For the past several years I have been joining online communities to connect with other parents who have kids with autism. I started with epinions.com in 2000 before finding Gather.com in August of 2006 CafeMom.com was the following summer along with Wish Upon A Hero.com also known as WUAH, with Twitter.com June of 2008, as well as this blog last summer.
The summer months are when I come across these online communities and expand my relationships and do my part to promote autism awareness. There are many rewards to finding another community to become part of, plus you find some of the same friends from other sites. Each site has their own style so you get to gain new insights from those previous relationships while delving into new opportunities at each site.
I wrote about my impressions of Gather.com back in October of 2006. I was so enthusiastic with the site that I created almost twenty groups for members to belong to where they could post articles, videos, photos and comment on other posts. Every idea I had would mean a new group.
The site has grown and expanded with options over the years to include bookmarks and sharing of posts, pings on profile pages, spotlighting of our own articles for our profile page and having more information on members to help determine if you want to become friends. You can delete a comment on any of your posts, you can remove the option of ratings for anything you post also. Groups can be private for only family members if you choose. Your friends can be categorized by friends, family and colleagues. There are many options on gather.com to read and interact with others plus the fun in earning points for gift cards. The holidays are five months away - time to prepare is now.
Meet people and make new friends is the gather motto. Once you become a member you can search by your location, interest or age group to find conversations and groups to join. At your home page the links to utilize include:
my posts, my photos, my videos, my comments, my friends and my groups. Also the option for guarded viewing is on this page, plus email preferences, your account settings, friend updates are here and comments from your friends on posts around the site.
Your gather points are posted next to your photo or avatar. This is a clickable link so you can find the gift cards available for your point total. The minimum to redeem is 315 points. There are options to get paid through paypal as well. I received a Borders card in the mail today. I redeemed last month. The gather home office is in Boston, Founder and CEO is Tom Gerace. I still get notified when Tom writes a new post. The letter with the gift card thanks you for making gather such a special place. "We love sharing our success with you."
Just last month was an opportunity for the first 500 Gather Moms to fill out the 2009 summer survey and receive 50 gather points. There are competitions, author chats, review opportunities and contests to take part in on gather.com.
My teenage son has enjoyed over the years looking at photos of cats on gather.com. He will tell me what the rating should be and help with the comment. There are options to rate and comment posts, pictures and videos. You can set which groups are your favorite and change your settings to not receive emails from every group. If you join many groups there is the section at the bottom of your posts where you need t choose which group your photo, post or video gets linked up to.
Some groups are very strict in what they will accept, there are tags that are helpful to find posts as well. My groups are moderated so I need to go into my home page and click on group tasks to find the new content and approve it on a weekly basis. Gather.com also takes copyright infringement very seriously. There are groups on this topic as well.
You will meet many new people who share similar interests, post poetry, short stories, reviews of books and other products, share family experiences and post coupon codes to get deals at each week. Now for summer the reading is about vacations, picnics, movies, favorite television shows and recipes.
There was a children's health product that had been recalled. I wrote a post complaining about this and wanting to know what other parents were using. This article continued to get comments as it was found in online searches. Through these comments I learned of two new products that were just as good that I started purchasing and still use to this day.
At your home page you will see what your friends are posting, what activity is happening in groups, recent comments and photos. There are many groups to discuss and learn about the site as well. This past week there was an offer to win a free book
The first year I joined gather.com I stock piled 7 or 8 B+N gift cards for holiday shopping for my kids. Although B+N is no longer an option, Borders, Macy's and CVS have been my gift cards of choice since my first year. I have always received my gift cards within three weeks. You earn points for everything you do on the site. To join gather there are links for you to place on your blog or site, plus you can send invitations. There was a referral program with points earned for new members. I have had a banner on my blog since I started it.
I highly recommend other bloggers join gather.com to form new bonds with those who have similar tastes. There have been cruises for members to attend and meet in person. Members share about their writings and new books, family ventures and find out about other places around the world from the diverse mix of members from all over.
Some of the groups I created include:
associated content writers
This is the first blog tour I have signed up with Mom Central since my blog was accepted into their program. Due to the fact that I have personal experience this is a perfect fit for me.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog and giveaway campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Gather. Mom Central sent me a gift cad to thank me for taking the time to participate.