Building an Online Community

As more and more of the population discovers the wonders of being online, the opportunities to help empower individuals with information they can use in their day-to-day lives continues to grow. The Internet has created new avenues for researching important life-guiding information resources within special areas such as health, finance, pregnancy, and parenting-related topics, as well as other important family-related issues. These new tools provide the average person access to a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals, experts, and other individuals who might also be researching a similar topic, or have recent firsthand experiences to share. In a large part, it's that ability for people to come together and share their experiences with people from all walks of life, and from all areas of the country--not to mention the world--that has helped to build the Internet and the World Wide Web into the medium that it is today.

As the fastest growing publishing group in the U.S. aimed at providing parenting information to new and expectant parents, our network of more than twenty-two publications across the nation identifies with the need for people to interact and share their life experiences with others. With this in mind, the decision was made to begin developing the opportunity for our readers to have access to a place where they could go and both learn from, or share with others, topics relevant to parents and parenting. That place is (

Since 1996, has been one of the premier destinations online for parents and expectant parents, providing members and visitors with thousands of articles from a wide range of experts, an active chat and discussion-board community, and other popular segments (including a baby-name database, personal online journals, pregnancy tools, child-development activities, and a special reading-to-children section). Additionally, has developed several special companion sites, such as The ABC's of Parenting (, the first Web site devoted exclusively to reviewing and categorizing parenting, family, and pregnancy oriented sites, including more than one hundred individual categories to search.

Other sites include the RecipeXchange (, which includes thousands of visitor-submitted recipes that are searchable by many different criteria, and ( with its popular product recall page and safety-related articles and segments, including the award-winning Kids Safe & Sound publication online.

Combined, these sites make up a special place where parents and soon-to-be parents can go to find answers to common, and often hard-to-answer, questions, as well as meet with others to discuss similar topics of interest. It's this sense of community that developers are most proud of, and that we hope to extend all across the local and regional levels. By providing local content aimed at helping parents to manage and plan activities, find important resources such as school and daycare directories, as well as offering helpful tips on parenting in general, it's our goal to help foster the environment where people will be able to meet others with similar interests and concerns, make friends, share their knowledge and experiences, and develop special relationships that can cross over from the virtual world to the real world.

In the weeks to come, look for to begin building special local sections, with more emphasis on local issues, activities, resources, and events. Until then, we would like to invite you to visit the site and experience the existing wealth of information, maybe sign up for the weekly newsletter, and begin to take advantage of Minnesota Parent's most recent online addition aimed at helping families and families-to-be.