Blogging is like…riding a bike?

You never forget how to ride a bike, right? Please tell me blogging is a lot like that! It appears I took a two month blogging break. I wish I could tell you about all these amazing things we did while I was away, but that’s not true. Really I spent that time doing NOTHING, which in itself is also amazing.

Toddler goes to bed, then I relax. It really was nice. It took me a while to let the guilt subside that I should be blogging or doing this or that or being visible on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. But then I let the relaxing take over. Eventually it became routine.

The funny thing is I took this break right after I had started planning some major things for my online presence. Then I went MIA. Irony? Foreshadowing? Who knows, but I think I’m ready to be back! I think the two months gave me the energy to tackle this “thing” again. I do miss it, but I needed some time to rejuvenate ME. There just wasn’t enough me time. My life was filled with others, including the Internet.

I’m not starting out with an overly ambitious goal. I’m just going to follow my heart. No forced posts. I’m going to get back to my feelings and what I want to post. Not what I should post.

The funny thing about me coming back on a Friday? I’m not a weekend blogger. So, we’ll see if there’s anything new on Monday! 🙂 I do hope you’ll follow me back, I do plan some exciting things over the coming months. This toddler who lives in my house is a riot and I want to tell you all about him!

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Blogging and Children

My mommy mind wanders around a lot. One of the things I keep coming back to is the balance of the Internet and life. What’s over-sharing and what’s ok. We live in a social world. Social networking is everywhere. Facebook here. Twitter there. YouTube over there. And blogging over here. I’ve mentioned my career a little bit, but try not to divulge too much. Much like I try to do with my family, my career is kind of kept on the quiet. I work in a marketing environment. I promote products and create literature for a living. I don’t need my personal name associated with our products; they have nothing to do with each other. I don’t promote consumer goods, so there’s no correlation. It’s what I get paid to do. {Point in case: my mommy mind wanders around a lot.}

My blog started as a place for me to write. It wasn’t creative writing, which is my life-long goal, but rather the stuff floating around my mind. Then, we found out we were expecting. Let’s be honest, blogs become much more focused and direct when you have a giant elephant in the room. Enter: baby. A baby is all-consuming and you would be hard pressed not to let it leak onto your blog. Before Maximus, I had my blogging life pretty much figured out. I had an outline mapped out. I had a purpose statement and a goal in mind. Then pregnancy hit and my focus changed. I began walking people through my pregnancy. THEN, he was born. I had these wonderful goals of continuing my blogging and having this amazing blog. Reality hit and I spent my free time showering or sleeping. And then I went back to work.

{I do have a purpose in this rambling, I promise.}

After Maximus was born, I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to share and what I didn’t want to share. I didn’t have much experience with a readership. I knew my audience, it was all people I knew. Once he was born, my numbers started going up and my comments were from people I didn’t know. The first change I made was to put my blog watermark on my pictures so people didn’t start copying them and using them. I didn’t do this because I thought people would, I just did it as a precaution. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to my family. No longer was a I just posting pictures of my dog or my growing belly, a child was involved.

I haven’t come up with hard and firm “guidelines” for myself on the Internet. Like I said, I work in a world of marketing and promotions. I don’t make myself private on Twitter because then I can’t network. I don’t have a private blog because maybe something I say will help someone else. I do have a private Facebook account because I’m only friends with people I know in real life and I only want those people to see my pictures.

When I think about my child and blogging, I have a different opinion than when I think of my child and someone else blogging. Thinking down the road, {today} I don’t want my son’s teacher to have a public blog with pictures and activities that he is doing. I don’t want other people writing about my son and giving out information about him. I am his mother and I want control of the information about him on the Internet. I would love a private classroom blog so I could stay up-to-date on the activities and things the kids were doing. I would love following along with his day-to-day activities! To me, that is a very appropriate use of a blog. There’s a great purpose statement in there: to keep parents’ updated on the daily activities. These opinions are the same for a daycare. I would love to “watch” my son’s day and see what the kids are up to, but I would want it to be private.

I live a very “social” life. My iPhone doesn’t leave my side. I have access to everything on it – email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, text messaging,  camera, video, and the phone. I’d be ok if I received notes from the teacher via email or a blog. {I got a reminder text from my hair stylist last night and I LOVED it!}

When the time comes, I don’t want to sign a release letter at the beginning of the year stating that my child’s picture can be used wherever and have that include the Internet. In my mind, the Internet is completely different from a school newspaper or newsletter. In my line of work, we can’t have someone sign a release letter and have it cover everything under the sun. If we can’t do that for adults, I don’t think we should be doing that for children. Innocent children should not be covered under a “wherever” clause. {Disclosure: I have no idea if this actually happens, I’m just thinking outloud.} With the increase and push of various new technology forms, I hope school districts spend a lot of time discusing the pros and cons. Much like my company does when we discuss social networking, I hope they consider each case and make the best decision for everyone involved. By no means do I think school districts shouldn’t embrace the new age, I just want them to consider the children. Their purpose is to consider the children and I think they can come up with a great way to embrace while protecting.  

Blogs are the “in” thing in both personal and professional lives. I live in this world every day and I still haven’t figured out the rules of the land. Everyone is different and every situation is different. At the end of the day, there are bad people on the Internet and you can either be scared of them or live your life. But, when children come into play, we all have to think a second longer and do what’s best for the children. Today’s decision may be completely different from tomorrow’s.

Figure it out, stick to it, and proof read!

Words are my friends. I enjoy writing them. I really enjoy reading them. It would make perfect sense that I studied them in school. I don’t criticize the way others use them. I don’t correct the mistakes others make. I do enjoy a good, grammatically correct read. I also enjoy a grammatically incorrect read if the content is interesting. I’m not a word snob or a grammar junky. In fact, I make spelling errors and forget to check my grammar. Sometimes I’m too busy to check my post before it goes live. Sometimes I run the ABC check and move on with life. I’m not perfect so I don’t expect anyone else to be.

My areas of blog interest vary. My list includes people I know in real life and those I haven’t yet met (in real life). I’ve always enjoyed reading about people’s lives, but now I have an avid interest in babies who are the same age as my son. I enjoy the communications field, whether that’s graphic design, writing, or websites. I haven’t found too many blogs that I don’t enjoy following. While I do have my favorites, they are my favorites for various reasons. Some of the writers have an awesome sense of blog speak. (Yes, I believe that’s a technical term.) They do a great job of talking to the reader and engaging. Other’s have awesome stories to tell. And some just post amazing photographs. For the most part, I’m not swayed by the blog design. I care more about the content. (But, in my career world both are equally important!) I don’t actually know what the design is for most of my favorite reads. I read all my blogs in Google Reader so there’s no HTML content. (Read: flashy visuals) (Also read: I’m trying to be diligent about posting comments on said blogs in my reader.)

I struggle with some blog concepts. I struggle with the purpose behind the piece. In my career world, purpose statements are essential to a quality communication. Is your corner of the world a place to keep family up-to-date on your life? Is your blog your online journal? Is this your way of documenting your child’s life? Are you trying to share your experiences with others? What’s the purpose of the words you type?

I will admit, my blog needs refreshed. New theme and header! Yay!

My tagline (also known as my purpose statement) needs updated.

My overall view on the blog needs refreshed.

I’m in no position to judge anyone else’s writing, but sometimes I feel like people just don’t get it. While I am not perfect and my blog is not perfect, I know I “get it.” I know what I need to do. I know how I need to accomplish it. Now, knowing and doing are two different things. Just because I know doesn’t mean I don’t lose focus sometimes. Or, just because I know doesn’t mean I have time to follow through. Sometimes I get a little sidetracked in my writing. Sometimes I stray from my purpose. Sometimes I just need to use my little piece of the Internet as a journal. Afterall, it’s my little corner and I’m the one clicking away on the keyboard. I hope that when I do stray or go off on a tangent, that you can still connect the dots to my purpose statement. I hope that my readers (aka Internet friends) don’t feel like they are chasing a bouncing ball. I hope they get something out of the content. Maybe it’s just seeing pictures of a growing baby or gaining exposure to what it’s like to raise a child. I do hope that when I venture out, other’s can relate or understand where I’m coming from. I hope I’m not blindly typing away or rambling endlessly about nothing in general. I hope that you can follow my thoughts and I write in a clear and concise manner. After all, my background has taught me to do so.

For those of you taking notes:

  1. Figure out the purpose for your blog.
  2. Stick to it.
  3. Don’t make your readers feel like they are bouncing around trying to follow your run-on sentences.
  4. Connect your content. If it doesn’t relate, make a new post.
  5. And proof read your post!