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type aThis weekend, I attended Type-A Parent Bootcamp sponsored by Disney Parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Type A is a blogging-for-business conference that teaches bloggers how to work with brands, how to find new avenues of monetization, how to brand themselves, and more.
My KidzVuz co-founder, Rebecca Levey, and I gave a presentation on pitching brands for new business (rather than waiting for them to pitch you), called “From Pitch to Paycheck.” I certainly hope that attendees learned a lot from us about preparation, identifying targets, telling their story, organizing their efforts and more, since I know I learned a ton from the other presentations I saw and from the conference in general.

Here are my top five takeaways: (more…)

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OK, Maybe not a movie.  But at least a cute little montage!  It really shows what a fun, crazy time we had with our fantastic guests and sponsors.  (And putting it together brought me back to my TV producer days!)  Check it out!

Thanks again to sponsors Homewood Suites by Hilton, Samsung Mobile, Nintendo, Downtown Bookworks, Dermalogica, Clear Start, audible.com, Hasbro, Spinmaster, iScreamNY, the Broadway League, the ESRB, Green Mustache smoothies, Chloe’s Soft Server, Fairway Market, Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads, The Broadway League,  and Battery Pop.

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So last week was our totally insane, incredibly fabulous (if I do say so myself) KidzVuz Holiday House Party.  What’s that?  It’s 150 kids, 100 top mom bloggers together with some majorly fun brands together for an afternoon of playing, testing, trying, learning..even tasting!

This year, KidzVuz title sponsor was Homewood Suites by Hilton.   And we threw a seriously big bash where kids and Mom Bloggers got to try out products from Nintendo, Samsung, Dermalogica, Clear Start, audible.com, Hasbro, Spinmaster, DownTown Bookworks, BatteryPop, and Green Mustache. (And more, too — read on!)

Take a look at how it went!

KidzVuz Holiday Party: Spinmaster

Zoomer Dog from Spinmaster - is one of the hottest toys of the year.  And from the look on this girl’s face, it’s easy to see why. We gave everyone a chance to try it out, and even gave one away in our raffle to benefit our non profit partner, The Lamp.  Kawaii Crush had all the girls oohing and ahhing!  So cute, so much fun to play and imagine.Flutterbye Fairy:  a fairy that really flies!  Need we say more?  And Tenkai Knights are great for building…and battling, both online and off.

In the Nintendo game lounge, kids checked out the latest WiiU, Wii Fit, 3DS and 2DS games and consoles. Mario never looked so good.  And we love Wii games because they get kids playing together, and and get them out of their seats and moving around! Who says video gaming is a solo activity?  Nintendo brings gaming to the whole family!

Hasbro brought another of this year’s hottest toys, Furby Boom.  Cute-ness!  They also had Nerf Rebelle - because it’s about time girls had a Nerf of their own! And Twister Rave.  Party in a box!!!

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 kids is a kids tablet even a grown up can love!  That is, if the kids can tear themselves away from it long enough for the parents to have a chance!  With any easy to understand interface, a kid-proof design, and parental controls that let you do everything from set access to set playing time, and with a price of about $200….this tablet is amazing.

And how awesome are these SuperHero cookies?  They’re from the  Official DC SuperHero Cookbook from our sponsor Downtown Bookworks.  Can you say too awesome to eat?  Hard to do with your mouth full of cookies, right?  Downtown Bookworks has tons of beautifully designed books for curious kids, crafty kids..all kinds of kids!

Downstairs, our friends at iScream provided a candy bar (yum!) and sand candy art, but it was really all about their amazing pillows, bags, clothes and accessories.  Tween girls go crazy for them! Plus, BatteryPop showed off it’s new app and site that gives kids a great selection of videos picked just for them. (No worries about inappropriate content here!)

But it wasn’t just about the kids!  Oh no!  Homewood Suites by Hilton provided a lodge where moms could kick back and hear about all the great things Homewood Suites has to offer – -like their free grocery delivery service – right to your room!  Their great “pick your room before you arrive” feature, and the fact that the all-suite hotel has lots more sweet perks – like free hot breakfast daily, a putting green or pool in every property, free WiFi, and so much more.

Dermalogica was there mapping moms’ faces (not as strange as it sounds) and giving personalized skin care advice.  And Clear Start was there, too.  Teaching kids how to keep their skin, well, clear, as they hit those teenaged years.

In the audible.com Mom Lounge, moms learned all about the super cool features of the audible app — like how it lets you take your whole library with you on your mobile device.  How the kindle Whisper App lets you read your book, then stop, start listening to it, then reading it again, picking up where the audiobook left off.  And as if that weren’t cool enough,  the folks from audible were kind enough to bring along this guy — with wine and prosecco!  Talk about a party!

Our non-profit partner, The Lamp, was there teaching kids media literacy – which is what they do for under-served kids in NYC all the time. Our generous guests donated $900 to the organization.  (We love our bloggers!)  And The Broadway League was there telling everyone about Kids Night Out on Broadway. Buy an adult ticket, and a kid ticket is free!  While the ESRB taught moms and kids how to know which videos games are right (and safe and appropriate) for them.

We had dance music, too!  And since we’re KidzVuz, we had a kid DJ!  DJ Kai from FuziPop.  Plus kids making on-site reviews, and prizes!!!

All that playing and learning, and relaxing made everybody hungry!  Good thing we had snacks and drinks from Fairway Market, Stonefire Naan, Chloe’s Fruit, Green Mustache Smoothies, and Zico coconut water.

And of course, every kid left with an awesome KV Holiday Gift bag!

Does it sound crazy?  Well, it was, in the best possible way!!

Thanks to all of our sponsors and all of our guests for making this year’s KidzVuz Holiday House Party the best one yet!

And serious thanks to Amy Jacobs from Chandelier Events for pulling it all together and to Josh Strauss of Josh Strauss studios for all of the amazing photos.

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In the better late than never category comes this post, about what I learned at BSM Media’s She Streams conference in NYC.  The conference, now in it’s fourth (I’m pretty sure) year, is all about getting beyond the written word in the social media space, and about empowering women bloggers to take their blog up to the next  level: video, audio, podcasting, and more.

Here’s what I learned:

1. You can hear two COMPLETELY different keynote speakers, with two COMPLETELY different messages and points of view, and learn a lot from both of them.

Tory Johnson, TV Personality, entrepreneur, and author of the new book The Shift, spoke mostly about monetization.  “Are you making money,’ she asked, “Or just moving it around?”  She talked about not being afraid to ask for what you’re worth, about making sure you make five calls by five PM every day – talking to five people (not just trying to.)  She was all energy, all “go for it,” all “You can do it!”

On the other end of the spectrum was Brad Montague, creator of the truly fantastic web series Kid President, which features his brother in law, nine year old Robby – aka Kid President.  Brad didn’t mention money once.  He talked about using the internet to be a force of good.  About using your social media influence to do something important — and not just play Candy Crush.  He’s sent Kid President to the White House! (The real one) And he’s making a real difference.

He was  self deprecating, low key, and absolutely inspiring in a completely different way from Tory Johnson.  And I think everyone in that room fell in love with him just a little bit.  If you don’t already know Kid President, you really should.  Check him out here – and share share share!

2. The best swag from an event is a great make up job.

When Maria Bailey, founder of the conference, asked for a volunteer to get a make-up makeover, I shot my hand in the air right quick.  And boy, was I glad I did.  Professional make-up artist Elizabeth Fried told us the cardinal rules of make up for camera: NO GLITTER.  Everything matte.  Use primer. Mascara your bottom lashes first, with waterproof mascara, so you don’t get mascara from your top lashes all over your face while you’re putting the bottom mascara on!  But the bottom line of her advice was: Even if you are shooting a video for your personal blog in your living room, you should look professional and look your best.

And as for what she did for me?  I never looked better.

4. Get the right equipment.

Amy Oztan, of Selfish Mom and Adam Cohen from Dada Rocks talked about the incredible array of tools available to make your video, audio, and pictures better.  But rather than listing them here,  I’ll send you over to Amy’s list of essentials.  it’s pretty awesome.

5.  And this, from Maria Bailey, the best advice for bloggers — though really it could be modified for anyone in any business – I’ve heard in a long time:  Stop worrying that people doing sponsored blog posts, or becoming blog ambassadors for no money are decreasing the value of your work.  Instead, think about how to make your work more valuable.

Words for live by.

 

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So KidzVuz.com is videos by kids for kids.  It’s a place where we tell kids: Have Your Say! But sometimes, we grownups get a chance to say something ,too.  And last week, I got to put my TV producer hat back on for the first time in several years and write and produce a video about KidzVuz.  Of course – I still let the kids Have Their Say and show you what it’s all about!

Check it out!

 

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@2Wired2Tired won $10,000 from Windex at BlogHer2013

This year, BlogHer, the largest women’s blogging conference in the world, fell on my kids’ camp visiting day. It is the one day in seven weeks I get to see my kids.  And, since my kids are teenagers, it’s also one of the only days my kids are totally, completely happy to spend an entire day with me.  I wasn’t going to miss it.

So for the first time in four years, I did not go to BlogHer.

It was weird.

Even though a large number of my East Coast blogger friends didn’t go to Chicago for the conference, my Twitter stream was filled with all-BlogHer all the time.  Instagram was wholly taken over by shots from the parties, people winning $10,000, and blogging friends with semi-celebs. Facebook was rife with shots of bloggers smiling, arm in arm.  Across all of my social media channels, bloggers were giving each other shout outs and praising the event.

I felt left out.  FOMO to the max.

But then I started really looking at the tweets and posts and pics.  And I noticed something; no one (well, hardly anyone) was tweeting content.  I saw lots and lots of tweets about brands.  I learned that Shark makes floor cleaners – don’t call them vacuums, Windex can build a house on a convention floor, Lean Cuisine has gone healthy, Folgers packs ‘em in at the lounge, Hasbro  and American  Girl both throw one heck of a party, and bloggers, evidently, are extremely fond of vibrators and lubricant. (more…)

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coppa

No, not the Italian Ham. The FTC regulation.

I know.  Weirdest title of a post ever.  But today’s the day the new FTC COPPA regulations go into effect.  COPPA is Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.  It’s the law that governs how sites and apps collect information from kids. And that means that suddenly, a lot of the sites your kids visit regularly aren’t going to let them do the things they’re used to doing…at least until they get Verifiable Parental Consent.

Verifiable Parental Consent (VPC)?  What’s That?

VPC is the FTC’s standard for ensuring that a parent really is who they say they are when they approve the online account of any child under the age of 13.  There are a few ways sites for kids can get VPC from a parent.  they can use:

  1. Your driver’s license
  2. The last four digits of your Social Security Number
  3. A form that you sign and send back to them
  4. A micro-charge to your credit card. (which most sites will reimburse)

Of course, the regulations are flawed.  They don’t really verify that you’re your kid’s parent – just that you’re an adult.  Any adult.  And they don’t protect your kids from cyber bullies or inappropriate content.  But they do ensure (at least to an extent) that you know and approve of what your kid is doing online.  At least when your kids are going online to kid-directed sites.  If they’re on sites for adults…well, too bad!  Those sites don’t need to tell parents anything.  Because as we all know, there are no kids on adult directed sites like Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Facebook.  Nudge nudge wink wink.

In any case,  I just thought I’d let you know why your kid is suddenly so very interested  in your social security number or drivers license.  You know, so you don’t think they’re trying to rent a car.

You’re welcome.

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Children's Online PrivacyAs of July 1st, the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act is going to change.  Chances are, you didn’t know that, don’t know what COPPA is, and don’t care.  And that’s a shame.  Because you should.  Because it’s all about what your kids can and cannot do on the internet.

What is COPPA Anyway?

So what is COPPA?  You probably think it has something to do with protecting kids from inappropriate content online.  Nope.  Or cyberbullying.  Not that either. Or maybe you think it’s about protecting kids from child predators.  Well, Sort of.   COPPA is the set of FTC regulations that governs how websites gather information from kids under the age of 13.  (Evidently, the law was written by Orthodox Jews who believe that at 13, kids are officially adults.  Bar Mitzvah or not.) (more…)

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In the real world, there’s a common understand that within communities, we look after eachother’s kids. We help them if we see them in a jam.  We tattle when we see them doing something really dangerous — or just plain intervene.   But in the digital world…it’s a little less -.  Or is it?

Check out my very first piece on Mashable about Digital Tattletales, and why you should be one.

 

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This white awareness ribbon is worn to raise consciousness of violence against women.

This white awareness ribbon is worn to raise consciousness of violence against women.

That social media and sex are intertwined is no surprise. What is surprising is how social media has become a weapon in sexual assaults of kids, tweens, and teens.
In Steubenville, Ohio, and in Torrington CT, and who knows how many other unreported places, social media is being used both during and after sexual assaults in shocking and disturbing ways.
In Stuebenville, the rapists (they’ve been convicted. I see no reason to mince words),not only committed the crime, but were so proud of it they shared it on their social media networks. The crime itself was horrific enough,but the fact that these rapists were so sure that what they were doing was perfectly acceptable behavior that posting it to Instagram seemed neither callous nor repugnant adds to that horror.  How did we get to the point where 17 year old students are so morally bereft that sexually assaulting an unconscious girl seems appropriate fodder for sharing with friends? (more…)

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