VOF Week 3: (A Brief Personal History of Blogging.)
Ten years ago, as we sat on the end of our bed in our two up two down terraced house in Sheffield, England my future husband asked me what I thought I would do once we got to America?
Blogging hadn’t existed then. I had barely used the Internet. But when he asked me that question I remember thinking about various ways I could work to build and inspire community. Then I saw a picture of a website in my mind with flags from all over the world and a dove on the logo.
”Wouldn’t it be cool?” I answered - and yes I used to speak like that in 1998 - “If there was a website that with the click of a mouse on the picture of a flag could translate the content into anyone’s language? Then people from all over the world could come together. It might even bring peace.” Naïve, I thought and laughed.
I began blogging a couple of years ago as the International Outreach Coordinator for Mothers Acting Up. MAU works to inspire and mobilize a million mothers to advocate on behalf of the world’s children.
I began with the UK, believing that my inherent Britishness would be enough to mobilize grassroots advocacy from overseas. I developed a new website with content designed for a British audience and began outreach through a blog on myspace. It surprised me how many hits each weekly blog generated. Sometimes I wrote about actions that might appeal to British mothers, sometimes about MAU’s mission and principles, but it soon became clear that it was the personal stories, where I related my own experiences of advocacy, that got the most attention.
I began to worry that I wouldn’t have enough stories to maintain my readers interest, or worse that they would figure out I’m really not that interesting and find something much more constructive to do with their time! Surprisingly, even when I left gaps of a month or two between blogs, the hits I generated remained around the same. I learned to blog at my own pace, but new challenges began to surface. How do I monitor and evaluate the efficacy of my outreach? Were my blogs bringing people to the website? Why weren’t people in the UK signing up to become members? Was I inspiring or mobilizing any of my readers into advocacy?
Today, MAU UK now longer exists; I learned grassroots advocacy necessitated person(s) on the ground and blogging in and of itself was not a means to mobilization. PulseWire has taught me something new about blogging. Here blogs are about connection and building community. They raise awareness and inspire me to dream my dream again… I wonder if this international community of bloggers could cultivate enough cross cultural acceptance and understanding to foster peace?
Now that would be cool!