Since their inception, blogs have been used by mothers to document and share details of their young children's lives. The rise of the Mommy Blogger has changed the way marketers think about communicating with consumers, and fueled the social media revolution. But while the business-minded kids have moved on to creating marketing and media empires, the next batch of tech-savvy parents have a whole new slew of tools to capture and broadcast their children's lives to as public or private an audience as they choose.
Blogs: Not Just for Mommies
Many parents find that keeping a blog is a great way to keep family members in touch and updated on the unforgettable moments that actually are forgotten too soon if not captured. New technology makes it easy not only to document every first-day-at-the-zoo and Transformers birthday party, but also to share these highlights with anyone you choose.
I had the chance to talk with Anil Sabharwal, Senior Product Manager for Google Blogger, who says families are sharing news and milestones through Picasa and YouTube as well.
If you're worried about privacy (like I was) you'll be happy to know that it's easy to allow access to a personal family blog to only those family members you choose. Not only can you limit who sees the blog (or Picasa album, or YouTube video), you can also set up multiple contributors to the same blog — so three sisters living in different parts of the country could all maintain a single blog and grant access to their respective extended families.
One cool feature to blogs is the ability to archive. Because the content you create on a blog is hosted online "on the cloud" instead of on your computer, it is automatically backed up. You can also create an actual book based on your blog (aka Blog to Print) using a service like Shared Book or Blurb. I love this idea because a lot of short blog posts can add up to a huge store of family memories quickly.
Keeping It Fresh
How many emails do you send during an average day? What if you sent one to your child just once a week? Or even once a month? What if you included images and links to video clips on YouTube? And then tell your child about this email account someday — like maybe when they leave for college.
Sabharwal says that the Chrome browser philosophy is that the web is what you make it. He says they are innovating all the time to create products that helps ordinary non-techie people to create experiences for their families.
The key, he says, is consistency. Keep it fresh. New mobile apps for iPhone and Android (pictured below) make it even easier to take pictures at the park or pool and post them to your blog. This way you can keep up a blog without feeling like it's a daily or weekly chore. They make it easy to post when inspiration hits.
I love to have the discipline to keep a digital archive of a child's life as depicted in this recent TV commercial for Google Chrome. And it's based on a true story!
Keeping up a family blog may not be for everyone, but new products are making it easier. Play around, explore, experiment, and find out what you love or what your family responds to. They will thank you for it.