Where My Love for Reading Took Me……

I have enjoyed blogging so much on Allison Alexander‘s fabulous site, aMomKnowsBest, that I decided I would try it out it myself!  I am a former teacher who absolutely loves reading, so I thought,  why not make a blog geared towards reading? So, that’s what I’ve decided to do with my new blog MamaLuvsBooks!

Here is the outline for what I will be blogging about:

Mondays: Kids’ Book Reviews

Tuesdays: Tips and Advice for teaching kids to read

Wednesdays: Wordless Wednesdays (pictures posted related to reading/writing)

Thursdays: What’s Mom Reading? (reviews of parenting books, or just books moms like to read)

Fridays: Discussion Day (questions and answers, and the first Friday of each month will be our “Virtual Book Club”)

* “Virtual Book Club” will be a discussion on Twitter on the first Friday of each month from 8-9pm.  We will talk via #hashtags that will be provided before the discussion.  The books will be posted a month in advance (maybe sooner) so you will know what to read!  It should be fun, and hopefully in the near future I can supply prizes during the discussion!

Now, how to blog……..

I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I asked around a bit.  I heard from most people that Blogger is a good place for a first blog.  It’s kind of like a nice safe car for a first time driver.  I started with following everything I needed to do in order to set-up the blog through Blogger.  It was very step-by-step and easy to follow.

Next, I had to navigate around Blogger to find out how to do certain things; like post blogs, add gadgets (things listed on your sidebar), change the look of the blog (design), make a TwitterFacebook and StumbleUpon button so people could connect to me there as well, and learn to check stats/views.  This took a while to search around, but just play with the menu bar up top and you will learn a lot.  The “help” section also answers a lot of questions.

I decided after that to purchase my domain (URL).  This way I could make it what I wanted without the “blogspot” being in my URL.  It was only $10 for the year to purchase the domain.  Totally worth it,  I think!  It’s much easier for people to remember a shorter URL.  Why do you think phone numbers are only 7 digits?  Our brains can only hold so much information at one time.

The next things I learned that are important in blogging are to have a Twitter page with a handle set-up (one that relates to your blog), and also a Facebook page set-up to have people follow you.  Not everyone has an account to be able to follow your blog through Google Friend Connect (GFC).  Having the Facebook page to “Like” gives others the opportunity to follow you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m learning currently is Twitter etiquette (to make sure I don’t chase any followers away), meeting other bloggers on-line (blog hops are good ways to meet people and promote your blog), and using AdSense and Amazon Associates to possibly earn some money from doing my blog.  That is set-up through Blogger as well and can give you money when people click on Ads on your page.  I am still working on all of these!

In the meantime, I’m just going to write and have fun!  My site was set-up because I LOVE books and reading, and sharing that love and any advice I can give people is my main goal.

If you want to follow my new blog, please check me out at:  http://www.mamaluvsbooks.com, or you can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MamaLuvsBooks, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MamaLuvsBooks

*  I have a 100 Follower Giveaway going for people that “Like” my Facebook page, or follow me on my blog through Google Friend Connect!  The winner will get a choice of a book from Usborne Books for Kids!

If you have any questions about setting up a blog, then please comment below and ask.  Or if you are a blogger and have advice to share, then I would LOVE to hear it!  I’m learning as I go!  THANKS!!!  And thank you Allison for getting me interested in blogging!!!

Kristin Wheeler

Klout: What Is It and How Do You Give +K to Others?

Klout +KI found myself asking this very same question, not long ago, to my good friend Joanna who writes as a contributor to aMomKnowsBest, but also has her own very popular blog Baby Gators Den.  I already knew what Klout what, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to give others +K.  Joanna is pretty hip on such matters, so I knew she would be able to lead me in the right direction.  I’ve since had probably a dozen people ask me how to give +K to others, and what exactly it means…so I thought it was time for a little tutorial.

According to its website, your Klout score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.  I actually have two Klout scores, one associated with each twitter handle: AlliAlexander, which I use for primarily news/media/TV related tweets and aMomKnowsBest, which is everything mom (though there is plenty crossover!).  My Klout on aMomKnowsBest  is 61 and I’m seen as influential on parenting, moms & blogging.  My Klout on AlliAlexander is 48 and I’m influential on Rhode Island, media & moms.

Now to +K.  If someone on Klout, or twitter, has recently influenced you on a topic…the neighborly thing to do is to give them +K.  How do you do it?  Easy peasy.  Log in to Klout.  Type that person’s twitter handle in the search bar, see the topics they are influential in and click on the +K button of the topic you want to give them +K about.

What do you think of Klout’s new +K tool?  Have you tried it yet?

How Social Media Makes Saying Goodbye a Little Easier

As I’ve moved around quite a bit in the past few years, moving from Virginia to Oklahoma to California to Illinois to finally Rhode Island, I’ve had to say goodbye many times to good friends.  Unfortunately, it never seems to get any easier.  This time I happen not to be the one moving, but our good friend and owner of amomknowsbest.com, Allison Alexander, is the one moving.  It’s very sad to see a friend moving away, but at least as technology has progressed over the past few years it is easier to keep in touch.  I would always say, “Let’s keep in touch!  We’ll write each other and call,” but everyone knows that is easier said than done (unfortunately).  Moms are busy, both working and raising kids, and day to day life in the new place becomes all consuming.  You make new friends, you move on, but you do always hold in your heart the friends you had in other places.  Now technology is giving us the chance to keep up with friends easier!

(Part of the AMKB Contributor Crew with Allison, Owner of AMKB)

The greatest thing now is the expansion of social media.  I created a Facebook profile in 2006, and have connected with many friends and family through that outlet ever since.  It’s such an easy way to keep in touch and see what friends are doing.  I have been able to connect (and even reconnect) with friends from all the States I’ve lived in.  It makes it so you can actually say, “Let’s keep in touch!” and truly mean it.  Our group at amomknowsbest.com will use social media (Facebook and Twitter) and other technology available to keep in touch with Allison on a very frequent basis.  I’m sure we will be Skyping her in at meetings!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Friends I keep in touch with from Illinois through Facebook!)

Technology is always advancing and bringing us new great ways to communicate.  My parents, even in their 60’s and 70’s, are using tools to commute with us!  We just spoke to them from their Alaskan Cruise, via my father’s iPad 2 to my MacBook Pro, using Facetime (the Mac version of Skype).  It’s just really amazing how much technology has advanced even in the past 10 years.  One of our AMKB contributors, Joanna Stepka, was able to view her child’s crib on her phone from the restaurant we were eating (see her article).  Now that’s some great technology!   I guess we’ll see what they think of next!

(Skyping with my kids while my parents were babysitting them)

 

Allison Alexander, we will miss you here in Rhode Island, but we know you will be just a mouse-click or Skype call away!

*  How do you use technology to keep in touch with friends?

 

 

Kristin Wheeler

What’s the point of Twitter?

A young computer geek, vintage Joanna circa 1984

 

I signed up for Twitter in January of 2009. I’m a proud computer geek and love to try out everything new on the technology front. I’ve always been an early adopter of all things tech-related. My love of technology started when I was four years old and my family welcomed an Apple IIC into our home. I would wake up at 5am before school to play on it and hone my typing skills.  When the Internet came out, forget it. Countless hours were spent by my friends and I dialing up each other’s computers via a painfully slow dial up speed. I was also the ecstatic owner of a gMail email address when Google first brought them out by invitation only in 2004.

Considering my history, I was a late adopter of Twitter since it was founded three years prior to my first tweet. When I opened an account, I didn’t get the point of “tweeting.”  It appeared to be the same as a Facebook status update and anyways, who was listening to me? I felt like my tweets floated off into a black hole, never to be read. I abandoned my Twitter account until months later, when I discovered I was pregnant.

Suddenly, I recognized that Twitter could be a resource. A tool to connect with people I would have probably never have met in real life but have something in common. In my case it was pregnancy and I found myself tweeting with women who were due around the same time as me.  We compared symptoms and fears, mourned when some lost their babies and celebrated each time a new “Twitter Baby” was born.

Twitter was a huge tool for me as a new mother. While nursing my son every three hours throughout the night, I found comfort in knowing there was bound to be another mom on Twitter at the same time, tweeting from their phone like me. When my c-section incision site seemed to be a little red and inflamed five weeks postpartum, it was a nurse from Twitter that responded to my tweets and encouraged me to call my doctor ASAP. Turns out I had an infection and caught it just in time.

I understand Twitter now and can’t imagine my life without it.  Instead of polling my Facebook friends every time I have a silly question, one tweet can get answers from my “followers” or the general population who may happen to see my tweet in their timeline. I love that Twitter is a place to talk about anything, while I often feel restricted with Facebook.  After all, I’m pretty sure my eighth grade social studies teacher doesn’t want to hear about my son’s diaper rash, but I’m confident that someone on Twitter will have an idea for a cure.

Twitter is a place where,  in 140 characters,  you can send out a thought or question to the over 200 million Twitter users across the World.  You can communicate directly with Lady Gaga or Oprah Winfrey, get customer service help and receive breaking news as it happens. It may not be for everyone, but I love Twitter.  Facebook still has a place in my heart, but Twitter will always be special to me for helping me survive life as a new mother.

What’s been your experience with Twitter?  Either people say they don’t get it…or they love it!  I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.  You can follow me on Twitter at @RiGatorMom, send me a tweet and introduce yourself!

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