Nixdminx
The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Social networking & families: does it all have to be public?

‘Muuuuuummmmm – why did you put that picture of me on Facebook – that’s soooo mean!’

Yes, I confess, that was the reaction from my daughter a few months ago when I posted a photo of her at the optician in full eye-test regalia you know those odd looking gigantic Willy Wonka style glasses. What’s cute for one person is acutely embarrassing for another, or so I’ve learned.

We bloggers are by nature sharers, oversharers, chatty and online a lot, but sometimes the people around us are not so comfortable living online and having stuff about them shared. With a teenager in the house, over the last few years, I tend to blog / tweet / Facebook much less about the intimate details of our lives as I don’t think it’s fair, especially since the days when you could happily blog under a nom de plum and remain relatively anonymous are long gone.

So how do you manage your content about family life that you want to share without using Twitter or Facebook? Well there’s always email and Whatsapp, but they’re not quite the same, and I know you can create private groups on Facebook and Google+ but neither of them seem secure enough (or maybe, ahem, I’m just worried I might post something privately on a public forum).

Huglr logo

A new social network has just launched, it’s called Huglr and it’s aimed at the family unit and the various extensions of it; relatives, god parents, friends and so on. It’s available as a social application and via the web too.

Huglr has been thoughtfully put together, it’s a best of breed, combining some really great features; you can chat one-to-one or in a group, check in to places to let people know where you are plus create groups and share photos and images.

The big differentiator is that Huglr is private (yes, private) and secure…

Designed especially for families, using Huglr means you can have a secure place for your kids to chat with you and you can share photos and videos with your nearest and dearest, without the worry of accidentally going viral or at worst being trolled. While it hasn’t set out to purposefully avoid the seamier side of social media, there’s no denying that families are concerned about this new way of expressing our day to day minutiae online.

Huglr - iOS Timeline 5

Parents can invite their kids to join the family Hugl, and create profiles for kids who don’t have email, which means the environment is safe as a parent has Administrator rights over the inbox, and that means no one has to pretend to be over 13 if they join (and about time too – phew!).

Once you join Huglr, you can create your own family Hugl and invite people into the group. An added level of security is that you are not searchable on the network so you can keep your Hugls secure.

There is no advertising either and the design is really attractive, which makes it a big win for technophobes and social media whizzes alike. You can customise your family groups, called Hugls, by adding a cover photo and a colour.

What I really like about Huglr is that it looks like a lot of fun and if like me you do social media for a living, this is a great place to use for relaxation and a bit of a giggle. While I might not be posting photos from the optician anymore, I will be connecting with my immediate and extended family to share moments online which I can’t in real life and I think it’s going to be really useful for arranging get togethers and sharing photos and video during and afterwards.

Here’s a screen shot of the web version, it’s a viewing platform for updates.

blog version Huglr-Web-Version-Timeline

I think the timeline is the best feature of the web version, so if your family and friends don’t have an iPhone, prefer the big screen of a laptop or access the internet via the TV this is a great way to keep up with all the goings on in the family Hugls.

If you fancy trying it out for yourself, Huglr has just launched today and it’s free. You can download Huglr at the Apple App Store here or sign up at Huglr.com.

Huglr is on Facebook/Huglr and Twitter @wearehuglr.

You can also keep up to date with the news and developments of Huglr when it launches it’s blog next week; I’m delighted to be one of the contributors too as I really think this new fangled social app is going places.

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