Posted byat 13th April, 2009
Getting Active Online
by Elizabeth M. Curtis (Woodhull Alumna)
Social media, Web 2.0…Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Digg, Del.i.cious…RSS feeds, email alerts…HTML, SQL, CSS…Google, Wikipedia. These buzzwords are evidence of how increasingly wired our lives are becoming. But even the most internet-savvy individual can get bogged down in trying to keep all of these new media technologies straight.
Sure, new internet tools allow individuals who would not be able to have a voice in mainstream, traditional media venues to share their thoughts and opinions with a larger public. But, as a conscientious leader working to make a difference, how do you decide which trends are worth following? I am a firm believer in the power of getting active online, but as a professional in the non-profit sector, I understand that re-writing your advocacy playbook each time the latest gizmo or widget hits the web makes little sense. That’s why I want to make a case for blogging as the one emergent internet technology you can’t afford to pass up.
Weblogs or blogs, are becoming increasingly accepted and popular as primary news venues–and they’re easy to set-up and use. Anyone with an internet connection and the know-how to send an email can become a blogger (I promise – it’s that easy!). And, once you launch your blog, you have a unique platform to raise your voice in public debate and to get your message out there. Just think of the power you’ll have to spread information or organize actions once your blog starts getting high Google rankings…
My own blog, A Blog Without a Bicycle: Riding the Cyberwave of Feminism, started as a part of my M.A. thesis on feminism and social activism online. It lives on as a place for me to share resources and pop-culture critique as well as to build my professional career through the network and platform my weblog provides. Blogging has opened many doors for me – not only have I had the opportunity to meet fabulous feminist leaders and contribute to causes I believe in, I’ve also found myself tapped to contribute features, present on panels, and teach workshops on blogging and online activism.
Blogs are a powerful tool for today’s leaders. And you don’t have to take my word for it…
Blogs by Woodhull Women
Crucial Minutiae (www.crucialminutiae.com)
Jennifer Gandin Le (Woodhull 18), Kimberlee Auerbach (Woodhull 9), Joie Jager Hyman (Woodhull Faculty), and Courtney E. Martin (Woodhull Fellow) contribute to this group blog as a way to stay active in a writerly community as they develop their individual projects. “Blogging is a great way to get your message out and stay relevant without having to go through the sometimes painful process of pitching newspapers and magazines. It is a forum for your own opinion and thoughts. Blogging also helps you stay sharp. Every writer needs to keep writing, whether or not she sells everything she writes.”
- Joie Jager-Hyman
Courtney E. Martin
Girl with Pen (www.girlwithpen.blogspot.com)
Fellow Deborah Siegel started Girl With Pen to promote her book projects and now teaches webinars that train authors to use weblogs to build their platform.
The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com)
Jump Off the Bridge (http://takeajump.blogspot.com)
“I just started blogging a couple of months ago. I wanted to do it mostly because I kept wanting to react to stories, news, personal experiences, things I saw, etc., but I didn’t have any place to do that. I also thought it would be a good way to spread the word for causes I’m interested in and to voice my opinions as a feminist.”
- Sally Mercedes (Woodhull 54)
Lo’s Wise Words (http://wordsbylo.blogspot.com)
“My blog started three years ago before I went to spend a semester abroad and it has continued intermittently with new thoughts, updates on life, and writing that I wanted to share in a public forum. Although it’s not something I update regularly, I like to have it as a way to throw things out there and see what comes back!”
- Lauren Kaneko Jones (Woodhull 56)
“I started blogging to create buzz about my new wellness business, Nutrisults. I enjoy writing, so it’s a great creative outlet for me as well.”
- Mishra H. Keller, HHC (Woodhull 45)
The Urban Erma! (www.leighannlord.com/urban_erma.htm)
“I’m a professional standup comic, but I’m a writer at heart and my blog has given me an outlet for both my comedy and my writing. Until I get a comprehensive mental health care plan, my blog will have to do.”
- Leighann Lord (Woodhull 53)
VM Chick’s Weblog, VM Chick’s Eclectic World (http://vmchick.wordpress.com)
“I started my blog because I love to write and this is a great way to write daily without feeling pressure.”
- Ruth Nix (Woodhull 4)
What’s Good for Girls (www.whatsgoodforgirls.blogspot.com)
“Blogging provides an outlet for Woodhull women to put their voices into the world on their own terms and promote the issues they care about. One benefit of blogging for me has been to create a separate space for me to develop an identity outside of my work life, to think through issues that are important to me, and to connect with others who care about girls and young women’s issues. Blogging creates an alternative space for issues often not picked up on in traditional media outlets.”
- Patti Binder (Woodhull 53 & Writers’ 3)
1. Find a blog host and set up an account. Blogspot (www.blogspot.com) and Wordpress (www.wordpress.com) are among the popular sites that host blogs for free.
2. Write away–Remember to keep your entries short and frequent, and to make them interactive through reader comments and links.
3. Publicize it! Use cross links and guest blogging to find readers of similar sites.