25 October 2006

Social networking site for parents: Maya's Mom launches today

Maya's MomSocial networking sites for parents are hot, hot, hot! New entrant Maya's Mom launched today, and it looks great. It shares some features with MothersClick, namely, that you can create private discussion spaces for your offline groups, and you can participate in open discussion with other Maya's Mom members. Maya's Mom also adds the ability to specify member "friends," create an online journal (private, public, or shared with "friends") and upload photos (visible only to "friends").

There are plenty of small features that give the site a warm, community feel. One feature I found especially thoughtful: in the "talk" area, if you find a member's post or comment helpful, you can click a link to send that person instant thanks.

What sets Maya's Mom apart is the focus on kids' activities. Once you tell the service your zip code, it finds kid activities in your neighborhood. Users can also share "at home" activities anyone can try. The idea is that, in addition to the "friend" and "advice" angle, you can turn to Maya's Mom for ideas when you find yourself with free time.

I was fortunate to meet Ann Crady, CEO of Maya's Mom (and mom of Maya), at BlogHer, and later in San Francisco over lunch. She has a real passion for what she's doing, inspired by her own supportive community of parents. I think she and her team have come up with something special. Best of luck to Maya's Mom today and beyond.

By the way, the name Maya's Mom is misleading; this is a place for anyone with children in their lives. Says Ann: "We have moms, dads, grandmas, aunts, and uncles all of whom can use Maya's Mom to save memories, ask questions and share pictures of the children who are important to them."

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Yes, Maya's Mom looks great! As social networking sites continue to proliferate, it will be harder to find ones that truly stand out in the crowd. That said, I want to put in a plug for http://www.ParentsConnect.com. It is still in beta, so some of the functionality isn't there yet, but it has great promise.

Although you comment that "What sets Maya's Mom apart is the focus on kids' activities... it finds kid activities in your neighborhood," ParentsConnect has been doing this since the beginning, with partner site GoCityKids. They offer a HUGE collection of local activites and resources in many cities around the country.

ParentsConnect is also run by passionate parents -- more than 20 of them. Stop by for a visit! I think you'll be hooked :)

Natalie: Thanks for posting about ParentsConnect -- another excellent service. The reason the activity feature was off my radar is because Portland isn't one of the cities listed in the ParentsConnect Cityguide. If you're in a bigger city it's a great choice.

Shh, don't tell but, Portland is one of the cities launching soon :)

Yes, yes this is all just groovy. But rather than launching "myspace for parents" sites and then looking for the community, why not start with an established kick ass community and grow to a social network based around the interests of said community... i.e. Asha, how about a parenthacks social network? Yes, this is quite an undertaking, but then again, if you build it, we will come... just sayin'. Regardless, love what you're doing here and more power to you and the growing ranks of contributors who have offered up many great hacks over the last 6 months or so that I've been tuning in. And actually, I mean no offense to these other sites cropping up. I just know I like this one and the community it has seeded. Regards,

Even though Maya's Mom is getting a lot of attention these days (and deservedly so), we're spreading the word about our new startup for moms (and dads) too, called Pongyow.

It's partly a social network, but mainly it's about connecting your own family, through photos, movies, and stories. You can keep things private, share with only your friends, or invite anyone to contribute to your family. If you've got a bunch of family photos, movies, etc., and want to put together a nice-looking site, check us out!

http://www.pongyow.com

Mike: Thank you for that vote of confidence. I, too, think this is an incredible community. While the realities of my life now make taking on a project like that unrealistic (in fact I'm writing up a post about why), it's definitely something to consider as I think about the future of Parent Hacks.

I'll expand upon my thinking (and other interesting reader suggestions) in a future post.

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