Somewhere in Transit to Port-au-Prince

These past few days have been fairly intense. First, I spent Thursday and Friday at the SwitchPoint conference in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, then when I was coming home from SwitchPoint I heard about the massive earthquake in Nepal where I actually have friends, all the while readying myself to travel to Haiti today. It’s been a lot!

As you read this I’m on a plane somewhere in transit to Port-au-Prince. I am excited to go to Haiti and although things have been a bit overwhelming nothing can stop me from gathering great stories while I’m there for the first time.

While at SwitchPoint I thought critically about my work as a writer and founder of Social Good Moms and how I can make both better through powerful storytelling. SwitchPoint is a conference for global health thinkers, artists, and communicators. That’s not their full definition, but that’s how I define it for myself. That’s what I like about SwitchPoint: The flow of it hits people in different places. Mine was about telling the best stories we can with the tools and knowledge we have.

Everyone had a story to tell even the freestylers who have traveled the world creating Beat Making Labs for the youth of Africa and Asia…


… to the husband and wife owners of Haw River Farmhouse Ales who wanted a full-fledged brewery and funded it themselves without any investors (impressive) and could care less if they grow big or not. They are taking it one step at a time and are staying true to the Saxapahaw community. I love that.

By the way, their ales are fresh and delicious. I tried two: one dark, stout beer and another light, lemony beer. Both were two of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life mainly because of the unique blends and because they were literally brewed 10 feet away.

And with that…I will talk to you when I arrive in Haiti given I have Wi-Fi. Be sure to follow me at @jenniferjames. I may be able to tweet and not write full blog posts.

Talk soon, friends!



Ethiopia Dispatch: Day 15: Addis

The sun is going down over Addis Ababa as I write this post. There are only streaks of dark clouds on a pale blue evening sky.

I have always wanted to visit Addis ever since I was a child. I’m not sure when I first heard about Addis Ababa. Whenever it was I wanted to come here right away, so it’s a bit surreal to look out of my hotel window and see the beautiful mountains surrounding this lovely city. There’s something quite amazing about Addis that I don’t feel anywhere else in the world. It really is a place unto its own.

Today was a good day with great meetings. One meeting ended in a coffeehouse here in Addis where I had another phenomenal macchiato. As far as I’m concerned, you can never take too many coffee shots.


Even though I am not staying at the Sheraton, Addis’s most prestigious hotel, I do understand why many flock to it especially during all of the high-level meetings that tend to take place here. The landscaping is beautiful and a friend tipped me off to the best view of Addis – right from the Sheraton hotel.







I only have a few more days left in Ethiopia. I am saddened by that, but ready to go home and be with my family! I still have more meetings and site visits before I finally wrap up this trip this week. And then I will be back in June!

Changing Money in Lusaka


After dinner tonight a few of us went to a mall across the street from our hotel where we could change money and activate SIM cards for our phones. I didn’t tackle my SIM card situation just yet, but I did change US dollars for Zambia kwacha at a supermarket that looked just like any supermarket in the States. This modern grocery store is the first one I’ve seen like that in Africa. Although I can’t be sure of this, I believe southern Africa is a little better in terms of sheer infrastructure and status of living than other sub-Saharan countries and regions of the continent. That said, I have been in Zambia all of seven hours so I may be making a huge leap about that. That’s just what I’ve observed so far.

I do love changing money when I travel. US dollars go so far in so many places. In Zambia surprisingly things are a little expensive, at least more so than Ethiopia and India where you can buy a ton for a little.

Our day gets started mid-morning tomorrow. The IRP showed mercy and didn’t require an early, early start since so many of us have traveled nearly an entire day to get here. I literally skipped Saturday time zone wise. When I left it was Saturday morning and when I landed in Dubai it was all of 7 am. Missing most of a day really does a doozy on your sense of time and date.

I have a few things to do tonight and then I’m off to bed. I usually don’t sleep much when I travel, but I figured I might as well get some rest now before our work officially begins.

I am traveling to Zambia as an International Reporting Project Zambia Fellow. The International Reporting Project is a part of  The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. I will be reporting on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and how these three infectious diseases acutely affect mothers and children. You can follow our journey for the next 11 days at #ZambiaHealth.

Why Twitter Remains King of News Breaks

Last night reaffirmed the power of Twitter and my love for the microblogging service. As many of you I was able to catch the news of bin Laden’s death even before traditional news stations broke the news.

Before the official news of bin Laden’s death was announced I monitored all of the major news sites to see which one posted the information first. It was the New York Times. Meanwhile it was nearly impossible to sift through the breaking news on Facebook. On Twitter, however, I was able to search by hashtag, see new trending hashtags, retweet people I don’t even know who were adding valuable tidbits on the ground in Washington, D.C. and at Ground Zero. I was able to converse with friends and followers about the weighty news of the night. Nine and a half years ago on September 11, this wasn’t possible. We were all glued to our television sets and computers, but we were largely relegated to sharing information through email only. It was a different time then. How times have changed in nearly a decade.

Twitter and social media have certainly made our world much smaller.

50 Mom Bloggers With a 40+ @Klout Score

Quick Links | 50 Mom Bloggers With 40+ Klout Score | Measuring Mom Bloggers One Score at a Time | 50 More Mom Bloggers With 40+ @Klout Score


Yesterday I was riding home from a property I was invited to visit on the North Carolina coast when I received a tweet from Kim Moldofsky about a Klout list of top mom bloggers. I clicked over with great
interest since I just wrote about Klout and then my head almost exploded, not because of the moms who are featured on the list (and deservedly so), but because of the moms who weren’t on the list, me included (yes, I let my ego run wild for a minute!)

Today instead of complaining about the list and since I know the mom space, I decided to pull together a list of more mom bloggers with Klout scores over 40. I’m sorry if I missed you and you have a 40+ Klout score.  It’s inevitable to overlook people when making lists! If you have a Klout score over 40, please leave your Twitter handle in the comments and I will create the “50 More Mom Bloggers With a 40+ Klout Score” list.

**NOTE (Added 10/24) I understand that the Klout list was formulated from the Babble Top 50 Mom Bloggers list. That said, I took it upon myself to expand the list to include more moms with social media influence.

**NOTE (Added 10/30) I have created another list of 50 More Mom Bloggers With 40+ Klout Score.

1. ResourcefulMom 77
2. ReneeJRoss 65
3TheSmartMama 59
4. ThatKristen 59
5. ScrappinMichele 57
6.CecilyK 56
7. HerBadMother 56
8. RobynsWorld 56
9. 3KidsandUs 56
10. MomSpark 54
11. JylMomIF 54
12. SugarJones 54
13. CrunchyGoddess 54
14AnissaMayhew 53
15. MissBritt 53

16. AGiveawayDaily 53
17. AudreyMcClellan 52
18. MomBloggersClub 51
19. SavortheThyme 51
20. MomAdvice 51
21. TechMama 50
22LaFlowers 50
23. 5MinutesforMom 49
24. DagmarBleasdale 49
25. ClassyMommy 49
26. MomStart 49
27. CentsibleLife 49
28. ScaryMommy 48
29. AlliWorthington 48
30. MyBellaMia 48

31. AmberStrocel 48
32. RealLifeSarah 47
33. Momfuse 47
34. Chookooloonks 47
35.BabySteph 47
36. EverydayMama 47
37. BFMom 47
38. SavingEveryday 45
39. SecretAgentMama 44
40. TheMomJen 44
41. ALotofNothing 44
42. MyBottlesUp 44
43. ABittersweet1 44
44. MsLatina 44
45. YoungMommy 44

46. CarissaRogers 42
47. ModernMami 42
48. AngEngland 42
49. NewYorkChica 42
50. AnjWrites 42

More Moms With 40+ Klout Score

sitsgirls 41
momtrends 41
selfishmom 41
BostonMamas 41
sprittibee 41
angryjulie 41
1momof5 40
lajollamom 40
TasteLikeCrazy 40
princessla66 40

How To Use Twitter Properly — There Are a Few Rules

I know it’s been said before that there are no rules to using Twitter, but I beg to differ because some people still don’t understand how to properly use the medium. I do understand there is a learning curve to Twitter. We’ve all had to figure out how to best use Twitter personally or for our brands. At some point everyone should probably rely less heavily on the bots and actually engage with people. In my opinion, that’s the best way to go.

Here are a few rules I think everyone should abide by. It’s just my opinion, though. It’s a free country and you can do anything you’d like, but don’t expect to be the most liked person on Twitter.

1) Don’t send spammy auto-DMs to everyone who follows you. They are annoying. Period.

2) Don’t DM people with virtual gifts like sunshine, hugs, and smiles. They are annoying.

3) Don’t @ scores of people out of the blue in hopes they will follow you. Chances are they won’t.

Now, the aforementioned are rules I live by and think work best on Twitter. I’ve had a Twitter account since 2007 so I do know of what I speak.

Here are a few Twitter practices I think work best for users. Of course, you can take them or leave them, but this is the approach I think works best.

1) Don’t rely too heavily on bots, especially those that post your blog updates. I’m sure you’ve seen ten posts in a row from someone who is auto-feeding their blog posts to Twitter. That doesn’t look great and turns people off. Well, it turns me off.

2) Follow those who follow you. I think it’s common courtesy to follow people who follow you. I know there are varying philosophies about this. I just believe it helps build your community faster!

If you are tweeting on behalf of a brand, there is no excuse not to follow everyone who follows the brand because those followers are current or potential customers. Yes, you will have to make judgement calls, but the only people you shouldn’t follow back are spammers, bots, and competitors.

3) Respond to as many @s as possible. I know it is impossible to respond to everyone who responds to one of your tweets, but it’s nice to make the attempt. People have limited time in a day and if they choose to spend just a moment to talk to you I think it’s courteous to talk back.