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Twittering Baby… from the womb!

Michael Broukhim on December 15, 2008 Comments (3)

So, we’ll probably file this one under extreme uses of social media for your baby, but Boing Boing made a recent post about the Kickbee. Pictured below, the Kickbee automatically tweets baby movements and kicks into your twitter stream. And the New York Times thought Twittering from the Cradle was outlandish!

Besides pointing out this wild new contraption, we thought this would be a great opportunity to check in with our users about Twitter. We’ve had many requests for various forms of Twitter integrations with TotSpot - either being able to update TotSpot profiles in various ways from Twitter or being able to broadcast TotSpot updates to twitter. We’re also considering a few different possibilities for Twitter integrations for our upcoming Groups feature.

Given the meteoric rise of Twitter, and the amazing community of parents on Twitter, we definitely want to make incorporating Twitter a priority. But we want to do it smartly! So, TotSpot users, how, if at all, would you like to see us work with Twitter?

Let us know either in comments below or via email!

[via Mashable]

ts-twitterAlso, if you haven’t yet, check out TotSpot’s Twitter account. We will be using it increasingly to make announcements about new features, service updates, and special promotions!

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Jenny McCarthy and Joely Fisher Host TotSpot Launch Party!

Michael Broukhim on Comments (0)

We’ve been pretty busy at TotSpot HQ. So busy, that we haven’t properly shared photos and news about our launch party last month! There are some more great pictures on our Facebook Fan Page (are you a fan yet?) and a wonderful write-up by Celebrity Baby Blog, but we thought it’s never too late to share some more, right here on the TotSpot blog.

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Jenny McCarthy and Joely Fisher graciously hosted the event, which was presented by Little Tikes at the Treehouse Social Club in Los Angeles. The event raised over $15,000 for Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy’s autism research charity. Our entire Southern California user base was invited, and we’re grateful for the incredible turn out, which also included Tori Spelling, Samantha Harris, Kristy Swanson, and their adorable tots. Stay tuned for information about more TotSpot events in the future!

More photos after the break:

(more…)

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TotSpot Groups: Family and Parent Communities, done right - Coming Next Week ;)

adamkatz on December 11, 2008 Comments (3)

Next week, we’re introducing a new beta-feature: Groups.  TotSpot Groups are designed to give you the flexibility and control necessary to build and participate in smart communities.

Groups can be private (only invited/permitted users can join) or public (anyone can participate). In addition, we’ve made the visibility of groups on TotSpot up to you - your group can visible only to members of the group, listed in the TotSpot directory exclusively, or indexable by external search engines. Everything is up to you.

What type of groups do we envision on TotSpot? In talking to you (our users), here are some suggestions - family groups, playgroups, groups built around pre-schools, common interest groups (e.g. Michigan Alums, Parents of Special Needs Children, etc.).

One group type that we’ll be creating automatically is Cohort Groups - common interest groups built around the ages of children. They’ll be Cohort Groups for Parents with Children Born in Spring ‘08, Fall ‘07, etc. Interacting with parents who have children of a similar ages can be an incredibly powerful resource and support system. Participation is these groups is obviously optional, but we think they’ll be a lot of fun and incredibly helpful.

We’re looking for group creators and moderators to help us roll out groups. If you’re interested, send us a note at hello@totspot.com.

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Oops! We found a bug (and fixed it)

Fred Oliveira on December 3, 2008 Comments (0)

Yesterday we added a few new features to Totspot. You may have noticed some of them, like the new profile completeness progress bars on your dashboard, the email digest options and a redesigned invite history page. And one of them introduced a bug that made it impossible to upload photos in the past 24 hours - doh! We’re really sorry!

Good news is, we fixed that bug and those of you who were unable to upload photos (or new videos) to Totspot yesterday will be able to do so now. Sorry about the inconvenience! Hope you’re enjoying Totspot as much as we love working on it for you. As always, feel free to use Get Satisfaction to send us your questions, ideas or feedback about the product!

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Morning Link: Fred Wilson on the Value of Social Media

adamkatz on November 20, 2008 Comments (0)

Not that we do this everyday, but I thought this was a blog post worth citing. Fred Wilson on the value of social media to a VC:

Do You Ever Do Any Real Work?

That’s a question I used to get all of the time in the early days of this blog. I don’t get it so much anymore. Because slowly but surely people are wising up to the fact that blogging is work and its a very valuable use of my time

Take yesterday for example. I wrote a longish blog post on the Union Square Ventures blog about our most recent investment, Boxee. That post got picked up on techmeme where it ran for most of the day yesterday. I don’t yet know how many people visited that post yesterday but I am sure it was thousands of readers

Read the whole thing here.

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Motrin Moms

adamkatz on November 17, 2008 Comments (5)

Motrin is about to test the PR maxim: “all press is good press.” It looks like the company stepped in it today with an ad is that is, at the very least, borderline offensive.

The reaction on Twitter is fast and furious and already there is a viral video response. Motrin’s mistake is a problem common to big media companies, attempted “snarkiness” and often comes off as condescending. Worse still, companies that adopt a conversational tone without actually participating in the conversation come off as phony. Motrin doesn’t actually “feel your pain,” they just focused group this and found a micro-trend. If Motrin had been on Twitter, had a blog, had been in discussions with mom-bloggers and engaged in a back-forth with customers via social media and e-mail, my hunch is that the reaction to this ad would’ve been different…

We’re doing our best to engage in a conversation with our users and potential users. It’s not easy and, I would imagine, it’s even harder for a big company. But, it’s no longer optional. To introduce new products, to test-drive marketing, to promote new features, and to remedy mistakes, we need to have a relationship with our users.

Motrin needs to salvage the best of a bad situation by opening a dialogue with, not only the people it offended, but all its customers. If it does that, it just might come out ahead…

(HT: Mashable)

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Jeff Jarvis: Is Google Good or Evil? Good.

adamkatz on Comments (0)

This is slightly off-topic, but is interesting nonetheless. Jeff Jarvis posted the text of his prepared opening statement from an upcoming debate: the motion at issue: “Google violates its ‘don’t be evil’ motto. Not sure where exactly I stand, but Jeff (against the motion) is a really smart guy (as is Harry Lewis on the opposite side) and I think he raises some good points:

Leavening the impression of - or fear of - evil is Google’s virtue. Google does good. Our world is a better place because of Google. Consider:

* Google has opened up the world’s digital knowledge to everyone. We can answer any question, satisfy any curiosity, fix any error of fact in the blink of an eye. I wanted to know just how fast that is, so I asked Google how fast an eye blinks and in .3 seconds it told me that a blink takes .3 seconds.

* Google respects the wisdom of the crowd - that is the essence of the PageRank that determines which search results are most relevant. Google also enables us to recapture our wisdom, as it does with its analysis of flu trends based on our searches for related words.

Read the whole thing here.

Comments welcome…

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Jenny McCarthy Presses Obama on Autism at TotSpot Launch Party

Michael Broukhim on November 11, 2008 Comments (0)

Jenny McCarthy urges Obama on Autism at TotSpot Launch Party

In the coming days, we’re going to share with you some really special memories from our launch party, which took place this past Sunday in Los Angeles. We’re still catching our breath from the event, to which we invited our Southern California users and many other special friends of TotSpot, but already one of the many powerful moments was shared by MomLogic in an interview with our gracious host Jenny McCarthy.

Check out the video here. More to come soon!

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Change You Can Believe In

adamkatz on November 8, 2008 Comments (25)

TotSpot is now five-months old. Since launching our public beta in June, TotSpot users (now nearly 25,000 strong) have provided us with great feedback. To our users: You are constructive, helpful, and incredibly patient. Thank you.

Over the past 6 weeks, we’ve been working on an upgrade to TotSpot that incorporates much of this feedback, and more importantly, will enable us to incorporate your future feedback even faster. We’ll be publishing these changes shortly and we thought it a good idea to update you on our goals for the upgrade:

  • Incorporate parents into TotSpot - Our focus at TotSpot remains the kids, but it’s clear to us that having the TotSpot experience flow completely through your child’s identity was cause for confusion. So, we’ve enabled parents to have a basic presence on the site (in the form of a mini-profile and friend relationships) that will make the service much easier to use and TotSpot a much stronger community. What does that mean for you?
  • Login system: Moving forward, you’ll login with your e-mail address rather than your child’s username.
  • Community: Incorporating parents into TotSpot will make it possible to improve the TotSpot community. Expect more community features that will make TotSpot a more rewarding experience.
  • Single Dashboard: Once logged in, there will be no more switching between multiple child accounts and dashboards. Everything you do on TotSpot can be controlled and accessed from a single ‘parent dashboard.’
  • Friendships: Rather than structure friendships through the kids, parents will make friends with other adults. By becoming friends with another parent (adult), you’ll be able to see the profiles of that person’s children and they’ll be able to see the profiles you’ve created.
  • Profiles: Everybody on TotSpot gets a profile. If you’re a parent, your ‘mini-profile’ will contain links to your children’s profiles.
      • Make having more than one child on TotSpot easier - There are a lot of parents out there with more than one child on TotSpot. Right now, TotSpot is way too much of a burden for these users. As of today, each child has their own set of friends, family members and friends must be invited separately for each kid, and adding content or making any sort of changes requires users to toggle between each child’s account. This is going to change. With the upgraded site, since you’ll login as the parent, your Dashboard will allow you to input content for each of your children without changing screens. Since your friends will be centralized around your identity (rather than your child’s identity), you’ll only have to invite family and friends once. It will all be much easier.
      • Enable parents to share ownership of children’s profiles - Frequently, users tell us that they want to enable a spouse or a grandparent to be a joint-administrator or manager of their child’s page. With the new update, not only will you be able to assign contributors (users that have the ability to upload photos and videos to your child’s page, but nothing more), you’ll also be able to give friends or family members full administrative privileges as “managers.” These managers will be able to update your child’s bio, invite new friends, and select additional managers and contributors.
      • Add the ability to upload video directly to TotSpot - This is a big one. Soon, you’ll be able to upload video directly to TotSpot instead of having to use YouTube or Vimeo. Each month, you’ll be able to upload up to 25 mb of footage to TotSpot. If you want additional space, starting in December, we’ll be launching TotSpot Pro, a premium service, that offers more storage. Note: To thank you for your support during the public beta and introduce direct video uploads, we’re giving away 2 GB of storage this month to all of our users. Any video you upload this month, you’ll be able to keep on your account, even if you don’t sign-up for TotSpot Pro in December.
      • Allow users to create-your-own Firsts - We get a ton of suggestions for Firsts and, though we try, we can’t keep up with them.  To make things easier, we’ve decided to enable users to write their own firsts. With the new update, when you go to the Firsts page, you’ll be able to select a “Custom” tab. On this screen, you’ll be able to write your own First.

      We’re excited about these and several dozen other changes that we’ve made and hope they contribute to an enhanced overall user experience for you and to a more rapidly improving product over time. One things for sure, if something could be better, we ask you, as always, to let us know. These changes are in response to your feedback and only through your feedback will we know if we’ve done a good job.

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      Finding a Babysitter Online

      adamkatz on October 17, 2008 Comments (3)

      TotSpot parents (and all parents for that matter) are a busy bunch. To the extent we can, we are going try and highlight decent articles from around the web that might be useful and save some time. To wit:

      Mashable’s Mark Dykeman does a pretty good job reviewing sites that help parents find a babysitter online.

      Included in his list are dedicated offerings:

      NannyFlower, CanadianSitter.ca (Canada-only), Babysitters.com, and Sittercity

      and standard posting boards:

      Kijiji, Craigslist

      Not to quibble too much, but there were a few sites Mark missed:

      Care.com (we’re friendly with some people there), Babysitters4hire.com (Dr. Phil-endorsed), and 4Sitters.com

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