Parents love to talk about their kids, and social media sites are avenues for parents to tell stories and share pictures with everyone they know. For most people, Facebook is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about social media. The problem is that many parents on Facebook tend to overdo it, dumping pictures of their children by the dozen day after day, filling up their friends’ news feeds and forcing them to scroll through a family slideshow every time they log on.
This kind of activity can tend to be annoying to many Facebook members. Status updates like “All of you parents need to stop posting sooooo many pictures of your kids!!!” or “OK! I get it! You love your kid!” are relatively common. This is understandable, since ó especially for young parents ó a good percentage of your Facebook friends probably aren’t parents and would rather not have to wade through this deluge of kid-related photos and updates. One or two every now and then, sure, but a constant flow can get to be too much.
In an effort to avoid angering all the Facebook friends that I hold dear, I started looking for and asking about social media sites specifically for parents, particularly ones that are welcoming of all of this “look at my kid” behavior. I found a bunch of them, many of which are family-focused or specifically for moms, but after some more digging, I also found quite a few just for dads. And I have to be honest ó since I’m a dad that loves being a dad, and I like to talk to other dads that love being dads, I’m a little biased and found myself most excited about the sites specifically for fathers. After all, this series is called “The New Father.” But don’t worry, moms, I included a few sites just for you too.
We’ll start with family-centered sites, ones for moms and dads:
BabyCenter.com. This site was recommended to me by Amanda Vega, founder of Amanda Vega Consulting, who described the site as “where all of the things you Google actually have answers from professionals and moms.” In addition to a plethora of information, the site also has the BabyCenter Community, where you can meet, connect, and build social networks with other parents, share photos and family stories, and seek advice.
Lifeables.com. “Our site, Lifeables, is a social media service that allows parents to automatically collect the little moments from across their social networks and then tell the story of their children’s lives, either on our site or back out through their social networks,” says Karen Macumber, CEO of Lifeables. What they do is allow you to compile all the pictures, videos, and comments you want, and use them to tell your child’s story. They can even gather all of these for you from your Facebook or other social media accounts. You can then post them on Lifeables.com and/or other social media sites.
YadaHome.com. This site allows families to plan and organize their lives, join groups, meet people, make friends, discuss topics, and more. You can meet parents, build a network, post to-do lists, events, photos, messages, and more to your “fridge,” and share them with the friends in your network.
Dooce.com. This is a lighthearted blog about parenting and the chaos that can ensue in a family household. The creator of this site has developed the Dooce Community that allows all of her readers to connect, interact, ask questions, and share their own stories. You can browse through categories, join groups, and participate in the latest discussions.
Type-A Parent. This site was developed to be an online community for parents who blog. Here, you can browse through the long list of blog topics, participate in discussion forums, post your own blogs, and join groups where you can share your parenting adventures. They even have a group called “Dads Blogging.”
Now, on to the sites for moms:
Circle of Moms. This site has it all for moms, including recipes, advice, experts to answer questions, a long, long list of topics you can read about and discuss, and a large number of communities you can join. You can also connect with their more than 10 million members, meet other moms, get and give support and advice, and share your personal stories.
CafeMom. This site was established first and foremost to give moms ó just moms ó a place to meet, connect, and make friends with other moms. There is a wide variety of groups, each one designed for specific types of moms, such as military moms, pregnant moms, and more. They also want the site to be a place where moms can give and get advice, be entertained, laugh, vent, or just have other moms to talk to.
Butterfly. This site was created for working moms and moms about to step back into their career. They have advice and information sections for a variety of topics, including health, child care, finance, travel, and career coaching. You can also connect and chat with other moms, join groups, participate in discussion forums, and build and share photo albums.
And finally, the section we’ve all been waiting for (or at least I’ve been waiting for), where each site is full of sweat, dirt and… well, diapers ó the dad sites:
Brand New Dad. This is a site specifically for new and expecting dads. It’s both a resource center and a social networking site. You can read blogs about fatherhood and articles about what to expect and what to do with your baby on a month-to-month basis for the first year of his or her life, and about finance and budgeting. You can also talk with other dads, seek advice, give advice, and participate in discussion forums.
JustDaddys.net. This is a forum-based social network site designed to be “a place for dads to be dads.” Their long list of discussion forums includes titles such as Sports, Cooking and Entertainment, Gamers, The Funny Farm, Single Fathers, and Cars, Boats, Planes, and other fast things. There are forums about raising kids of every age, from infants to high schoolers, potty training, losing a child, and more. They even have The Daddy Lounge, where dads can just talk about being a dad or any other random thing that might be on their minds.
Single Dad. This site provides articles, how-to guides, advice, and other resources specifically for single dads. They also have an open forum where dads can start discussion threads about whatever topics they want. Their nationwide network of close to 10,000 members allows single dads to connect, build circles of friends, create and share photo albums, create and join groups, host and attend events, and find other single dads in your area to meet up with.
AtHomeDad.org and DadStaysHome.com. Both of these sites are dedicated to stay-at-home dads. AtHomeDad.org provides resources and information for stay-at-home dads, and a long list of dad blogs. They also have discussion forums and groups you can join to connect, interact, and meet up with other dads, and a place for you to share and view photos. DadStaysHome.com is a place for stay-at-home dads to discuss topics, share stories, give and get advice, and just talk about fatherhood. They also have forums where dads can connect with other dads in their area for play groups, meetups, and events.
Dad Labs. This is another all-things-dad site. They have videos teaching dads everything from baby proofing your home, to top ten baby toys, to ab exercises you can do with your baby. There is a blog section where dads can share their stories. They also have a long list of forums where dads can discuss a variety of topics, including sports, toys, gadgets, sleep deprivation, mommy issues, and children’s books. There are also threads for specific types of dads, including military dads, dads of twins, gay dads, step dads, dads of faith, and more.
And if none of these are what you’re looking for, there are plenty more social media sites for parents out there. The point is, there are other sites that allow you to gush about your kids and share all the pictures and messages you want without subjecting your diverse group of Facebook friends to your parenting adventures. Not only that, but you can also talk to other parents who know exactly what you’re going through and can give you the support and advice you need. You can also use what you’ve learned from your own experiences to help other parents. You may even be able to build a whole new circle of parenting friends.