; it’s unique, and no one else has your perspective or insight. My other tip is to write at least twice a week. If you feel dry, try writing a post a day for a month to get your ceative juices flowing.
4. Parent bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. How do you use that as a force for good?
Parent bloggers are not a cohesive block. Many are simply mothers or fathers exploring what it means to be a parent, reaching our to others, documenting their family story and “catching the fleeting moments of parenthood,” as Lesley so eloquently put it on the panel.
In terms of “the good,” blogging can be wonderful source of support and even friendship, online or IRL (in real life). I’ve now met about 20 blogger moms, three of whom are new adoptive parents and one who’s a longtime parent in an open adoption (funnily, she was manning the Northern Voice video desk!). I’ve had comments come in just when I needed them most, and now I make a point of sending comment love to new bloggers, seasoned bloggers and bloggers who look like they’re going through a hard time.
Dropping negative or inflammatory comments on other people’s blogs or deliberately stirring the pot is not my cup-of-tea. To my mind, the best bloggers write thoughtful posts that generate intelligent discussion and commentary. Comments on my posts often add depth and meaning to my original post.
5. What do you think about the idea that a child’s image should be private (or shared only amongst friends and family) under they are old enough to decide for themselves.
As Theo’s parent, it’s up to me to decide what’s best for him and my family. At this stage, I am more concerned about preserving the birthparents privacy. If, in the future, Theo wants me to remove all photos and retire the blog; of course, I would. However, in a world of increased openness and sharing, my hope is that he’d participate in the blog rather than reject it.
7. In the last couple of years, mommy bloggers have been frequent PR targets for companies promoting family-friendly products. What best practices would you recommend to other mommy bloggers?
Have integrity. Only review of post on things you have read, support or are in line with your own parenting/blogging philosophy. Right now, I do not review anything but would consider adoption-related books in the future.
8. What is the best thing your blog has brought into your life?
It’s introduced me to a new world of fabulous people including mothers, adoptive parents, adult adoptees, birth mothers, and, of course the incredibly warm and welcoming social media and blogging community.