Living the Vida Social Media
Blogger Vered DeLeeuw shares how she has created her career and lifestyle through social media as part of the Care.com Interview Series
Social Media is a way of life -- at least for Vered DeLeeuw, who has been blogging over at MomGrind since 2008. With a self-proclaimed short attention span, lots of opinions, and a love of writing, blogging was the perfect medium for her. Here, she shares how she evolved from a simple Internet user into a savvy mom blogger and social media consultant and why she has a different approach when it comes to social media and preserving her family's privacy.
Tell us about your family.
I am married with two children, ages 10 and 12. Have been married since 1993 (I can't believe it sometimes!) and live with my family in Northern California.
Tell us about your blog. How and why did you start blogging?
I'm normally a fairly planned person, but my first blog, MomGrind, was started on a whim. I discovered blogs, fell in love with the medium, and a week later, had my own "mommy blog."
What social media sites do you use? Why do you use those particular sites?
I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, the four leading social sites on the web today. I use them because they are the most effective at getting my content out there.
What types of things do you post to your Facebook or Twitter? Do you fall under a certain category of Facebook Poster Types?
I've been evolving as a social media user and actually feel a little burned out and over-exposed these days, so I focus more on promoting my social media ideas and recipes, and less on posting personal stuff.
What's the funniest parenting-related thing you've seen on Facebook or Twitter?
A Facebook friend of mine, Diane, wrote a few months ago, "Just ate the last purple Flintstone's vitamin myself to avoid the predictable fight when the girls get up for breakfast."
How do you think social media has changed parenting, for better or for worse?
Both. Better: more information, more support for parents. Worse: the inevitable exhibitionism that comes with participating in social media, and exposing the kids without asking their permission.
How do you think parenting bloggers are perceived? How has the role of the blogger evolved from when you started?
I think they are perceived as helpful, providing information and relieving other parents' tensions and insecurities around parenting. On the other hand they are also perceived as over-exposing themselves, their families, and even using their kids to advance their blogs.
Have you ever used social media to handle a problem in your household?
I actually haven't - I still use the old fashioned way of privately consulting with friends, via email or phone. Each of us needs to find a balance between utilizing all that social media has to offer in terms of support and advice, and preserving some sense of privacy. To me, at this point, privacy is more important. I would like to emphasize that this is not criticism of others' use of social media but rather recognizing the limitations of my own comfort zone.
How have social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter helped your parenting strategies?
To me, the main benefit of social media sites is realizing that I'm not alone and that we all struggle with similar issues as parents. Her Bad Mother's "Look At Me Not Sleeping" is a great example and a blog post that I found particularly helpful, since my babies too were not really into sleeping.
Have you ever been influenced (positively or negatively) by other people's postings on Facebook or Twitter?
Mostly positively - so many of these postings simply make me laugh! People tend to post funny stories on Facebook. This morning, for example, I woke up tired and grumpy, but a post by my friend Dan brightened my spirits: "Damn it! 45-minute drive with a bag of hot steaming Izzy's Brooklyn bagels on the seat next to me. There goes last night's workout!"
How much do you share about your kids on your blog vs. on social media? Is there anything that's "off-limits"?
I share very little about my kids and have always done so. I don't think there's anything wrong with bloggers who expose more - I just happen to be a very private person (which of course is a struggle when you do social media for a living!) so this works for me.
What discoveries have you made about parenting and/or your family through blogging?
I discovered that parenting can be funny - even moments that at first feel, well, not so funny. So, for example, this moment that felt humiliating at first, became really funny when I realized I was going to blog it.
Tell us more about how your blog and social media communities have affected your life as a parent.
I feel that I have a support network, and the fact that it's virtual does not make it less strong or less important. I know that I am not alone in this, that the hard work, lack of sleep, mommy guilt, the emotional rollercoaster are all completely normal and part of modern parenting. I don't doubt myself as much. I would never have published this blog post if I didn't know that my readers and other bloggers would get it, know exactly what I mean and not criticize me.
Vered DeLeeuw began blogging as a personal hobby, then turned it into a profession in late 2008. She originally began blogging to help moms deal with the daily grind of motherhood, and has since expanded her writing to various corners of the internet, including three different blogs: a social media blog, her personal blog, MomGrind, and her latest one for healthy recipes. She now works as a social media consultant, writing blogs and managing social media campaigns. She lives with her husband two daughters in Northern California. You can also find Vered on Facebook and Twitter.
For more about parenting in the digital age, visit the Care.com Interview Series: Being a Social Media Mom »
Photo used with permission from Vered DeLeeuw.
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