Saturday, February 11, 2006

How to change the world with blogging

Originally uploaded by the view from in here.

Registering for Moose Camp.

I was at the Northern Voice blogging conference last Friday and Saturday. Lots of juicy stuff going on, and one of the highlights that i figured you guys would enjoy the most was a presentation by Rob Cottingham on how your blog can change the world.

Originally uploaded by the view from in here.

Here's a blurry picture of Rob holding up a cell phone on which Marnie Webb was able to contribute her portion of the presentation. Bloggers are nothing if not resourceful!

Here's my notes on his presentation...

Rob suggested that there are five kinds of change we can bring about, specifically the kinds of changes where people can act on something:
  • building community
  • connecting resources and needs
  • advocacy
  • providing information
  • supporting or enabling others

He warned that bloggers for change can encounter the echo chamber effect where the communication becomes circular, with little dialogue, and ultimately few people are persuaded to change. He suggests that we need to know what the goal is and to remember that the change we seek is in the physical world, not just the digital.

We need to ask, what do people need and how do we reach them? Our thinking needs to be strategic, but perform that fine balancing act between personal authenticity and strategy to achieve goals. He offers sustainablog--as a good example of this balance.

Rob suggests that ways to avoid the echo chamber and to widen your sphere of influence is to invite others to speak through your blog either as a guest post or guest editor. And to join an existing effort, by adding a web badge for instance (for example human rights watch produces an rss feed), by providing information on other blogs and websites related to your goals, by using common tags for your topic, and by using flickr tags. All of these will help you to draw a wider audience. Also consider contributing reasoned comments on the blogs of those who oppose you. Where better to find new readers?

Some other great examples of blogs that are changing the world:
  • interplast-blog --creates an ongoing connection. They use a flickr feed. They connect the community and tell a story
  • march of dimes --dealing with critical childhood illness. Was originally set up for parents (by Nancy White), but became a powerful fundraising tool. It is used in addition to traditional websites.
  • jetsgo--When it failed suddenly and thousands were left jobless, one person set up a simple blog and invited people to share their stories -- it became a job connection site.
The invitation to a broad scope and letting go of control brings in wider audience and increases what you can cover.

Some sites offered by audience members as examples of social change/networking blogging: - an amazing site about planning, developing and operating wireless broadband networks in northern BC communities.; youth in the north linking to each other - after the london bombing - reaction site to

There was also a suggestion for the creation of a drupal module to help with decision making for online groups.

There was a reflection that this medium of communication is transformative for an organization and to remember that there is a bifurcation between people who are comfortable with digital world vs those that are not.

Awesome contribution, Rob. Well done, espeicially in light of losing so many panel members at the last minute.

Originally uploaded by the view from in here.

Lunch at Templeton, 1087 Granville St., Vancouver. Great organic burgers and other cool eats for under $12! Groovy!

No comments: