Saturday, May 11, 2013

Canucks Rock: All Canadian Link Up 05/11

Welcome to our weekly All Canadian Link Up!  This weekend and every weekend, Canucks Rock! with our All Canadian Link Up and Candid Canuck feature interview.  Brought to you by your hosts: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!

This week's Candid Canuck is Deborah from Raising My Boys. Check out our interview with her..

Tell us about your blog. 
My blog is kind of a little bit of everything. I originally thought I would start a personal blog back when Michael (Little Boo) was an infant. I thought it would be a good way to keep my brain active on mat leave while also providing updates to far-flung family and friends. I posted exactly once. Three years later I felt the urge again, and so I resurrected "Raising My Boys" in 2009 and wrote primarily about our adventures and the joys and struggles of raising boys and trying to balance work and life. I still write about those things, but over the years I've grown the subject matter to include info on family-friendly activities and events, recipes, product reviews and giveaways. Some gardening too.

What inspires you to blog? 
The need to express myself. The desire to connect with other moms. The pure love of writing. And every funny or annoying or frightening thing one of my boys does.

Do you feel living in the city has helped your blog, if so how? 
Definitely. For one, there are a wealth of events and activities and attractions to write about and so many possibilities for adventures. But, living in Toronto also has given me access to a variety of media events, PR firms, film screenings, and more. So many companies have their offices here, and physical proximity definitely has created opportunities to build in-person relationships with brand representatives, which has led to content opportunities and thereby increased readership. Plus, Toronto is a fantastic, central location for conferences. Since I don't have to worry about travel expenses, just registration, I've been able to attend Blissdom Canada, for instance, every year since its inception. Blogging and social media conferences are amazing opportunities to learn and connect. You absolutely do not need to live in a big city to be a successful blogger (I'd argue that most of my successful blogger role models actually are not city-dwellers), but I do know that little ol me has benefited from location.

What opportunities have you been able to take part in because of your blog and your readership? 
I've been to some pretty fun events and have had media credentials for theme parks (including Disneyworld and Seaworld). The kid-related activities are the ones I think I enjoy the most. Perhaps the biggest press trip I've been on was with Iams last year. I was invited down to Ohio to tour the Iams testing and production facilities and learn about their process, history and philosophy. This was with their Behind the Paw Summit and there were bloggers from across North America represented. It was an awesome and really educational experience. Next week I'm starting a week-long test drive of a fancy Hyundai Genesis. I'll tell you all about that experience soon!

Do you feel Canadians are at an advantage in the blogging world or no? How? 
This is a tough one. I could say that one advantage is that we don't have the increasingly restrictive FTC regulations impacting on our writing, as the US bloggers do. But, with so many of our brands being multi-national, and so many of our readers being in the US, we do have to keep those regulations in mind. Disclosure is so important, but there are much smoother and more polished ways to disclose naturally than are currently required under the recent FTC changes. This is probably the writer in me talking.

I think that the Canadian blogging world still has maturing to do, at least in the realm of review blogging. Or maybe it's that we are still working with brands and PR to figure out the rules of engagement, so to speak. From what I've seen of some of the opportunities available to US bloggers it seems that the budget for blogger outreach is generally much more robust there, for instance. I could be wrong.

If you could live anywhere in Canada where would it be and why?
Totally loaded question for me! Half of me desperately wants to live back home in Newfoundland. My family is there. and I'd love for Michael to grow up seeing his grandparents and cousins regularly. I miss the ocean, the fresh air, the slower pace of life. But I don't miss the long. wet winters and the chilly summers.

The other half of me loves living in Toronto. There is a bit of everything here, in terms of food, entertainment, attractions, diversity. It is easy to get in the car and drive wherever you want to go. (Growing up on an island, you really learn to appreciate that freedom.) And the weather here in southern Ontario is great. Longer growing season for my garden. Less dampness, which is better for my arthritis. But I don't like the busyness and rush and the pollution.

I make the most of wherever I end up :)

Thanks so much Deborah!
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