by Brie As a new parent you discover the flip side of the city you live in. All of a sudden instead of knowing the hottest new restaurant, you can recommend the best playgroup in your neighbourhood. You may not know the latest movie playing, but you know the museum hours by heart. It's like this hidden world has been revealed. All you have to do is go out and explore it!
But there are times when you can't always be out at the park or the coffee shop or meetup with friends. Nap schedules, long nights and sick kids can keep you at home, no matter how much you want to be out. Stuck in a house with a baby that doesn't like to sleep and a toddler that doesn't like to stop, the lonely side of parenting can creep in. It did for me.
Enter social media.
Blogging, Twitter and Facebook are all amazing ways that allow you to connect with strangers, friends and other parents from the confines of your house. They are there waiting for when you have five minutes between changing diapers and doing homework. They are there when the kids nap or when they are happily occupied without you.
I love blogging because it has allowed me to find other moms to connect with that have kids of the same age, live in Ottawa or just plain fascinate me. I can peek into their lives when I have a moment, just as they can peek into mine when they find the time. While blogging is a great way for you to keep in touch with friends and family, and for them to keep in touch with you, it also opens you up to a whole other community of parents. They may not be the parents you would meet out and about in the city, but that doesn't lessen the connection.
There are three important things you need to do to build an online blog community: write, read and comment. Starting a blog and finding your voice are your contribution to the online discussion, but now you need to let people know you are here. Just like you would say hi to the mom pushing her kid at the swing beside you, say hi to all the bloggers you read and visit.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? When you read a blog, leave a comment. But if you are used to lurking it can feel a bit weird to actually come out of hiding. I say do it! Think of it as a little thank you to the blogger. It's a thank you for sharing, for making you think, for giving you new ideas.
Leaving a comment is also a great way for other bloggers to find your blog. Chances are that the blogger you read will visit your blog, especially if you are a new commenter, and other readers might find you this way too. Two of my favorite bloggers are people I discovered when reading the comments.
While blogging may be something we do alone in the confines of our house, it is something that opens us up to the rest of the world. We write our words so that others can read them. By reading the words of others and commenting, you are beginning to build the connections that create online communities.
Am I right? Am I wrong? Tell me. Leave a comment. :-)