Monday, July 11, 2011

Celebrating Community: 10,000 Strong on Facebook

Social networking has transformed our culture. Everyone, it seems, is buzzing on Facebook, chatting on Twitter, and linking in on any number of other websites, forums, and social networking sites.

At the Holistic Moms Network, we are thrilled to have attained a new level of interaction with more than 10,000 fans now connecting through our Facebook page. We are excited and honored to have so many people interacting through our page and finding a virtual community for holistic-minded parents.

At our core the Holistic Moms Network is about community building. We use virtual tools and see great value in them, but also think that there is a cultural shift that is pulling us further apart in real life. Social networking sites are great for reconnecting with people from our past and for staying in touch with those far away, as many have suggested, but paradoxically it can turn our friendships into screentime and pull us away from valuable face-to-face, in real life connections.

Additional challenges of virtual communities are permanency and trust. Virtual communities are transient and often short-lived. People come and go and communities themselves can easily dissolve. It is also difficult to grasp the true nature of a person, community, or organization simply by exploring their online presence. Innately we can often sense whether a person is trustworthy or not in a personal meeting, whether we align with them or our energies clash, simply by sensing their cues (consciously and unconsciously). It is easy for people (and companies) to misrepresent themselves online but not so much face-to-face. And a friend can say "I'm just fine" on Facebook, although the look their eyes or their facial expression can tell another story.

For parents, real life connections are invaluable. For many moms the journey to motherhood is disorienting and alienating. Going from a professional job outside the home to being an at-home parent changes everything, including your social interactions. The people you chat with at the coffee shop on the way to work, co-workers and others are suddenly operating in a different world. Finding a new social network - and one that embraces children - is essential on so many levels. For moms and dads who choose natural parenting, this can be a difficult task. Finding others who understand your choices and being able to see another parent breastfeeding, babywearing, buying organic foods, or seeking out non-toxic household products gives you a wealth of information and a sense of empowerment that you cannot always achieve by virtual connection.

Of course, virtual connections means you can expand your social circle and can raise awareness and build support for great causes in numbers that you could not do in real life. For this reason, social networking is a fabulous tool for building communities like the Holistic Moms Network, both locally and nationally. But we see it as just one component of a growing community - one that you can be part of locally, in real life, and grow with on many levels.

So to honor our new milestone of 10,000 Facebook fans, we want to offer everyone an opportunity to join the Holistic Moms Network community and reach out in real life to other parents and caregivers, locally, face-to-face, and virtually. In honor of this opportunity, we're offering a huge discount off our annual membership fee (nearly 25% off!) for ONE DAY ONLY on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011. From 12:01 am to 11:59 pm EST tomorrow, July 12th, you can join HMN (or renew your membership) for just $35 per year and connect with parents in your area, in real life and online, and find vital support for your parenting journey. Just use Coupon Code HMNFB10 to join or renew.

PLUS: One new or renewing member who signs up tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12th) will randomly be chosen to win a set of HMN's two cookbooks (one each) and one of our Holistic Moms Network organic cotton aprons to inspire your inner chef!

We want to thank all of our Facebook fans and supporters for helping us grow! As a 501(c)(3) non-profit community, every supporter, every voice, and every member matters!

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