Parents turning to Twitter for advice and recommendations: Time-pressed moms and dads tap into the power of crowdsourcing
I believe it. A lot of parents are turning to Twitter to tap into word-of-mouth recommendations for everything from baby gear to green school lunch kits to healthy (and easy-to-prepare) meal ideas.
The online gurus have coined a term to describe the act of gathering wisdom from the crowd: crowd-sourcing. The best thing about crowd sourcing is that you are the one in charge of choosing which information gets acted upon and which gets filed away for future reference -- or permanently trashed. Only you can decide which pieces of wisdom apply to your family’s situation and which are a total mismatch. (There’s nothing worse than trying to make square wisdom apply to a triangular situation. Very frustrating.)
Crowd-sourcing is magical. It’s like having an entire research department at your disposal. Of course, you don’t just take: you give, too. You repay those wonderful volunteer researchers with gratitude and a willingness to be generous with your own ideas, life experience, and misc wisdom. What goes around comes around, after all, as my mother-in-law likes to say.
Twitter can also act as your online communications department, keeping you connected to your key contacts and your family members with much less hassle than email (assuming that your nearest and dearest have signed up for Twitter accounts).
You can use Twitter to
let your partner know that you managed to pick up milk or bread or books or other life essentials
keep your entire extended family updated in the event of an emergency (e.g., an elderly relative is in the hospital);
announce your baby's arrival (and let people know when visiting hours are scheduled so that you don't have to field non-stop visitors around the clock);
send a flirty note to your partner (sometimes that’s all you have time or energy for if the kids are sick, you’re on deadline at work, and one of you has to do the grocery shopping tonight);
problem-solve with your partner (is this the part we need to fix the washing machine? did you reschedule the dentist appointments?) In-box cluttering emails can feel like overkill when all you need is a one-word response;
give your partner a heads’ up about a parenting decision you made (so that he or she doesn’t accidentally say “yes” when you said “no” -- or vice versa);zip your partner a link you know he/she will love. (It may not be the same as those Sunday mornings of yesteryear, but it’s another way of saying, “I was thinking of you.”)
Twitter is also a great tool for connecting with your unofficial parenting board of directors (those friends and family members you turn to for information, support, or a listening ear when you’re grappling with a parenting issue that’s driving you around the bend). TIP: You can make this Twitter account public or private -- but remember that anything you put on the Internet should be treated as being one click away from becoming headline news. So don’t put your deepest, darkest secrets on Twitter, private account or not.
Ready to take the plunge. Here are some of the Canadian parents and parenting resources I follow on Twitter. You might want to consider following some of them, too:
@babyfacts @babyvibe @besthealthmag @canadianfamily @canadian_living @caringforkids @CBCHealth @familyanatomy @invest_in_kids @mississaugakids @parentclub @parentchildcomm @parentsource @ParentsDigest @savvymomdotca @sickkids @sweetmamaca @todaysparent @TVOyourvoice @womenshealthweb @weewelcome @yahoocanadalife @yummymummyclub @alysonschafer @andrea_mcd @anthonyfloyd @averygoodyear @bfmom @bweikle @cathythorne @crabbykate @crunchycarpets @curiousdad @dadcamp @danigirl @dsfq @desireefawn @doulamama @ewiller @justd2004 @karengreeners @kathybuckworth @leftcoastmama @lisaborden @noflashcards @playcon @phdinparenting @rebeccacoleman @scarbiedoll @westenddoula @yoyobelly @yoyomama_vanNote: I tweet about parenting-related resources @themotherofall. For tweets related to writing, life, social justice, etc., you can find me @anndouglas.