2013 DIGIFAM SPEAKER: Leticia Barr

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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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Leticia BarrLeticia Barr is the founder of Tech Savvy Mama. She is a DC Metro area dwelling mom of 2 with a background in classroom technology integration and school administration who uses everything she learned from in her previous career in her current one as a professional blogger, Parents.com columnist, and social media strategist. She frequently advises brands dedicated to protecting kids both in real life and in the ever-changing online and mobile spaces about family internet safety and security issues.  Leticia is a seasoned speaker whose work has been recognized by Parents Magazine’s Editors’ Pick for Best Tech BlogBabble’s Top 100 Mom Blogs, and among the 50 Top Twitter Moms by Babble.

twitter: @TechSavvyMama
website: Tech Savvy Mama

How did you get involved with blogging?

I started blogging as a hobby to help my good friend, Jessica McFadden with content about education and technology for her newly launched A Parent in Silver Spring site. I’ve always loved to write and teach others but Jessica encouraged me to start my own site and less than a month later, Tech Savvy Mama was launched and became my place to share my expertise about technology and education from my perspective as a parent and educator.

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

The one site I use daily is PicMonkey to create collages and images for my blog posts. While the free version is fabulous, the paid subscription is highly affordable and allows you to create stunning images in seconds thanks to a great font library, images and more plus there’s always new features being added! I also can’t live without PicStitch and Over on my phone for Instagram photos. Also, spell check is key for any writer in addition to having a couple great friends who are happy to take a look at your content and provide you with honest feedback.

What blogs do you read regularly?

1) Techlicious.com gives me a run down of all the hot tech news plus helpful advice with a parent slant.
2) I virtually met Laura Trevey from BoldBrightBeautiful.com through a campaign we worked on together and her site is design eye candy that inspires me to declutter and organize. I could stare at it for hours! 

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

If I could give myself any advice to my teenage self, it would be that the drama that you get caught up in the present, won’t be in the future. Separate yourself from the drama and those who cause it and focus on being the best you that you can possibly be. In the long run, you’ll be far happier.

Any advice for young bloggers?

You know that the things that you put on the internet live there forever so make sure that what you’re putting out there is the best reflection of you that it can possibly be. People notice when you take your time to create thoughtful content that’s well written and produced. After all, you never know who is seeing your content and where it might lead and you always want to have the best digital reputation possible.

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

I think the greatest danger to digital tweens and teens is impulsivity. You may be thoughtful and careful in your actions but your friends could be and sometimes their actions affect you online. Knowing when to stand up, seek assistance from an adult, or when to walk away are important especially when we see others being mistreated online. Serve as a model digital citizen for your peers and you won’t stand alone.

What are you going to talk about at the conference?

We talk about being healthy but do we stop to think about what it means to be digitally well? In an age where we have so many mobile devices and social networks to update and check, in addition to great blogs to read, emails to answer, and viral YouTube videos to watch, it’s a challenge to not be compelled by the technology we own. We’ll be looking at the real challenges and rewards that come with technology as we hear from parents of kids of all ages.

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

Blogging, working in social media, and consulting has afforded me with some incredible connections to amazing technology companies who I am so fortunate to partner with as I look to continue to provide sustainable technology professional development to artisans in Haiti that is being chronicled through the new Bloggers4Haiti.com site.

I first traveled Haiti in January 2012 to see the country through my own eyes, separate from the reports of poverty and destruction that were depicted on the news after the devastating earthquake. I was impressed by the work ethic and perseverance of those we met, especially when asked by a group of paper mache artists, living in earthquake’s epicenter, if they could get a computer to learn to blog too. The simple request made me vow to return to teach them the technology skills they wanted in order to be able to share their art and stories with a global community.

Since then, I’ve been building Bloggers4Haiti.com to serve as resource for people to get to know the artists that we’ve visited, share the technology training that we’ve done that has made a huge impact, highlight our corporate partners such as Microsoft, and archive of the stories we’ve shared after viewing Haiti through our own eyes. The site is also a place where others can learn how to get involved. We’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon to benefit the women of OFEDA (http://www.ofeda.com/) but there are also links to places like Macy’s Heart of Haiti and MaidenNation.com that sell handmade pieces by Haitian artists whose proceeds go directly back to the artists to help them create a better life for themselves and their families.

Being involved in Bloggers4Haiti.com brings together my background in teaching, love of travel, and passion for technology to help others improve their lives through sustainable income. It’s a powerful probono project that I’m doing in addition to all of the other things I do as a blogger, freelance writer, consultant, and parent but is incredibly satisfying.

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

I’m passionate about finding balance in my life when it comes to work and family so I make a point to unplug when my kids get home so we can focus on being together. It’s our time to work on homework together, read books, go outside and garden in our organic vegetable garden, make dinner together, or just do whatever we want to do. Unplugging makes me feel more connected to my kids and I feel so fortunate to have a job that allows me to do so.



 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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