Tuesday, February 14: Why We Love Our Pets

Falling in Love on Valentine’s Day – Why We Love Our Pets!

#PetLovers

When:  Tuesday, February 14, 2017
8:00 – 9:00 pm ET
5:00 – 6:00 pm PT
Join hosts Joyce (@joycecherrier) and Lin (@blogomomma) and the #PetLovers team on Twitter at 8 pm ET on Tuesday, February 14 as we chat about Why We Love Our Pets!
Join us as we explore the joy of pet ownership – how they make us better humans and why they make the best Valentine’s Day date ever!
RSVP and attend the chat for a chance to win one of four $50 PetSmart Gift Certificates!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: PetLovers) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2kZO1T5
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#PetLovers) on Tuesday, February 14 between 8:00 – 9:00 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

Thursday, February 23: Making the Switch

MAKING THE SWITCH

#FiosPhilly

When: TODAY, Thursday, February 23, 2017
8:00 – 9:00 pm ET
5:00 – 6:00 pm PT
Join Mary Beth (@5cupcakes) and the #FiOSPhilly team at 8 pm ET on Thursday, February 23, as we chat about Making the Switch!
Join us as we explore the benefits of more entertainment choices and a faster Internet connection, and discover just how easy it is to switch to a better provider!
RSVP and attend the chat for a chance to win an all-new Amazon Echo home assistant!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: FiOSPhilly) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2lzCeuF
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#FiOSPhilly) on Thursday, February 23 between 8:00 – 9:00 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon.)

Tuesday, February 28: Family Movie Night

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

#FiosNY

When:  TODAY, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
8:00 – 9:00 pm ET
5:00 – 6:00 pm PT
Join host Misty (@mistygirlph) and the #FiosNY team on Twitter at 8 pm ET on Tuesday, February 28 as we bring back Family Movie Night!
It’s the middle of winter and the perfect time to snuggle on the couch and watch your favorite movies. So grab some popcorn, get the family together and join us as we share ideas for Family Movie Night!
RSVP and attend the chat for a chance to win a Motorola portable charger or an all-new Amazon Echo personal assistant!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: FiOSNY) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2kuM0xh
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#FiOSNY) on Tuesday, February 28 between 8:00 – 9:00 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon.)

Beware of Facebook Cloning

By Tracey Dowdy

How many friends do you have on Facebook? Are they actually friends or are they friends of friends? Maybe, you’re someone who accepts anyone’s friend request, friend or foe, stranger or bestie.

No matter where you fall on that spectrum, you’ll want to be aware of another Facebook scam that’s making the rounds. Hackers are cloning Facebook accounts in order to mine for data, photos, or spread spam and viruses.

I know, I know, it seems every week someone posts a warning about another threat to your privacy, ownership of your photos…

How it works: Hackers copy your profile information and steal any of your photos they can to create a duplicate of your account. Once the new account is created, they block you and send friend requests to everyone on your friends list.

From there, they’ll data mine your friends as they accept your request and turn around and do the same to them, and so on, and so on, and so on… The hackers use the fake profiles for a variety of money-making schemes, one of the most common being what’s referred to as “the Grandma Scam.” Posing as a family member or close friend, they pretend they’re stranded and need money for gas, that their credit cards or wallet has been stolen, that they’ve been in some kind of accident and need money for medical bills…you name it, they’ll try it. Unfortunately, sometimes unsuspecting friends and family assume it’s all above board and send money.

They also use the accounts to steal personal information. Because the victims think they’re talking to a friend, they’re far more likely to reveal personal information making it easy for the hacker to steal their identity.

To ensure you don’t become a victim of cloning, make sure your privacy settings are high. Click on the little padlock on the top right side of your Home page to check your settings and see who you’re allowing to view your information, photos, and posts.

In addition, never automatically accept a second friend request from someone you’re already friends with. Instead, send a message to the original profile or inquire via email or text and ask if they’ve sent the request. If they haven’t, report the new page to Facebook and warn your friends about the duplicate.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Customize Your Facebook Newsfeed with “Social Fixer”

Tracey Dowdy

Psychologists have coined the term “social exhaustion” to explain how introverts feel when they’ve had too much social interaction and feel overwhelmed.

I have developed whatever the social-medial-political post equivalent of that is. It’s important to be informed, but I found myself longing for the good old days when Facebook meant pictures of my friend’s lunches and awkward selfies. Perhaps you feel the same way or maybe you’d just like to get rid of “Sponsored Posts”, “People You May Know” and other similar features.

Say hello to “Social Fixer”, a browser extension that filters your Facebook newsfeed and tailors your Facebook page to reflect more of what you want to see and less of what you don’t.

“Is Social Fixer legit?” Yes. It’s simply a program that runs in your browser whenever you are logged into Facebook. It does not have access to your personal information, your browser history, cookies, stored data, or anything else personal. It doesn’t transfer personal information nor does it change settings or data, add malware, spam, pornography or ads.

The only downside is that it isn’t available on mobile devices. Unlike desktop browsers, the Facebook app doesn’t allow extensions. In addition, Facebook uses HTTPS making traffic encrypted. It’s very protective about what information apps can access – that’s a good thing – and that means it limits access to your newsfeed.

To install Social Fixer, click here. Once installed, you can hide “Sponsored Stories”, which are really just ads in disguise, stories related to U.S. politics, posts you’ve already seen or read, and override “Top Stories” so you get the most recent posts, not the ones that Facebook wants you to see.

In addition, Social Fixer enables you to customize the User Interface, which is really just a fancy way of saying you get to change everything from fonts to colors. That may seem like a little thing and purely cosmetic to most of us, but for individuals with disabilities, being able to changes fonts and colors increases Facebook’s accessibility.

One of the most interesting features is Stealth Mode which lets you browse Profiles, Pages or Groups while eliminating the possibility of accidentally “liking” a photo or requesting a friend. That means the next time you’re deep into a photo album of your daughter’s friend’s mom’s Christmas album from three years ago, you won’t accidentally get caught.

There are a host of other useful features I haven’t fully discovered or utilized yet. There are a lot of options and I’m still tweaking my settings but I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite extensions I’ve added to my browser. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Movies to Watch for Black History Month

By Tracey Dowdy

Did you know Canada and the UK celebrate Black History Month too? Canada observes it in February and the UK observes it in October.

There are countless movies made about the African American experience that cover everything from slavery to Civil Rights, so no matter the age of your children, there’s always something to watch. As with any movie, be mindful of age appropriateness. While it’s important for all of us to understand the history of the struggle, make sure both the theme and the way the story is presented is suitable for younger viewers.

Ruby Bridges (NR, Disney, 1998) – One of my daughter Sarah’s favorite books when she was little was about Ruby Bridges. I introduced the story to her when she was six – the same as Ruby when she was at the center of the desegregation of schools in 1960. It’s a powerful story of courage and the power of standing up for what is right even if you’re the only one. (Amazon Video)

The Watson’s Go to Birmingham (PG, 2013) – is a Hallmark Channel adaption of the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree book by Christopher Paul Curtis. Set in the pivotal summer of 1963, the Watson family sets out from their home in Michigan to visit family in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a funny, poignant and very powerful story. (Netflix, Amazon Video)

To Kill a Mockingbird (NR, 1962) – No list would be complete without To Kill a Mockingbird. Told from the perspective of six-year old Scout, it’s the fictional story of her father Atticus Finch and his defense of an innocent black man in small town Alabama in 1932. (Netflix, Amazon Video)

4 Little Girls (TV-14, 1997) is a documentary about one of the most despicable crimes of the civil rights movement – the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama in September 15, 1963 that resulted in the death of four children. Told through the eyes of the girls’ families and others who witnessed or reported on the bombing, Spike Lee takes an unflinching look at an event that ultimately galvanized the nation and became a pivotal moment in the fight for civil rights. (Netflix, Amazon)

Freedom (R, 2014) tells two stories set 100 years apart. The first is the story of Samuel Woodward, a runaway slave who escapes to Canada via the Underground Railroad. The second is of John Newton, captain of a slave ship who later sees the wickedness of the slave trade, becomes a minister, and eventually pens the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.” The R rating is for on-screen violence and some frightening scenes.  (Netflix)

Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (NR – 2003) is a documentary that examines the complex story of the 1831 slave revolt in Virginia. It looks at the revolt and its aftermath from both sides and uses historical documents as well as insight from historians to put the revolt into perspective. (Netflix, Amazon)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Friday, February 3: Mobile Shopping

A #MOBILELIVING TWITTER PARTY
mobilelivingWhen: TODAY, Friday, February 3, 2017
3:00 – 4:00 pm ET
12:00 – 1:00 pm PT

‘Mobile Shopping’

Join @TheTechDad and the #MobileLiving team at 3 pm ET (12 noon PT) on Friday, February 3 as we chat about Mobile Shopping!
Daily deal sites, price comparison tools and custom store apps have turned smartphones and tablets into must-have shopping companions. Join @TheTechDad and friends as we look at the latest developments in mobile bargain hunting, and explore how major brands are adapting to this all new tech-driven shopping experience!
RSVP and participate in the chat for a chance to win a JBL Pulse 2 Bluetooth portable speaker or Samsung Level U PRO wireless headphones!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: MobileLiving) and include your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2jHOiYH
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#MobileLiving) on Friday, February 3 between 3 – 4 pm ET
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!