4 posts categorized "Weblogs"

October 05, 2012

About Ann Douglas

Twitter @anndouglas
Facebook
 The Mother of All
LinkedIn
 Online Profile  
Pinterest annmdouglas

Blog (parenting) Having-a-baby.com/news/

 

AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST

I 'm the author of 28 books, including The Mother of All Books series (a bestselling series of pregnancy and parenting books)and numerous other non-fiction books for children and adults. My essays have appeared in respected anthologies about politics and motherhoodmothering and bloggingraising a child on the autism spectrum, and raising a daughter and on the literary website LiteraryMama.

I write The Mother of All Baby Columns for The Toronto Star. I am also a contributing editor to Canadian Family magazine and a radio host and producer for Trent Radio. My shows are called Citizen Parent and This is Your Writing Life.

I am frequently featured in the print, broadcast, and online media as a parenting commentator and consultant; and I have had the opportunity to develop customized parenting materials for some of North America's most respected media companies.

 

SPEAKER AND WORKSHOP LEADER

I speak to groups of parents at consumer shows, education fairs, and community forums on topics ranging from preparing for parenthood to life after baby to parenting in the real world. I also design and deliver customized workshops for parents and those who work with parents and parents-to-be (doulas, childcare professionals, childcare providers, health care professionals, communications professionals).

And I speak to groups of writers about what it takes to thrive as a writer today.

 

MOTHER, VOLUNTEER, SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCATE, POLITICAL JUNKIE

I'm the mother of four kids, ages 13 through 22; and an active volunteer. 

I also spend a lot of my time working for change. The causes I am passionate about include social justice, media literacy, media concentration, freedom of the press, mass consumerism, the environment, creating an informed and engaged electorate, political reform, political accountability, and social justice. (And that's just for starters.) If you read my blog about social justice and political change, you'll get a sense of what really matters to me and why.

 

ARTS AND CULTURE ENTHUSIAST

I am passionate about the indie-craft movement (particularly where it overlaps with activism to become craftivism: too cool!); the buy locally movement; the citizen journalism movement; the indie music and indie film movements; and the new models of book and periodical publishing that are being explored right now. I also enjoy experimenting with photography, online media, and different types of writing.

My current (active) websites include

anndouglas.ca

having-a-baby.com

Citizen Parent

This is Your Writing Life


Contact info:

Page One Productions Inc.
3108 Frances Stewart Road
Peterborough, Ontario.
K9H 7J8
(705) 742-3265 
annmdouglas@gmail.com

December 03, 2009

Poll results: How do you feel about contests and giveaways on Twitter?

About 10 days ago, I decided to conduct a poll asking how people feel about contests and giveaways on Twitter. I invited people who follow me on Twitter at either @themotherofall or @anndouglas to respond to a survey using Survey Monkey. I didn't participate in the poll myself. The poll was set to allow only one response per IP address.

  • 76.5% of the respondents were parents; 23.5% were not.
  • 51 people responded to the survey, with 49 answering the question.

Here are the results.

QUESTION. How do you feel about contests and giveaways on Twitter?

I love them. I wish there were more contests and giveaways.
20.4%            (10 responses)

I don't mind them. Sometimes I participate in contests and giveaways, if I have the time.           

46.9%            (23 responses)

I ignore contests and giveaways. I'm simply not interested.           

8.2%            (4 responses)

I don't like contests and giveaways. They clutter my Twitter stream.           

22.4%            (11 responses)

I hate contests and giveaways. I do anything I can to avoid them.           

2.0%            (1 responses)

The 13 comments that people provided offer further insight into how people feel about contests and giveaways:

  • I have done one and I wish I hadn't. I feel like most of them are just an invitation for spam. That or they promise more than they will actually deliver.           
  • I'm of the "I don't mind" group as long as they are not continuous. Twitter Tuesday for a weekly giveaway is too much, but a special contest or a 2-3 times a week reminder of a giveaway/contest are fine if it's a special or unique event and not an ongoing thing. I don't like clutter in my stream so as long as it's not excessive, I'm okay with it.           
  • I love to check for new ones several times a day.           
  • I unfollow people who tweet to much about contests and giveaways           
  • I hate them and they clutter the stream, when everyone I follow then posts about the same contests. Ugh! Maybe if I won I'd change my opinion. :)           
  • It was fun at first, but now I'm just annoyed and I don't want to help shill bloggers' swag.           
  • Seems like I always miss the contest. Only see winner announcements so I constantly feel like I've missed out.           
  • Repeatedly RTd contests and giveaways I consider spammy though. (No more than once / day please!)           
  • Eh.           
  • I don't mind contests when the contest creator tweets about it, but it bugs me when they make tweeting about it a mode of entry, so dozens of other people are tweeting. That's sort of annoying and tedious.
  • It depends on the contest and I try to keep my participation from annoying others who follow me.           
  • I don't mind them, but they shouldn't be in your face like the [brand name deleted] contest. I ended up unfollowing people because they would. not. shut. up. about the [brand name deleted].           
  • Kind of a combination...

Here are some conclusions I have reached, based on the results of the survey. Some of them may be in the ballpark; some of them may be way off base. My survey sample was small, after all. But working with the numbers I have and the comments I received, here goes:

  • Just one in five people are contest fans. 20.4 % of people love contests. 55.1% don't really care either way. 24.4% actively dislike them.
  • A contest should be something special. If you're having a contest every day, most people will start to think of your contest as spam.
  • Play fair. If you decide to run a contest, make sure you're offering something of value and don't use your contest as an excuse to create a mailing list and then start spamming people.
  • Win friends, don't alienate people. Consider how often you're promoting the same contest – and how often your followers are also retweeting those same repeated promotional messages. You want your contest to be something positive, not something that annoys and alienates people.
  • Don't flog the contest to death. It appears that some people who previously enjoyed contests and giveaways on Twitter are starting to lose patience with them. Perhaps contests and giveaways have been overused on Twitter. Maybe some fresh marketing ideas need to emerge. Perhaps people on Twitter are more interested in sharing ideas than entering contests (unless it's a really unique or exceptional contest). 

But enough from me. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

PS. Most of the time, you'll find me posting at The Mother of All Parenting Blogs at ParentCentral.ca or in my Parenting Blog at Yahoo! Canada Lifestyle.

 

August 04, 2009

Mom 2.0: Meet the Mommyblogger: An Overview of My Essay in Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog

My essay "Mom 2.0: Meet the Mommyblogger" appears in Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog, edited by May Friedman and Shana L. Calixte (Toronto: The Association for Research on Mothering/Demeter Press, May 2009). Here's a brief excerpt which highlights some of the key points raised in my essay.

MotheringandBloggingLg "The online world of mothers is being transformed by marketers with their own specific agendas. These marketers—who are eager to tap into the $1.7 trillion market that mothers represent—have the budgets to ensure that they are able to tap into the conversations of mothers, wherever those conversations happen to be taking place online. Web 2.0 sites are eager to find ways to generate revenue from their operations and marketers are the source of that revenue, so their needs will often eclipse the needs of mothers in online communities....

"Moms have always been generous about sharing their wisdom and ideas with other mothers, but now a third party is privy to those conversations. In the world of Web 2.0, there's a third party sitting (or eavesdropping) at the table—a marketer who is taking notes and looking for ways to use mothers' ideas to sell products back to mothers. More often than not, moms are not being compensated for these intellectual property contributions in any meaningful way. Rather than paying cash -- the traditional currency of business -- marketers and the mega-corporations that they front for offer fleeting fame and freebies. On a per-hour basis, these 'pay rates' can amount to lower rates of compensation than the rates paid to workers in third-world sweat shops --working conditions these mega-corporations to go great lengths to distance themselves from.

"Horizontal violence* between mothers online is the result of the lack of respect shown to mothers by other online users. This type of hostile activity is at its rawest in the blogging community ("the wild west") as compared to in the highly moderated (and much less authentic) world of social networking sites aimed at mothers. When horizontal violence does occur on social networking sites, the social networking tools that are built into the site architecture can be used with merciless effectiveness (at least until a site moderator steps in). Rumors and misinformation can be forwarded to an entire network of contact and on-site and off-site site a mouse click. Deleting someone from a list of friends can be accomplished with equal ease (and, in many cases, that former 'friend' won't even realize that they've been de-friended).

Perhaps the most important conclusion that web-savvy mothers must keep in mind is that horizontal violence will become less of a problem when the status of mothers and women is improved both online and in the real world. Until this happens, it's important for mothers to acknowledge its existence and to work towards collective solutions. In "Horizontal Violence in the Workplace," Carolyn Hastie recommends a series of strategies that appear to be just as practical and relevant to the world of mothers: recognizing and acknowledging that horizontal violence occurs between mothers and using the term 'horizontal violence' to name the problem; raising awareness of this issue and addressing the cultural issues that allow horizontal violence to continue to be a problem between mothers and women; speaking out against instances of horizontal violence whenever they occur; addressing individual attitudes and behaviors; and practicing self-nurturing and self-care so that each woman ins able to 'do the things that help [her] to be healthy and happy in all aspects of [her] human-ness.' Once she applies that age-old common sense to dealing with a computer-age online problem, Mom 2.0 will have more to give her Web 2.0 girlfriends. And it's a 100% product-free solution to boot."

View the full Table of Contents for the book.

*Note: The term horizontal violence is used when members of groups with low status display hostile behaviors toward their fellow group members as opposed to lashing out at their oppressors.

Related:

Mom-101: The Year that Shame Died: Mom-101 writes: "Much to my surprise however, what turned out to be the problem at BlogHer was not how the marketers acted, but how so many bloggers acted. Without pulling punches, I will say it was shameful...I am in no way saying that popular bloggers don't like free stuff or that you should be ashamed for wanting some free dish soap. I publish a site that gives away products daily and I love how happy it makes people. What I'm saying that blogging 'success' shouldn't be defined by the amount of stuff you get. It's about what you put out, not what you take in."

Mom-101: Blog With Integrity: We're Taking Our Community Back: Mom-101 writes: "We've put together Blog with Integrity, a voluntary pledge, complete with blog badge, for any and all bloggers (not just parents) who want a way to show their readers, marketers, the PR community, and certainly the press, that we are committed to integrity, responsibility and disclosure, and that a few bad apples do not speak for all of us. Not even close."

Mom-101: Yep, I'm a Mother. Got a Problem With That?: Mom-101 describes the disrespect that mothers have been receiving from certain members of the marketing community post-BlogHer'09.

January 31, 2009

It's Hip to Be Ethical

Babble.com has been making a splash ever since it launched its self-described website for hipster parents. But it has attracted its fair share of controversy for veering from the ethical path in a rather nasty way, one that was disrepectful to both parents and members of the creative community. That led to a nasty backlash by members of the Babble community, proving that as much as parents want their websites to be hip, they also want them to be ethical.

This week, Babble.com announced its intention to become the dominant parenting website, overtaking iVillage.com, Parents.com, and BabyCenter.com, and other top websites. My advice to Rufus Griscom -- not that he's likely to pay attention to what I have to say -- is to pay attention to the small and seemingly unimportant ethical details. These things do matter with parents. And they can take on a life of their own if parents think that a corporation has behaved badly. Just ask my friend Julie, who recently gave a piece of her mind to Motrin.

I'd like to be able to wish Babble.com all the best, but right now I have an ethical bone to pick with them. It's an issue they've been ignoring for the past year-and-a-half.

What bone could I possibly have to pick with Babble.com? If you take a look at the banner which was published in yesterday's New York Times article about Babble.com's plans to become the parenting website category killer, you will note that the accompanying screen shot features the Strollerderby banner. And the Strollerderby banner features a catchy little tagline: "The Mother of All Parenting Blogs."

As you might suspect, I have a bit of a problem with Babble branding Strollerderby with a subhead that incorporates

1. the title of one of my parenting books, with "books" being replaced by "blogs" to reflect the context (The Mother of All Parenting Books -- part of THE MOTHER OF ALL series I launched with Wiley Canada in 2000; and was published for American parents by Wiley Publishing Inc. in 2004),
2. a trademark I hold both in the US and in Canada (THE MOTHER OF ALL) Note: there are numerous other related trademarks,
3. a blog name that is very similar to the name of a parenting blog I have been publishing since 2004 (The Mother of All Blogs).

Strollerderbying over someone else's intellectual property rights may be the hip way to run a business. But it certainly isn't the ethical way to run a business.

Surely the creative types at Babble.com can come up with a catchy tagline for Strollerderby that doesn't involve taking something of mine.

I'm tempted to hold a contest to come up with a substitute alternative tagline for Strollerderby. What do you think? Anyone want to play for free books? (Free books for the top ten non-rights infringing names. Winners can choose from any of these titles. If you're Canadian, I'll substitute the Canadian edition, if you'd like.)