Many of our readers have written to ask why we use Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, and other social media sites?
Others have asked whether we think it is safe for children.
There are a couple of reasons why we use these tools.
1. We love to be in contact with our friends and our readers this way. In Facebook and Twitter I get the chance to feel the pulse of the heartbeat of my readers. I know what you are talking about ,what you are doing with your family, what you are researching on the web, and what you are writing in your own blogs. This will often give me an idea for an article that will help many, many readers.
2. It is instantaneous information. At times I read a great article (or write an article) and using Facebook and Twitter, I can share it immediately with those who choose to be my facebook friend or twitter follower. It may be too time sensitive to share in my next newsletter, or it may be something I think is interesting, but maybe not planning to put in my newsletter. I also hear about other publishers’ specials, sales, and giveaways through an online group I am in for Christian publishers, and I can share that as well.
3. We can give and seek help quickly for a variety of problems. I was researching how to make a “button” for our website and one of my friends got online and said her son could help me. He did a fabulous job and saved me hours and hours of work. I also had a Quickbook Pro Professional contact me one day when I twittered that I was struggling to learn Quickbooks. This type of instant internet community has been a real blessing. I have also had folks contact me to answer questions for them related to my area of expertise. I get parenting questions, cooking questions, and homeschooling questions all the time.
4. As a web based ministry and business, search engine optimization is everything. So, each time one of my readers sends a link to one of my articles out there in the world wide web, Google and other search engines “crawl” my site and helps it move up the ranks. Why do I care if my site is up the ranks? Well, putting tons of effort into a site with three readers a month would not be good stewardship of my time. When our site is read and used by thousands a month, then it makes is an appropriate way to spend my time. Encouraging and equipping women is the whole point of Homemaking 911. In the modern day version of Titus 2, I can reach folks all over the planet with a message of hope. Not hope in their own skills, but a message of hope in Christ Jesus our Lord. When a woman comes to our site to learn about any number of topics and finds the information they need PLUS the message of Jesus Christ, then our site is worthwhile. Also, this site helps support our family. While it does not make tons of money each month, what it does make goes directly to helping pay for our homeschool materials, my daughter’s college tuition, and other necessities for our family.
Finally on the question about children using these tools:
Our oldest daughter (18) does use these tools. She actually has a small business where she helps other people and small businesses set up their facebook, twitter, linked in, etc. accounts. However, just like any and all internet interactions, I suggest you be as vigilant as you can in staying with your children when they are on the internet. In our house, the adults (my husband, oldest daughter, and I ) all have access to one another’s passwords and computers. My husband and I can easily access one another’s and our daughter gives us access to hers. This helps keep us accountable and safe.
Our younger children do not have access to these tools. They are too young and innocent to be made aware of the dangers of other people on the internet who would prey upon them. They do not understand yet what is and is not appropriate information to share. Frankly, since they are home educated, I see no reason whatsoever to share that information with them at this time. They know a few basics, but really, having Mommy or Daddy or big Sister present is the only safety net they should need for a long, long time. If you do let your children have these accounts, be careful and cautious. Stay next to them on the computer and teach them from very little that they will have NO secrets from you on the computer. The only secrets allowed are birthday and Christmas surprises. When you decide they are ready for using these types of tools, make sure their hearts are open to you sitting with them, you seeing their “chats” if you permit that, and you accessing all their accounts. If they are not, I would say they are not emotionally mature enough to have those types of temptations.