What The Young Can Teach The Old About Social Media

I have spent the past week with tons of tweens and also with my parents and in-laws. It was dance recital time and our lives were filled with sequins and feathers and smiles and a few tears. But also with technology.


Seven years ago when we started this dance recital thing, our bag was filled with bobby pins, hairspray and coloring books and parents taking quick pictures of their girls before the big show. Now it’s iPads and iPods and the girls taking selfies with their friends and even Facetiming with other friends to show off their costumes.


And in the background and the audience are the grandparents – now taking pictures with their own iPhones and iPads and digital cameras…excited to post pictures on their own Facebook pages.


Eloise joined the social media world six months ago – and I consider it a process for all of us. As a parent, I thought I would be the teacher – monitoring her use, telling her to be nice, watching out for weirdos…but in truth, she has made me more accountable for my own behavior online.


I wrote this article several months back on my blog and am now crazy thrilled that it’s on The Washington Post. THE WASHINGTON POST!


What has your tween taught you this week? Mine has taught me what a pique is.




5 Lessons My Tween Has Taught Me About Social Media

“Mom, don’t take that picture!” she yells as she covers her head with her blanket. The morning is cool, dark and quiet, and her stern tone changes this serene moment immediately. But it was too late for her, as I had already snapped a picture of the scene. “I hope you didn’t take that!” she continues “And if you did, don’t post it on Instagram or Facebook!”


I’m hurt and surprised by her harsh words, yet at the same time I get what she means and why she said them.

Posted with permission

Posted with permission

What I saw, as I looked over my coffee and across the room, was a beautiful scene of father and daughter together working on her algebra homework. I saw a family moment to freeze in time – a time to remember when she was in middle school and needed some help on a few equations. I wanted to remember these early mornings of school and homework and “tweendom” that will fade into just another blip of one of the ages of childhood.


Yet what she saw was only herself – with early morning bedhead, and wearing old pajamas. She saw her sleepy eyes and her dad’s messed up hair. She saw herself sitting too closely to her dad while during the day she likes to give off that teenage vibe that she happily keeps her parents at a comfortable distance of coolness and independence. She wants to let people know that she typically brushes her hair and wears skinny jeans.


I get that.


I recently untagged myself from a photo that a friend posted on Facebook. He messaged me asking why I untagged myself, as what he saw was a photo full of happy memories with an old group of friends from nearly 30 years ago. What I saw was me, an 18 year old who was horribly unhappy and unhealthy on the inside, and has spent years trying to delete any pictures that were taken from that time. His tagging me brought that girl front and center and I could not hit delete, delete, delete fast enough.


So I get that what I view as a beautiful family moment, she can view as a moment of ugly morning hair. And a few years ago, as her mother I would’ve posted it without her knowledge or opinion. A few years ago she was not on social media. I’m also pretty sure almost every “Mommy Blogger” has at one time or another written a post about what is “our” story versus what is “their” story as our children have gotten older. Because while posting pictures of your toddler playing in the mud is all fun games, well posting pictures of your tween with her friends is off limits.


But this really has nothing to do with what is my story of motherhood versus their story of being my child. This has to do with how I now feel a new responsibility for what I share because my daughter is now on social media.


After begging for an Instagram account for over ONE MILLION YEARS(her account of the situation, it was actually just a few months), because EVERYONE in the whole world is on Instagram besides her, I opened an account for her on her 12th birthday. Honestly, I’m still not comfortable with the whole thing even though our parental controls are probably better than Target’s IT firewalls, but we decided this would be an easy way for her to enjoy her first steps into social media under our careful watch before the crap really hits the fan and her access explodes as she gets older. Believe me, I want to move my family to a yurt in Siberia when I think about Snapchat, cyber bullying, and hell even Tinder.


What I did not expect from letting her have an Instagram account though, was that she would teach me a lesson or two about my own social media behavior.


This is what my daughter being on social media has taught me about living life online…

1. Think before you post. What goes online stays online. You are leaving a permanent record out there for everyone to see and Google. Is this a post or picture that you want to remember forever? Having my daughter on social media has made me really stop before I post anywhere and the responsibility that it truly holds.


2. It’s not just about you. Sure, you loved the picture, but is it something that will hurt your friend or a family member? Ask permission. While yes, I own the stories about my motherhood – they are not mine alone. I now take time to discuss posts and pictures with my kids and if they don’t like something – I don’t post it or talk about it. Mutual respect belongs front and center both on and off social media.


3.  Know who your friends are. My personal Facebook page has become a ‘mess’ of people. A few years back I started friending anyone who requested to be my friend if we had a few mutual friends in common. But now, I really wonder who most of these people are. As I now have to approve who follows my daughter’s Instagram account – it’s really made me go back into my accounts and make a stronger line between what I post personally and what I want to keep on my professional pages, and I’m cleaning up my accounts.


4. Post because it’s important to you, not because of “Like Currency.” We all get caught up in how “viral” a post or picture goes. Admit it, you do. You might be 45 years old but having 50 likes on a Facebook post sure feels better than having two. Sometimes we never leave the angst and emotional turmoil of puberty, amiright? So having this exact discussion with my daughter – telling her to post pictures she loves on Instagram because she loves them, not because they will be popular, has helped me with what I share and how I don’t need to waste so much time finding the right filter so people will like my picture more. I’ve always found that the posts and pictures that resonate the most are the ones that tell my truth anyway. The rest doesn’t matter.


5. Put your phone down. Does every moment really need to be captured? Live in the moment. When my daughter first joined Instagram, she was on her phone ALL THE TIME. And I saw myself in her. Was I really doing this too? Was the picture I just took more important than the moment that I just spent with my kids. Sure, social media is fun and exciting, but the person sitting right in front of me is even more important. Don’t let social media manage your time. Manage your time on social media. This has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from watching my own daughter start her own journey online.


Just like everything with parenting – we all learn together as we go and they grow. She will make mistakes just like we will make mistakes, but watching her explore social media over the past two months has taught me a lot as a parent as I reflect on my own behavior online. Sometimes I watch her with great delight as she improves her photography skills, but then I go into her “friend approval” list and cringe over the people who have found her account.


Parenting – it’s wonder mixed with a healthy amount of worry. Yet currently as we dip our toes into the shallow end of the social media pool – it’s honestly worry mixed with a healthy amount of wonder.



Only Pinterest can Justify My Time On The Internet..

It probably started when I moved to Europe. I would spend a lot of time online communicating with my friends and family back in the States and of course online shopping to get comforts from home.


The funny thing is that when I returned home to the U.S. I spent an crazy amount of time buying beautiful baby clothes from Europe and wishing that Zara had online shopping. For me of course.


I always say that I quit my ‘real job’ over six years ago. You know that professional go to the office job that I used my degree for. The job that had me in meetings and flying this way and that way..but mostly in meetings and preparing Power Point presentations. Does Power Point still exist?


Since quitting that ‘real job’ – I now run an online consignment shop, I write, I dabble in photography, I shop, and have now been a clothing rep for nearly four years.


It seems that I’ve been working all along..and all of it is online. And all of it is visual. And beautiful.


And keeps me home. Where I like to be.


This visual working (and shopping if you must mention it) became even more beautiful when Pinterest came about and I became a full-fledged addict this Fall.


Do you see this beauty? I created this…by pinning all the beautiful things I like and shop for or want to do or want inspiration from or want to create.

It’s all there. It’s the ultimate visual marriage between companies and consumers.


And it’s the fastest growing social media platform on the web.


And I blame it all on Jessica from Four Plus an Angel for making sure I became addicted.


I’m glad she did..because as of today we have now joined forces and created our own social media consulting team based solely around Pinterest.

Today I could not be happier to say that our new venture, Pin Savvy Social, has launched. We will spotlight amazing companies and products in the weeks to come and give you all kinds of Pinterest-centered activities with lots of chances to win new products.

Head over to Pin Savvy Social today for our first fabulous company spotlight complete with an amazing giveaway – $100 gift card from Little Skye Children’s boutique!!

And remember to follow me on Pinterest.


Also, if you are a company who would love to drive traffic to your site, we would love to work with you! Please contact me at tracy@sellabitmum.com or admin@pinsavvysocial.com.


Thank you so much for all of your amazing support for our new venture. xo


An Inspiring Blogher ’11 Recap…

I was not quite sure what to expect at a Blog conference with 3500 women and a handful of very smart men.   Would it be overwhelming, would it be inspiring, would it be fueled by coffee or wine, would it be dancing on stages with new friends and strangers, would it be wearing McDonald’s bags on your head, would it be getting your picture taken in the bathroom with The Bloggess, would it be trying to cop a feel of Bob Harper during an early morning work-out(not by moi of course), would it be a flash-mob, would it be chaos, would it be fun, would it be exhausting, would it be informative, would there be babies in attendance that made my heart hurt to be home with my family, would there be moments I simply let go and enjoyed just being about me for a change, would I get the chance to read a book on plane and not cut up anyone’s food, would it be blisters, would it be hilarious, would it be calm, would you see most women carrying around a swag bag containing both a vibrator and some scotch tape and a stuffed Elmo, would it be fashionable, would there be tears, would there be laughter that just would not stop, would there be private conversations and large meetings, would there be parties I wasn’t invited to, would there be parties that we all could attend, would there be meetings I did not get, would there be meetings that I did attend and were perfect, would there be hugs, would there be curious looks, would there be sweat, would there be SQUEEEEEEEE’s o’plenty upon meeting some of your best friends or the writer you admire.


It was all of that. And more.

(Jenny, The Bloggess)

It was in a word – fabulous.


It was everything I thought it would be. And more.

(Yuliya, She Suggests – and a California Raisin of course)

It was energizing and inspiring.


It is so much more than a “blogging” conference. It’s a connection conference, a collaboration conference, an alliance conference, a working together conference, a letting go of your insecurities conference and knowing that there is a place for YOU in this scene.

(My Trainer Bob Harper – OMG SQUEEEEEE……)

I am no one particularly special. I’m a mom. I have a shopping addiction. I love fashion. I am a wife. I have three amazing children. I have a blog. My blog is my blog. I have readers. I love that my mom reads my blog as well as a dear friend in France. I have followers. I have comments. I have pictures. I have content.  I am a writer.  I like to laugh.


And I am okay. I am not in any competition to be any better than anyone else. I let go of my “not getting along with other women” thing so long ago. My blog is not in competition with your blog. Maybe my blog and your blog can work together and do great things?

(My twin in Desigual – the lovely Gigi, Kludgymom)

I play well with others. I am a hugger. And a squeeee-er. I talk to everyone. I like feeling connected to others.


In my 40’s I am so inspired by brilliant women who do so much more than I do – and instead of feeling jealousy or want of what they have and do  – I just purely want to go up to each of them and hug them and squeeze them and look them directly in their eyes and thank them for what they are doing for all of us.


As women. Making it a more beautiful place for all of us.


Yes, I’m happy and sappy and BlogHer for me was perfect – because of all of you. And perhaps also because of my mother making me listen to Helen Reddy in the early 70’s.

 (So thrilled to see the incredible Romy Raves again!)

…oh and I met her and her and her and her and her also her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and  her saw her again, and then stalked her and her and her and her and her ..shhhh, but they were super nice about it. I roomed with her and her and they are the loveliest ladies EVER. And also I love her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her  and her and her …and more..can I link 3500 people in my post? Oh, and I held and smelled her baby, and met her baby….

 (Team Amazeballs at the BlogHer 5K – clothing sponsored by Champion USA)

Oh, and I finally met my soul-mate in person in this crazy world of connections. I squeeee’d and maybe cried and maybe spanked her ass but also kicked her ass in the 5K. Not that it’s a competition or anything.  Now to convince our husbands that we all need to live together.  She completes me in this space.




Toyota and Bloggers – You asked for it, You got it!

The day that I realized how strangely important a vehicle was to a family came in the early Fall of 1979.  We went to the car dealership as a family…my mom quiet in the front seat.  It was on this day that my mom gave them the keys to her early 70’s pumpkin orange Corolla and accepted the keys to her new 1980 white sporty 5 speed Toyota Celica.

I watched in silence as my mother sobbed as they drove her little orange car to the back of the lot.   She didn’t know on that day, how much in love she would fall for the little zippy Celica – or how it would be the car that both her children would learn to drive at 16 (well her son would – her daughter will kill the damn thing 2,098,708 times before learning to drive a 5 speed).

She didn’t know it would be the car that would sport a license plate that said “mom’s taxi” as she drove us here and there.

She didn’t know that this sporty little Celica would become the car that would make memories of seeing her kids though puberty, high school and sending them onto college.

If she would’ve known that – perhaps saying goodbye to her little orange car would not have been so sad.

Over the past 40 years, a Toyota has found a place in our family’s garage..whether my mom’s cute little Corolla, the red Corona before it, my dad’s old army Land Cruiser, or my current 8 year old 4Runner and my husband’s Tundra that has more than achieved it’s 100,000+ miles.

So imagine my surprise when this Toyota commercial aired this week. (video courtesy of Mollly at the Snyder 5 and read her post about the Toytota ad here..)

..when I caught this commercial during the 10pm news, I was 1/2 listening as I blogged, emailed, tweeted..but the words “we don’t make cars for bloggers” made me look up and pay attention.

Now, I know that is not what they intended to communicate – but that is what I heard and I immediately emailed Toyota to ask for clarification.

There were many bloggers who did the same.  ..and who blogged about it immediately.

But I waited for their answer.  As a loyal customer of Toyota, as well as a blogger, I wanted to wait for their answer – to give Toyota the benefit of the doubt.  I hope I would get the same treatment for the slips of the tongue that I can make. A lot.

I think sometimes we accuse before we respect..we anger before we understand…

Knowing who Toyota is – for 40 years – I felt I needed to give them a chance to make it right.

And they did.  Their response to me was quick and the ad was pulled.  I could not be more proud of how they handled the situation.  A HUGE company responded to blogger and consumer concerns.

The icing on the cake, even getting Tweeted by Toyota on Friday.

The power of social media is amazing..and when used for good, can give me that Toyota “OH what a feeling!”

So thank you, Toyota – I do love what you do for me!