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Moms joining social networking sites

September 22, 2008 8:44:16 PM PDT
The social networking sites MySpace and Facebook combined boast well over 200 million users worldwide.And they're not all teenagers and twenty-somethings.

Some moms admit they're on those sites to spy on their kids. You might know some of them. But most say they log on for themselves.

"I think I actually have close to 4,000 personal photos on my Facebook page," said Jena Johnson, social networking mom.

Whether it's a career tool, a place to share their views or a way to set up play dates, women are uploading their personal information and using these social networking sites as "mom's space."

Their pictures, profiles and groups are plastered on MySpace and Facebook. "Single moms who need to vent," "Unsoccer moms of Chicago," "Asian moms," "Latina moms," "Black moms" and even groups of teens saying: "No to moms on Facebook."

"Moms on Facebook - oh yeah, we're cool too," said mom Kelly Shaba.

Some moms in Des Plaines recently came up with that name and created a Facebook group that now includes hundreds of moms from around the world. They grew tired of people questioning why they were on Facebook.

"So I'm 30. I have a child. I have a minivan. So I don't have a social life anymore? So I started the Moms on Facebook. We're cool, too, smiley face," said Johnson.

Now, they're constantly connected to each other along with friends from the past.

Some moms say they don't even have to go out to playgrounds and kid-friendly places as much to meet other moms with young kids. Facebook and MySpace have become their high-speed virtual connections.

"As a working mom, I don't have time to go sit in a park or sit in a park and try to find other moms," said Emily Whalen.

Whalen just created a group called "Elgin moms." She said her goal is to use it to find other working moms and schedule playdates.

From a Bronzville coffee shop, Toya Randolph keeps tabs on her friends while her kids are in school.

"My Facebook is connected with my Blackberry, so I can get updates about my friends and contacts on there. And it's a great way to stay connected," she said.

"I already have 77 friends," said Catherine Terpstra.

One of Terpstra's "friends" is her daughter in college. Sure, she can peek at her daughter's pictures and wall posts. But Terpstra said she mainly uses her page to promote her real estate business in Bloomingdale.

"For younger kids, too, that are getting ready to buy and they want to know how much they need to save and what the process is," she said.

ComScore, a company that tracks website traffic, says there are 11.5 million moms between the ages of 25-54 on MySpace and 6.5 million on Facebook, however, Facebook's number increased 30 percent in the last year and MySpace's declined 11 percent.

Facebook says its simpler look and applications are designed to target more adults, many of them mothers.

"It's a site where they can post photos of their kids, connect with other moms; its safe. It s a trusted environment," said Brandee Barker, director of communications, Facebook.

"Who knows? If it grows big enough, we can even do moms' night out once in a while," Whalen said.

Creating a profile on almost any social networking site is free. It just requires an e-mail account. And if you're worried about privacy, you can put up as little or as many pictures and information as you want.

Some moms say they're also using Facebook and MySpace to get advice on raising children.


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