2013 DIGIFAM SPEAKER: Jessica McFadden

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This is a series of interviews with the speakers of Digital Family Summit 2013, October 11-13.
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Jessica McFaddenJessica McFadden is the creator and author of the popular lifestyle blog for parents, A Parent in America, as well as the award-winning hyperlocal parenting website A Parent in Silver Spring, which has been featured in media such as CNN, Forbes, and The Washington Post as a top resource for Washington, DC area parents. Jessica has successfully and creatively incorporated video in both of her websites, growing her readership, viewership and scope of content. Jessica is the host of Real Life Style with Jessica McFadden on MomTV, a monthly live webcast with a cult following. Jessica has also served as a regular contributor to Nickelodeon ParentsConnect, TLC’s Parentables, The Washington Post and Washington, DC-area Patch sites. However, Jessica says that her most important gig is being a wife to Chris and mom to nine-year-old son Charlie, seven-year-old daughter Eve, and two-year-old daughter Alice.

twitter: @jessicamcfadd
website:  http://aparentinamerica.com/
website: http://aparentinsilverspring.com/

How did you get involved with blogging?

I started my first blog, A Parent in Silver Spring.com, in January 2008 as a New Year’s resolution to myself. At the time I was a new stay-at-home mother with a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and I was frustrated that the information about what to do with children in my area was largely word-of-mouth. I wanted to crack the “secret society” of parenting and publish online the best local resources for families. Working in public relations prior to having kids, I was fascinated with efficacy of blogging and social media as communication platforms.

What’s your favorite technology to help you blog/write/tweet/edit?

Flickr’s Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ is a fascinating place to find free images to accompany your articles. Just be sure to attribute the photographer and use the image in a way he or she authorizes.

What blogs do you read regularly?

Each morning before the school run I read TheWashingtonPost.com for local and national news, and several Reuters e-newsletters for quick summaries international and financial news. Later in the morning I check Facebook for posts from my fellow parent bloggers (and I read to many of those to list here!) and Instagram to catch up on their visual contributions.

If you could travel back in time and send yourself a message, what would it be?

Give your mother a break, stop leaving all the reading to the night before a test, and lay off the hairspray!

Any advice for young bloggers?

Before you hit “publish” or “send” on any e-mail, text, or social media post, imagine your entire family and college admissions board reading it.

What do you think is the greatest opportunity for digital teens today?

The wealth of information and convenience of research! I grew up in a small town with only one library and a set of encyclopedias in the living room. I toiled in college at microfiche stalls for hours. It is still mind-blowing to me the access and ease the Internet provides.

What’s the biggest danger facing digital teens & their families today?

I believe that part of tweens and teens’ healthy growing up includes increasing independence and the freedom to make their own decisions. However, I believe that online activity is a completely different arena than traditional tween/teen frontiers such as curfews and unsupervised events with friends. I believe parents should have access to the whole of a teen’s online activity, for their children’s safety and preservation of their online reputations.

What are you going to talk about at the conference?

We are going to delve into video blogging, aka vlogging. Whether you are a seasoned vlogger or totally new to the concept, everyone should leave the session a more effective, polished and engaging vlogger.

What’s next for you after the Digital Family Summit?

When I am not driving my children to swimming, chess and ballet, you will find me frequently blogging about parenting and style at AParentinAmerica.com and activities for DC-area families at AParentinSilverSpring.com. While my preschooler naps I will be recording videos for my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/jesslovmc), and after the kids are tucked in I will be hosting live shows at MomTV.com.

Who are your Creative Heroes?

Whether she is writing page-turner novels or providing keen insights on social issues, Anna Quindlen’s words always move me.

Do you have any hobbies other than digital media creation? What are you passionate about?

Reading, yoga, my women’s prayer group, family travel, frugal style, and attending as many concerts with my husband as our coffers allow!

Anything else you’d like to tell us?



 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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