SPEAKER INTERVIEW: Helen Jane Hearn

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This is a series of interviews with the speakers of Digital Family Summit, June 29-July 1.
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Helen Jane HearnHelen Jane Hearn is the Director of Content Operations at Federated Media where she finds creative patrons to support the art of the independent web. Helen Jane has written at helenjane.com since 1998. An entertaining enthusiast, Helen Jane is also a certified specialist of wine and founder of Cheesewhizzes, a nation-wide cheese tasting club (featured in Food & Wine magazine). Helen Jane has spoken at SXSW, the Foodbuzz Festival, Mom 2.0 and was a keynote speaker at the 2011 EVO conference. Helen Jane is also captain of her bocce team, Joanie Loves Bocce. She lives and plays in Napa Valley with her husband and two toddler daughters.

twitter: @helenjane
websites: HelenJane.com, Federated Media
session: The 21st-Century Paper Route, Saturday June 30 11:15am-12:30pm

How did you get involved with blogging?
I started updating helenjane.com with what I was doing in 1998, as a way to keep friends and family updated with what I was doing. I was hired as the first “paid” blogger in 2002 to cover the making of the movie “I Love Your Work.” (http://www.salon.com/2003/02/24/hollyblog/) The movie didn’t quite pan out as we had hoped, but this blog thing sure has. Since then, on my web site, I’ve met my husband, got married, had children, made the best kind of friends and gotten my current job at Federated Media.

What blogs do you read regularly?
http://www.mom-101.com/
Essays through her personal experience, always real, always relevant.
http://www.thehairpin.com An incredible community has popped up in the comments — their site is truly an example of a successful community.
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ Bite sized guidance for this new economy.

What’s the biggest danger/opportunity facing digital teens & their families today?
We can make this digital space safe, positive and lucrative. It’s an amazing opportunity — and it doesn’t have to be scary, negative or wasteful. The biggest danger is that harsh feedback is given with no thought, but absorbed with all our hearts, souls and minds. We need to evolve past taking “UR DUM” to heart. We’re on our way, but still have a long way to go.

What are you going to talk about at the conference?
Practical information about how you can make money with your blog in a way that’s positive and inspirational.

What’s next for you after the Digital Family Summit?
For Federated Media, I’m currently working on a comprehensive blogger education and recognition program — some basic and advanced “How to Blog…” as well as a more formal — and professional — recognition platform (especially for emerging blogging talent!). As well, I’m working diligently on my two personal passion projects, a home entertaining blog set to launch this holiday season and a self-published magazine. After this, I’ll be attending EVO Conference and BlogHer this summer.

Any advice for young bloggers/digital media creators just starting out?
Attention is the new currency, just like with money, be mindful where you spend it or accept it from.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com

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