Organization, Parenting, Writing

Mea Culpa and Group Tool Review

First, mea culpa! I feel terrible for neglecting Curious Kids. I’m talking about the blog, mind you, not the actual kids. The real kids are rested, fed and dressed in clean clothes. At least their clothes were clean this morning. Right now, there are no guarantees.

I do have a good excuse for not posting…I’ve been writing and submitting. I’ve sent out one picture book manuscript and two articles this week. And I have two leveled readers almost ready to go out on submission. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. That waiting is definitely the hardest part! Cross your fingers for me.

Now, on to the subject of this post. Are you looking for group tools for your in-person critique group, book club, PTA, or Scout troop? By group tools, I mean one place you can privately share a calendar, post photos and video, RSVP for events, maintain a discussion board, and so on. I recently reviewed a whole host of these sites for one of my groups and would like to share a couple with you.

My group opted to set up a Shutterfly Share Site. Shutterfly has designed these free sites for families, classrooms, sports teams, events (like weddings or graduations), and so on. They are private, and you decide who can access the site. There is a group calendar, discussion board and places to share photos, videos and files. As a user, you can adjust your settings so you receive any updates in your email box rather than having to log into the site.

The main reason my group chose Shutterfly is that we can easily use the photos shared on the site to create photo books and other photo gifts. I can already tell you we’ll be making a photo book at the end of the year. We thought using Shutterfly from the get-go would be much easier than downloading photos from another site and uploading them to Shutterfly or Snapfish.

Another popular free site is Big Tent. Big Tent is like a free version of, for those of you who are familiar with Meetup. (Note: Meetup is free for users, but organizers pay $150 a year to maintain sites). On Big Tent you can make your site public or private. Or, you can have a public page and a private section for members only. Essentially Big Tent has the same capabilities at Shutterfly, but if you wanted to create photo books or gifts, you would have to export the photos and upload your them elsewhere. It’s just an extra step.

I suspect many of you have your own curious kids who are involved in lots of activities. Maybe one of these sites will work for you. Or, if you have an in-person critique group or book club, Shutterfly or Big Tent might help with ongoing communications.


10 thoughts on “Mea Culpa and Group Tool Review”

  1. Best of luck with all your submissions, Kristen. My critique group uses Excoboard and it does what we want for free so that’s good. Yours sounds great too, thanks for sharing.

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