2013 DIGIFAM SPEAKER: Jill Berry

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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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Jill BerryJill Berry is a blogging mom raising a kid, a tween, and a teen in the Baltimore area.  Her tween gives her a lot to blog about on her personal blog Musings From Me.  Jill is the Preteen editor at TypeAMom,  a regular contributor to DCMetroMoms , and also the Baltimore Examiner.  Her former life as a Senior Editor for a health care publisher did not prepare her for raising kids/tweens/teens, but it does help her to spot typos in any book, magazine, or newspaper she reads.

 twitter: @baltimoretweens, @musingsfromme, @YoursphereMom
website: http://www.musingsfromme.com


How did you get involved with blogging?

Pre-kids, I was a production editor for a health care publisher. I was able to be creative, detail-oriented, and use my English major. Post-kids, I did the same job, except I did from my home. By the time my oldest was entering kindergarten, I was a wreck. Too little time to work. Too little daycare. Two kids who demanded my time and attention. To save what little sanity I had left, I took time off to recharge my batteries and to have a 3rd child. As that child approached kindergarten age, I knew I needed to prepare to enter the job market. Enrolling in a graduate program was my first step in the process, but after a semester or two I realized that the program wasn’t what I wanted. So it was back to square one. Enter the blog I started while I was in graduate school. I would search for jobs, get discouraged, and start writing on my blog. Bit by bit, I started received products from brands that I would review on my blog. After a few months of job searching. I realized that I had found my perfect job…blogging. It was right there all the time!

Who are your Creative Heroes?

Does it sound childish to say J.K. Rowling? While she may be an author of books beloved by children, as an adult I draw much inspiration from her. The thought of J.K. Rowling sitting in a coffee shop in Scotland, writing the Harry Potter books as her baby slept in the stroller is fascinating to me. Such dedication to her craft. And what a world she created for her characters! She forgot nothing, left no stone unturned. She fleshed out even the most minor character so that you got to know them.

What blogs do you read regularly?

amalah.com –– Amy Storch writes honestly about her life. One of her children has special needs (autism) and she is very forthcoming about his progress and triumphs.
wouldshoulda.com — Mir shared her daughter’s diagnosis with a mental illness and subsequent hospitalization with her readers. Her honesty in the face of her family’s struggles was heart breaking. But she made the best of a bad situation by having a collection of feminine hygiene products for the kids on her daughter’s unit at the hospital.
anymommyoutthere.com — Stacy writes about her kids — one adopted, three biological. She also shares about giving up a child after adoption when it was clear that she could not raise him.

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

I would tell my 14-year-old self NOT to drop geography. I attended a high school (in England) where there were no guidance counselors, no college research instruction, and certainly no guidance on how to craft a high school schedule. I was left to my own devices when I sat down to create a schedule for 9th grade and on. I desperately wanted to be in a medical field. Health care was my passion, but sadly science and math was not my strong suit. So instead of dropping Physics from my schedule, I dropped geography. The sad part is that I was very good at geography.

Any advice for young bloggers?

My advice to young bloggers/digital media creators is the same as my advice to their adult counterparts. My advice is to “Be yourself.” Sounds simple, right? But kids like adults can fall in to the trap of being who they are not. If you are funny, go for the laughs. But if you are not, don’t force humor in to your writing. People want to read a genuine post about your life, not something that seems contrived or forced. Write honestly and sincerely. And my second piece of advice is to think before you hit the “Post” button. Young bloggers/digital media creators should remember that every blog post, status update, tweet, or photo stays on the internet forever. In the words from that famous WWII poster, “Loose lips sinks ships.” Always be careful what you write online. You are leaving a legacy and you never know who will read what you wrote…your mom, your teacher, your grandmother, or even a college admissions counselor. So think before you tweet!

What are you going to talk about at the conference?

Parents unplugged — It is a moderated discussion with parents about why we need to be connected with technology to be connected to our kids and how we model good behavior and what we do when we finally take time to digitally detox.

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

Blogging, blogging, and more blogging! After working as a brand social media manager a year or so ago, I know that my true passion is blogging. I started out writing about what I love, and 5-plus years later I am still in love with blogging!



 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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