How to Create a Family Blog

A family blog is an easy way to keep in touch with your family and friends.

You can create a family blog in 4 easy steps.

1. Choose a Family Blog Provider

You have two choices when creating a family blog: do it yourself or find an online service that handles all the hassle for you.

The do-it-yourself route will require some technical expertise that is beyond the scope of this article.

If you choose to use an online family blog service, make sure you can try it out to see if it will work for your family’s needs.

2. Private or Public

Decide if you want to have your family blog visible to the entire world or just those you invite. There are advantages and disadvantages to both public and private family blogs.

If you are concerned about privacy and keeping your family’s information, pictures, and happenings private, then you should consider a private family blog.

Make sure the family blog provider you select allows you to keep all information private. Be careful with some sites with complicated privacy settings that make it hard to tell what is or isn’t being shared.

3. Start Writing

The foundation of creating your family blog consists of the stories, pictures, videos, and news that you want to share. Start by writing a couple of posts about the highlights of your last week with your family.

4. Invite Family and Friends

Make sure you have some posts and messages in place before you start inviting people over to read your family blog. You don’t want to make a big deal about inviting people over if there isn’t anything to see yet.

Check to see if your family blog provider has a way to automatically let others know when you make updates to your family blog. This will save you the time of having to both write a post and manually inform people that you’ve got something new to read.

How to Login to Your Family Says Site

To login to your FamilySays.com site, you’ll need to visit the custom site address for your site.

When an account is created, the site administrator chooses a personalized address like:
http://smith.familysays.com

To login to your site:

  1. Type in your custom address (like http://smith.familysays.com) into your browser’s location bar.
  2. Enter your username
  3. Enter your password
  4. Click the “Sign In” button

If a family member invited you to a Family Says site and you don’t remember the address, double check your email inbox for the original message your family member sent you. That email will contain the address. Alternatively, you can contact your family member directly and ask that they resend you the invitation.

If you are having trouble logging into your site, please let us know and we’ll help you out.

How to Add a Quick Thought

Sometimes you want to share something with your family but don’t want to write a big message to do it. This could be something that happened with your family today, with your kids, or just an idea that was on your mind.

You can add a “Quick Thought” on your “Home” tab of your site and quickly share that thought with your family and friends.

This video shows you how to add, edit, or delete a “Quick Thought” on your site:

Who can add “Quick Thoughts”?
Site administrators and authors can add “Quick Thoughts”. Guests can see these thoughts but can not add them. Authors can edit their own thoughts but not those of other authors.

How many “Quick Thoughts” can I have?

Like messages on your Family Says site, you can have unlimited “Quick Thoughts.”

Family Says Wins Famous Website Award

Famous_Website

FamilySays.com has been awarded the “Famous Website Award” by famouswhy.com:

We recommend this website because it provides simple tools to keep in touch with other family members invited within a private channel through the internet.

The “Famous Website Award” recognizes:

– originality, creativity and vision;

– fantastic design;

– excellent structure;

– user friendliness;

– professional appearance;

– the strength of “mind print” and the impact made in visitors’ minds;

Thanks for the review and award FamousWhy.com.

You can read their entire review here:
http://www.famouswhy.com/Site_Blog/FamilySays.com/693.html

New and Improved Picture Uploader

We’ve heard your feedback and have made some changes … for the better.

Your FamilySays site now has the capability to upload multiple photos at one time when adding pictures to your message. The new function replaces the previous single picture uploader.

How to Upload Pictures

To upload multiple pictures, click on the “Write” tab. Add the title for your message, the message, and choose where to file it.

On Step 4, you’ll notice that the gray Browse box has been replaced by a blue “Select Pictures to Upload” button. When you click it, a window opens that lets you to browse to the picture files to be accessed. Select all of the pictures you’d like to add to your message by pressing the “Ctrl” button (Windows users) or “Command” key (Mac users) while clicking on the desired pictures, and then select “Open.”

The pictures you selected will begin uploading to your message, and when the upload for that picture is completed, a thumbnail photo will appear to the left.

When all of your pictures are uploaded, you can add captions, delete photos, and reorder photos. Photos are reordered by simply clicking on the thumbnail of the picture to move, dragging while continuing to hold the mouse button down, and dropping in the new location.

This new picture uploader requires Javascript to be enabled and Flash to be installed and running on your computer.

If you have difficulties with this new function or simply prefer to upload your pictures one at a time, there is a link under the blue “Select Pictures to Upload” button that says “Try this alternative picture uploader.” Clicking that link will take you to the prior version where you can upload single pictures.

If you should note an excessively long upload time for your pictures, you may want to try uploading them in smaller batches (i.e., 10 at a time instead of 25).

Increased Storage Space

As an added courtesy to our FamilySays users, we have raised the storage space for your pictures. If you currently have a Basic Family Plan, your storage space is now 1 GB (up from 200 MB). If you currently use the Family Reunion Plan, your storage space is now 3 GB (up from 500MB). We hope this will give you the freedom to share the photos you want with your family and friends without worrying about running out of space.

How to enable javascript in your web browser

Many of the features of FamilySays.com use a technology called javascript.

In order to use your FamilySays.com site to post messages, add calendar entries, or update your address book, you’ll need to make sure your web browser has javascript enabled.

To enable javascript do the following based on what web browser you have:

Windows Internet Explorer

To allow scripting on this Web site only, and to leave scripting disabled in the Internet zone, add this Web site to the Trusted sites zone.

1. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options, and then click the Security tab.
2. Click the Internet zone.
3. If you do not have to customize your Internet security settings, click Default Level. Then do step 4

If you have to customize your Internet security settings, follow these steps:
a. Click Custom Level.
b. In the Security Settings – Internet Zone dialog box, click Enable for Active Scripting in the Scripting section.

4. Click the Back button to return to the previous page, and then click the Refresh button to run scripts.

Mozilla Firefox

1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
2. On the Content tab, click to select the Enable JavaScript check box.
3. Click the Go back one page button to return to the previous page, and then click the Reload current page button to run scripts.

Safari
1. Choose Safari > Preferences.
2. Click Security.
3. Make sure these checkboxes are selected: Enable Plug-ins, Enable Java, and Enable JavaScript.
4. Make sure this checkbox is not selected: “Block pop-up windows.”

Opera

1. On the Tools menu, click Preferences.
2. On the Advanced tab, click Content.
3. Click to select the Enable JavaScript check box, and then click OK.
4. Click the Back button to return to the previous page, and then click the Reload button to run scripts.

Netscape browsers

1. Select Edit, Preferences,Advanced
2. Click to select Enable JavaScript option.

How to Install the Flash Player

In order to upload multiple pictures when writing a message on FamilySays.com, you’ll need to make sure you have the free Adobe Flash Player installed and working in your web browser.

You can download and install the free Adobe Flash Player here:
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

Private bloggers still stay connected at Family Says

I am a fan of blog feeds. It makes my world so much easier to just have one place to go to see what’s new with my friends instead of checking each of their individual blogs. However, one of the catches of blog feeds is that you can’t subscribe to blogs that are private. You have to go check each one of those individually, and generally with a user name and password. So I completely sympathized when one of my friends ranted on her blog about five people she knew who were taking their blogs private. But I also sympathized with those five friends, since I am also one of those private bloggers.

Fortunately, Family Says provides a silver lining for both the private and the friends of the private. Email notifications. Yes, regardless of whether you have a Family Reunion or a Basic Family Says plan, any author or guest will receive an email notification with a link to the new posting as soon as something new is added to your site. This feature can also be turned off by individual authors or guests if they desire. In order to receive email notifications, a user name and password is required to initially log into your site, but if cookies are enabled in your browser, your authors and guests can bypass the login step by clicking on the link included in the email.

It’s a wonderfully simple solution that keeps everyone happy without having to compromise privacy or staying in touch.

Report Finds Internet Helps Family Communication

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a study about the impact of Internet and cell phone use on family communication.

Overall, the results indicate that the Internet has enabled families to draw closer together and strengthen their relationships:

One-third (33%) of online adults say that the internet has improved their connections with friends “a lot,” and nearly one-quarter (23%) say that it has greatly improved their connections with members of their family.

While the research isn’t always clear on the difference between Internet and cell phone usage, it offers some very interesting insights into how families use these technologies to their benefit.

Family blogs are just one way you can stay in touch with family and friends. This electronic medium can help solidify those family links even if you are physically very far apart.

Public Family Blog vs. Private Family Blog

One of the reasons blogging has become so popular is that you can share information about yourself and family with anyone you want without the feel of spamming your entire email contact list. You can even share pictures and videos without crashing email. It really is a fun way share information about yourself and exchange information with other people you care about.

When it comes to family blogs, you have to decide if you want to open your blog to public viewing or keep it restricted to those you invite with a private family blog.

Public Blogs

People like public blogs because you can search for old friends and if they have a blog, voila! You can connect. There are many public blog services available, making it accessible to anyone who has a computer.

People also like public blogs because you can subscribe to a blog feed. A blog feed allows you to enter the URLs of any website you frequently visit, and when you visit your feed page, you can see at a glance who has updated any content to their blog or web page. (Most private blogs cannot be added to blog feeds.) You can keep track of your favorite blog feeds with tools like Google Reader or Bloglines.

If you have no reservations about having what you put on a blog seen by literally anyone in the entire world, a public blog is a good way to go.

Cautions with a Public Family Blog

Anyone, truly ANYONE, can stumble on your site. Our friends posted a funny picture of their 2-year old playing with his plastic golf clubs in the backyard while he was naked. The picture was censored but the blog title was “Naked Golfer.” They discovered that all sorts of weirdos were visiting their site who had done a Google search using those key words. Needless to say, they ended up deleting that post. Blog stalkers are a reality.

If you have a public blog, keep the information as generic as possible. Try to avoid using first and last names, street addresses, other contact information like email, physical descriptions, or things like genealogical information. You don’t want to make it possible for blog stalkers to put two and two together and end up on your doorstep.

We’re not trying to scare you but rather just to caution: be smart about what you say. Some people go to the extreme of identifying family members by their initials or referring to their children as “the boy” or “the kids.” Many people don’t worry about it that much. With the millions of blogs out there, it’s easy to gamble on the chance that the weirdos probably will not find you. However, Google and other search engines will find your blog eventually and then it will be at the finger tips of anyone with Internet access.

Advantages of a Private Family Blog

If you are concerned about weirdos reading about your kid’s birthday party or looking at your family photos, you may want to consider a private blog.

Obviously, privacy is a big motivator for those of us who go that route and was one of the reasons we built Family Says in the first place.

With a private family blog, you have more control over who is looking at the things you put out there. You still have all the benefits of blogging but not as many of the risks.

Private family blogs generally require a user name and password. The good news with this is that friends and family tend to respect your desire for privacy so it’s generally not too much of an issue.