At Fred Wilson’s House, Tweeting is Like Eating Your Vegetables

wilson family At Fred Wilsons House, Tweeting is Like Eating Your VegetablesGrowing up VC can be tough. During her rebellious teenage years, Jessica Wilson refused to tweet, much to the dismay of her parents, Fred and Joanne Wilson.

The Wall Street Journal has a big spread by Katherine Rosman on the Wilson family, cataloging the clan’s digital lives. Jessica and Emily each have two tumblrs. Josh only has one, but he’s got two Xboxes to make up for it.

In a house where both parents are prolific seed stage investors in tech, extracurricular activites focus on building a healthy online presence and becoming comfortable as an early adopter of new services.

“I would tell her that it was going to be the next big thing,” says Mr. Wilson, about encouraging his daughter to use Twitter.

At first she refused out of simple teenage rebellion. But now that’s she’s in college, Jessica has changed her tune, and often asks her father for a reblog or retweet.

“I use the same rule with my kids and entrepreneurs: If I think the thing they want me to post is consistent with the online brand I’ve developed and the audience I’ve cultivated, then I’ll do it,” Wilson told WSJ’s Katherine Rosman. After he pointed people to Jessica’s first Tumblr, 14,000 other users reblogged and 2,100 people started following Jessica’s Tumblr.

Privacy can become an issue. When Joanne Wilson, aka Gotham Gal, blogged about a recipe her daughter had just whipped up, young Emily became upset. “I want to be able to do the things I do in my life, then if I want to share it, I can, it’s my choice,” she told Rosman, who seems to have a knack for great quotes.

Amdist all this, the Wilson’s still keep a lot of older traditions. The family eats dinner together five nights a week and Josh, the avid gamer, still is not allowed to have a TV in his room. So he just downloads his favorite shows to his laptop instead.


  1. Nope says:

    This guy sounds like a bit of a douche, but I guess attention whores breed attention whores. Poor kids.

    1. Peter Wang says:

      Actually Fred Wilson has some really good articles on his blog (AVC).  I think this article is trying to pursue a particular angle/narrative so it trumps up particular features of their interaction.  My beef is less with Fred Wilson for “forcing” his daughter to tweet, and more with the mentality that it’s *positive* and *noteworthy* that someone is forcing their kids to use social media.

      IMHO it’s akin to a well-intentioned parent of the 1980s forcing their kid to take keyboarding classes, because “computers are the wave of the future!”  Mastering social media is, ultimately, a pretty useless skill for anyone that’s going to contribute real value with technology.  (Well, maybe not completely useless, but certainly quite orthogonal to being an technical innovator.)

  2. Peter Wang says:

    I’ve been a parent long enough to know not to judge others’ parenting.  However, if I ever start forcing my kids to use social media services to bolster my personal brand, somebody please – PLEASE – dump me in the woods with a sleeping bag, some water, and a couple of Steinbeck or Hemingway paperbacks.