Why You Should Start a Family Blog
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Tired of getting phone calls begging for more photos of the kids? Looking for a place to share your child’s accomplishments? Whether you’re a technophobe or a computer whiz, an extrovert or a private soul, the odds are you have plenty to say about your family – and a web log, or blog, is just the place to say it.
Why Blog? To Keep in Touch…
Although some aspire to follow in the e-footsteps of Catherine Newman, who parlayed her blog into a book deal and a monthly column with Wondertime Magazine, the overwhelming majority blog because it’s the most efficient way to broadcast their news to far-flung friends and family.
“It is a non-intrusive way to tell funny stories without pestering people with e-mail,” says Nicole Emens, who started blogging when her son was born three years ago and now maintains blogs for both him and her infant daughter. “People can check the blog as often as they want without me worrying ‘Did I already share this photo with my friends?’"
And Get Organized...
Many frazzled parents view blogs as high-tech scrapbooks, using them to organize photos and journal entries and printing out bound copies through services like www.Blurb.com.
“We tried writing everything down -- my preferred way of doing things -- but couldn't manage to keep track of or sort out the paper,” says Caryn Brooks Coleman, another mom blogger. “Since the blog adds the date (sometimes, especially in the early times, I just didn't know the date) we knew it would be a great way to track things in order. And since you can edit and add pictures later, it was like having someone file things in order for us.”
What Does it Cost?
Many blogging sites are free. Others with more advanced photo hosting options and personalized designs can be up to $25 per month. Many bloggers agree to host ads in exchange for a little cash. Julie, creator of cult favorite www.alittlepregnant.com, donates her profits to reproductive charities.
Is it Safe?
Many parents wonder whether posting information about their families online is safe. Is some creep going to look too closely at your daughter’s photo? Will an anonymous “troll,” or troublemaker, post comments criticizing your fitness as a mother?
“Post only events that happened in the past rather than the future (i.e. don't put it out there that you will be on vacation for a week meaning your home will be empty!)” says Mary Heffernan, who started blogging when she got married and now keeps track of daughter Francie at www.babyheff.com. “Avoid friends’ and family’s last names.”
“Her website is behind a username/password that I only shared with family and friends,” says Madonnalisa Chan, who maintains separate blogs about her work, her hobbies and her infant daughter. “Even if I post to flickr for photos, I always change the privacy to friends and family.”
And, of course, don’t post anything you might regret later.
How Much Time Does it Take?
Short answer? As much or as little as you choose. “If you want people to keep checking your blog, it is important to post at least 2-3 times a week,” recommends Heffernan. But one post might be a long essay about the family roadtrip, while another might be a single photo of your daughter’s first tooth.
Let the Blogging Begin!
Ready to get started? Some hosts popular with families include www.wordpress.com, www.typepad.com, www.babysites.com, www.squarespace.com, and www.blogger.com.