Blogs are a great way to have fun, get to know and keep in touch with family that is far away. Email is good for talking, but to really have fun, a Blog is the way to go. There is many ways a Blog can work for your family because a Blog is very customizable.
Setting up a family Blog is inexpensive, and most times free. Two well-known Blog servers are Blog.com and Blogger, but these Blog companies are not the only ones available.
When designing a Blog for your family, the most important thing to consider is what sort of content to publish. Some categories to consider is; family news, humor, letters, polls, contests, fun quizzes, political debate, religious discussion, family events/activities, recipes, sport debates, children’s corner and genealogy report. Of course, every family has their own needs and desires. A large family that is scattered far and wide requires a more complex Blog than one that has few members living in the same area.
The family event calendar should list such things as reunions and birthdays. High school graduation and wedding anniversaries are also nice to include. This allows the chance for family members to remember to send cards or remembrance notes.
Family news can be anything related to the family. A family member’s illness, pregnancy, new business or real estate sales are only the tip of the iceberg. Other news items not directly related to family can also be posted, or if desired, a new category can be designated within the Blog.
Humor, contests and quizzes are a great way to spice up your family’s Blog. By posting jokes and links to contests, sweepstakes or fun quizzes, the Blog becomes more inviting and entertaining to its visitors. Everyone deserves a good laugh. More importantly, by having interactive categories, the chances are high that family bonding will flourish.
Debate arenas, whether it be political or philosophical, should be used wisely. Although these arenas are a great way to learn about the other family members, the arenas are also a great place to alienate family members. Laying down rules and consequences concerning misappropriate language and behavior will help slightly, but is not a detour from trouble.
Another good idea is to appoint one or two respected family members as moderators. However, this can also cause trouble among members. So before debate arenas are included in your family Blog, consider the maturity and responsibility of participating family members.
Religious discussion is another category that can reinforce family bonding or destroy it. If there is more than one religion in the family, the religious discussions can quickly mutate into religious debate then into discrimination. One rule to curb this destruction is the banning of replies to scripture studies, meditation lessons or other religious postings. However, if there is no trouble, then the family will benefit from the deep conversations, especially with the family elders.
The children’s corner should be full of good, clean fun. Knock-knock jokes and riddles are nice, but this category should also have links to children focused sites. A combination of educational and recreational links should populate the ‘room’.
Genealogy reports are great for those interested in keeping track of the family’s past. Many times information is not shared the way it could be. But with a genealogy report center, information can be typed once and shared repeatedly.
Family letters is a category that has its own little niche, away from debate. The times of going to your family for advice is not over. It has only moved from the breakfast table to the computer table. Although email is very common, having a family communication center where everyone can see and comment on others remarks is good for family bonding.
Most Blogs contain photo albums. This feature is wonderful due to the fact that photos can be organized easily and seen without downloading. The photos are easily printed or saved for family posterity. Other nice extras are recommended book lists, CD and DVD lists.
A Blog takes almost no time to set up and the benefits like family bonding is more than worth the effort.