a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Jul, 2011

Guest post: Social media for parents, by Lara Wellman

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Guest postings

We’re rounding out GUEST POST WEEK here at the Fishbowl with Lara Wellman, from, well, from all over the place. (You will see what I mean soon enough. She’s one busy lady. Thank you Lara!)

I have three kids under five, including a set of two year old twins. That means a number of things including:

  • the last two years have been the most insane of my life
  • my life is hectic and constantly kid oriented
  • I need other parents to commiserate with who also have young children
  • it isn’t easy for me to get up and go with three young kids
  • I’m extraordinarily lucky and my kids are awesome
  • social media has been my lifeline

Ever tried to take a photo of 3 young kids smiling? I hear herding cats is easier ;)

Being online has meant that I have access to other parents day or night when I need advice, support, understanding and friends. There are lots of ways to connect into that world and I highly recommend it, especially to new moms who are home for that year of maternity leave. Here are a few suggestions (in order of importance).

Blogs

This is where I first connected to other moms and it’s a great place to go to read about how other parents are coping, to feel understood, and the find ideas for things to do.

I co-founded a blog called Kids in the Capital here in Ottawa with another Ottawa blogger (Capital Mom) so that parents would have a place to come together specifically to share ideas on what works. Check it out and then go and check out all of the blogs of the people who contribute. If you’re wanting to jump into the world of blogging you can guest post for Kids in the Capital or start your own!

Clearly you all know how great blogs are though – you’re on one of the best Ottawa/parenting ones right now! :)

Twitter

Twitter is a place where there is always someone to talk to. For parenting in particular it is a place to go to find other parents who will understand where you’re coming from -day or NIGHT.

I found my tribe on Twitter, but I will say up front it isn’t always the easiest place to jump in to right off the bat. I’ve written a series of tutorials on Kids in the Capital about twitter and if you join come and find me (@larawellman) and of course @missfish. We’ll be happy to make you feel welcome!

Tumblr

Tumblr is a great way for people to blog when they aren’t sure that they have a lot to say (here’s a more detailed post I wrote about it). You can easily post a photo from your phone, a cute video or your kids, photos to share the grandparents or a funny thing the kids said without feeling committed to writing a full out blog. You can also follow other people’s tumblr pages or publish your tumblr posts to your Facebook or Twitter.

Instagram

Instagram is an iPhone app so I’m afraid if you don’t have an iPhone you’re out of luck on this one. This app allows you to take fun photos and apply funky filters to them. You can then share them with your Instagram friends (really, there are so many places to have friends now!) and/or share your photos to your Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr pages. It’s an easy way to take fun photos of the kids no matter where you are without needing a separate camera. I personally find the photos I take with Instagram look better than the ones I take with the regular camera setting on my phone. (I wrote a longer post about it on Kids in the Capital.)


Pinterest

Pinterest is just eye candy really. It’s a place where you can virtually “pin” things you see on the internet that you like. When I first heard about it I didn’t think it would be something I would be interested in. And then I tried it…

Because you can see other people’s pins it is a great place to find all kinds of ideas. If you’re looking for fun ideas for things the kids will eat, for a dinner party, to decorate the kids’ rooms, the playroom, for craft ideas, for well… anything. It can be a time killer but it’s a great place to find great ideas. Like with all these new social media platforms you can connect with your friends so you can see each other’s pins. Who needs to get together in real life anymore?! :)

Pinterest is by invitation only right now but everyone who is on Pinterest gets lots of daily invites. If you’d like to be invited leave a comment and I’d be happy to invite you!

The real world

The very best part of social media as a parent for me has been not only the online connections I’ve grown, but the real life friends I’ve made. We have playdates, we have mom nights out, we put together conferences! It’s an amazing place so come and join us – it’s fun!


4 Responses to "Guest post: Social media for parents, by Lara Wellman"

1 | Javamom

July 8th, 2011 at 11:23 am

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I really like this post, thank you. I will revisit when my life calms down after our trip to Montreal (from Toronto with two active children 3 and 6….argh) and comment better.

Thanks you! And ps Lara, I will visit your blog for exactly the reasons you outlines when we get back.

Happy vacation

2 | Diane

July 9th, 2011 at 11:23 am

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Great post, I would like to check out Pinterest; thanks!

3 | Finola

July 9th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

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I have not been able to figure out Pinterest just yet, though perhaps it needs more than just a few minutes here and there. I’ll get it.
And now I’m thinking about Google+. Thoughts?

4 | Lara

July 10th, 2011 at 9:38 am

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I LOVE Google + but it’s still kind of geeky around there. Mostly it’s people talking about google + ;)

Pinterest is a lot of fun too but I only go on once in awhile…. too distracting to look at all the pretty things :)

Diane – I don’t have your email address… maybe @missfish could do the honours of the invite? :)

And Javamom, stop by my web site or Facebook page if you have any questions about any of the tools! http://www.larawellman.com

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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