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Blogging - Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

30 August, 2004 12:26 AM

In just a few hours the Olympics finish up for another 4 years. With it we'll be tying up some loose ends at the Olympics Blog and then sleeping for weeks. It has been a pretty amazing experience to run a blog on such a global event. I've learnt a heap about blogging in the past few weeks which I'm sure I'll utilize in the months ahead in considering the starting of some new blogs.

I guess the most exciting realization has been a confirmation of the amazing potential of blogging as a medium to communicate with people on a global level. By the end of today over 1.5million people will have stopped by the site (over 4 weeks) to read what a couple of guys sitting in front of their TVs in the middle of the night on the other side of the world from the event itself are reporting about it.

The mind boggles really as to what blogging can achieve with a bit of planning, effort, creativity and foresight.

The question left in my mind tonight is around 'what next?' It has been an exciting couple of weeks of experimenting but what do we do with the lessons learnt? There are a few more ideas for commercial/business blogs percolating in my mind - some of us have been talking about some interesting dreams and possibilities to capitalize on what we've learnt but I'm wondering if there might be something more?

One of the streams of thinking I'm currently pursuing is 'blogging for social change'. Bear with me here, it's late and I'm thinking out loud.

You see one of the remarkable things about blogging is that it gives ordinary people a voice that they might not have had previously. On a personal level this is true - when I started blogging my network was very local and quite limited in number. Blogging has opened this up considerably - I've 'met' people world wide who are doing and thinking about very similar things to me. It has given me opportunity not only to learn from them but also to contribute - to have my say in the emerging conversation.

This is a story that is not unique to me but that is world wide in nature. Blogging has given millions of people voices - some have used it for good, some not so good.

The thing is that there are a lot of people in our world without voices. The voiceless include the poor, the sick, the grieving, the marginalized, the ignored, the hidden, the abused, the minorities etc of our world. I believe as that its part of my responsibility as a human being is to be a part of a life giving process to these groups of people. This comes partly from my faith and understanding of God who has a heart for these people, but also out of something deep within me that I think we all have - a desire to make a difference.

One of the few things I do know when working with the marginalized is the importance of being given permission to speak - to have a voice - to be heard.

Could blogging be used more in this process? I've heard of a few instances of this kind of blogging - there is the Homeless Guy's blog for example which has had quite a bit of press but I'm wondering if others know of others?

I'm wanting to do a bit of research into this - but am also wanting to do something with what I find and am really open to ideas. I saw a story on TV a while back of a young paraplegic guy who was given a blog a few weeks after an accident that took him mobility from him and how it gave him a real sense of purpose in life to have his story told and know thousands of people were reading it. I havn't been able to find his blog yet (anyone know of it?).

I really see some incredible potential in this and would invite others to share their own ideas, journey and links.



It's really amazing that blogging can be such an experience for you. Were you able to make money with the olympic blog?

Susan » 30 August, 2004 3:47 PM

thanks Susan - yeah it was a worthwhile experience on a financial level - we're not millionaires of course but it paid our costs and for the time we put into it.

Better than getting a part time job in a warehouse like I used to do!

Darren Rowse » 30 August, 2004 5:40 PM

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