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It Takes an Online Village to Raise a Child

Melissa Roja Lawlor
July 11, 2012

Jenni Chiu talks about how social media helped create her online community as part of the Care.com Interview Series

We've all heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Blogger Jenni Chiu, who shares stories of her life over at Mommy Nani Booboo, believes that while few of us actually live in villages, social media has a way of making us feel a part of one, and more importantly, can help us find the answers to important questions like, "What's that thing that is a stuffed animal with a pacifier attached to the end of it?" Read more about Chiu's addiction to social media, and how it can make parents better -- and worse.

Tell us about your family.

I call my husband Hot Nerd. We live in Orange County with our 4-year-old son and baby boy. We have a wonder dog that has survived two back surgeries, and another dog that just loves to eat poo. I am weird, my husband is weird, and our sons are becoming weird.

Tell us about your blog. How and why did you start blogging?

Mommy Nani Booboo is ridiculous, poignant, and can change your life. I started blogging after my first son was born to keep sane and to fill a need to be creative. I continue to blog because I love to entertain, and it consistently reminds my readers and myself of our humanity. I've been blogging for three years now and I am very grateful that my audience has grown and diversified since then. People are cool.

What social media sites do you use? Why do you use those particular sites?

I use them all. I'm addicted. I use Twitter for self-promotion, interaction, and connection to some kind of collective consciousness. I use Facebook to interact in a more personal way with "friends." I use Instagram to feed an artistic need and get a glimpse of the world through the eyes of other people. Pinterest is online hoarding - which I am also guilty of.

How do you think social media has changed parenting, for better or for worse?

Both. I think using social media can make a parent distracted instead of giving their full attention to their child on occasion. I also think it is very helpful to parents by providing a type of "village." We've all heard it takes one to raise a child, but few of us live in them. The key is balance.

How have you used social media to handle a problem in your household?

I don't really use social media to help handle problems, but I most certainly use it for information. A few weeks ago I asked, "What's that thing that is a stuffed animal with a pacifier attached to the end of it?" Within seconds, about twenty people had the answer for me - Wubbanub.

How have social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter helped your parenting strategies?

I will often follow links that people share to websites/articles written by parenting "experts." I incorporate what I think will work for my family... but I love having access to differing points of view.

How much do you share about your kids on your blog vs. on social media? Is there anything that's "off-limits"?

I don't share anything on social media sites that I wouldn't share on my blog. I share very intimate, personal details of my life - but in a way that doesn't involve my kids' real names, or clear pictures of my 4-year-old's face. He is old enough to be recognizable. It's a personal choice.

Blogger Jenni Chiu lives in Orange County, California with her husband and two sons. Her blog, Mommy Nani Booboo, is the space where, according to Chiu, "I pour my heart out, speak universal truths, hug the world, scrape myself raw, entertain, and answer life's big questions by asking more questions. I throw in some pee and poop talk every now and then, since I'm elbow deep in that stuff right now." You can also find Chiu on Twitter and Facebook.

Get more from social media moms in the Care.com Interview Series: Being a Social Media Mom ยป

Photo used with permission from Jenni Chiu.

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