Just Heather

Within minutes of sending the above tweet, my cohort at Mom’s Marbles had 3 different remedy options. Oh, how I love Twitter! I was impressed with my followers, but also a bit jealous of Sarah. Okay, that’s a bad word. I just wish I’d had the opportunities moms have now. (Geez, that makes me sound so old!) When I was nursing Stacia—nearly 12 years ago—I was utterly clueless. I had very little support and no idea where to turn.

On day 5, in a panic that I couldn’t get her to latch, I finally called the lactation consultant from the hospital. She told me that my baby had lost nearly a pound and that I should feed her formula! Luckily, I had read up enough to know that it is very common for babies to lose up to 10% of their body weight. Plus, I’m good at math. You know what is 10% of nearly 10 pounds? That’s right—almost a pound!

Luckily, we eventually made it work but it was such a miserable experience that I nursed her for only 6 months. The first time a tooth popped through those gums? Yeah, I was done! I had an easier experience with Brenia. I managed to breastfeed her for 9 months, almost exclusively. I was back to struggling with Lorelai, but she had so many food allergies that I was forced to keep at it anyway.

We were successful at near-exclusive breastfeeding for about 13 months, but I wish I’d had the support I see available now. From mom to mom forums to Twitter to Facebook friends, we’re more connected than ever before. While no one in my circle was breastfeeding at the time, I’m sure others I knew at a distance were. Moms today have the opportunity to connect like never before.

I’m so grateful for this chance to reach out, ask questions and help others because, while my breastfeeding days are behind me, we have much more coming! (Did I mention she’s almost 12?!)

Thanks to the Juicebox for sponsoring the breastfeeding conversation. Be sure to check out their widget on my left sidebar and take the poll—did you enjoy breastfeeding or not? If you didn’t breastfeed, maybe you’ll relate to the woman in the video who says she was ashamed to bottle feed her baby.

Shawn and Noah have put together a great conference for us. I’m excited to be here to learn about the things I need to be doing to make my blog and Inexpensively what I know it could be. They really know what their doing when it comes to connecting. They’ve been on top of every question I’ve had on the conference—even the ones I didn’t think to ask.

It was a bit disconcerting to walk in and have someone I’ve never met greet me by name. I guess my avatar looks just like me. Who knew? I’m so bad about names and faces that it throws me when others aren’t. It actually happens all the time, though, so I guess I need to get used to it. (Yes, Mom, I’m wearing makeup!)

This is my first attempt at live blogging. I need to take notes and this seemed like the best idea, given the topic. These are my raw notes as they happen. I’ll come back later to fix obvious typos and errors, but if I decide to expand on anything I heard, it would be in a separate post. To quote my girls, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.”

Live Blogging Keynote

Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer: The Rules Are There Are No Rules

“If the rules are there are no rules, what the hell is this guy going to say? I’ll get to that, in about 40 minutes.”

The rules are there for a reason, but sometimes they’re meant to be broken.

Design Matters:
Design doesn’t matter in the tech/social media world because more than 50% of readers are never going to visit your website—they will subscribe to your RSS feeds instead.

The more you engage with people, the more connected you are with your audience.
A blog that does not allow comments is not really a blog. It’s a personal publication platform.

Blog Frequently:
Deb Schultz, Jeremey Pepper, Dave Weiner—Don’t blog frequently, but when they do it is incredibly compelling and engaging.
Keep it short and simple. People want short snacks in today’s attention deficit world.

Play Nice:
Some who don’t can get away with it because they are entertaining, if you get their humor and/or sarcasm.

Provide Value to Your Reader:
Value is relative—any blog will have value to someone, even if it’s just your mom.

Most blogs will never make more than $24.99 (and no one will cut you a check until you make $25)
Monetizing blogs is not about advertising; it is capitalizing on opportunities that your blog provides.

Driving Traffic:
Promote your blog.
The rules say be active on Digg, Reddit, Stumble Upon, Propeller, Mixx.
The theory is readers vote for good content. “The theory is bullshit.” None of the front page content on social media sites is actually based on what the community wants to see. It’s based on the back scratching and trading of a few hundred people.

How to Use Social Bookmarking Sites/Breaking the Rules:
Vote for good content when you see it.
Help friends with votes, if I like the content.

Social News/Bookmarking Success:
Spend all day on the site.
Get secret invites to voting circles
Pander to people via IM
“all the damn time!”

There is a lot of great advice, guidelines and “rules” but bottom line is are you happy with your blog? The success of your blog is really determined by how you feel about it.

Jason’s Rules for Blogging:
Be bold. Say something that other people are not. If your blog offers nothing different than what other people in your niche are saying, you’re just a me too. Take a different stance now and then.
Be fair. Let your opposing readers have their say. Letting them have the last word now and then is classy.
Follow the rules…sometimes. Good advice is still good advice.
Be loyal to your audience. Remember what people come there for and stay true to it. See what drives traffic. See what people comment on. Write about what your readers want to talk about.
Write good stuff!

Q. What would you call it then, if there are no rules? Aren’t we still in need of rules and guidelines?
A. I would call it Blogging Best Practices.

Q. What about ghost writers?
A. Transparency is key in social media. Ghost writers are the opposite. The biggest problem is getting found out. You run the risk of being disingenuous. It intimates that you have something to hide.

Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, carpool…Life is often about to-do lists and mundane tasks, but everyone has another list. A list in the back of their minds of things they would do someday, if only they had the time. Or, if money weren’t so tight. Or, when the kids get older. Yet, someday never comes. The excuses continue, and the things on our most important list never get accomplished.

What if we all took the time to make a list? Write down the 40×40“>40 things you want to do before you turn 40. Come up with 50 fun things to do before the kids go back to school. Write down 25 creative dates for you and your significant other. It is a to-do list of things you’ll actually enjoy.

Life is passing us by while we make the list of chores and obligations. I am excited to announce the launch of my latest project! Someday I Want is about experiences, not tasks. This site is permission to think about your own personal to-do list. Write down the things you’ve always wanted to do and start crossing them off. We’ll be there, encouraging you along the way.

At Someday I Want, you have the opportunity to connect with others who share your dreams. Pair your talents, skills and resources with those who need your help to attain their life goals. Learn about people who have already accomplished things you’ve always wanted to try. Make a list, make some friends and start making memories.

It’s your life and it’s time to enjoy it, one list at a time.