Does blogging substitute real action?
I get asked about this a lot because I blog. Why are all these people blogging? Why aren’t they out there in the real world doing something?
Especially in the nonprofit world – where there’s so much need and most ED’s I know are busy enough running their programs, fundraising, doing the jobs of 4 people – blogging about nonprofits or philanthropy seems quite a luxury in navel-gazing. There’s so much work that needs to be done in the real world, why waste time blogging?
Perla goes on to write that she's of two minds on this and that if disseminating ideas is part of the core mission of nonprofits, then blogs seem to be a perfect vehicle for doing this:
The ideas and values at the heart of our nonprofit work – whether it be providing after school programs, cleaning up local streams, providing battered women shelter – need to be spread and supported even more widely if we want systemic change. That’s where blogging can matter.
Blogging is not the only means – but one easy and efficient channel for you to spread your ideas far and wide.
I have to agree with Perla. Part of most nonprofit missions is to persuade others to join their causes and blogging creates a great vehicle for doing this. But I'd take it one step further and say that in many cases blogging can BECOME the action--it can be the service or activity that needs to take place in order to support the organization in various aspects of its work. It's not something that you do INSTEAD of working--it's something you're doing because it's work that achieves your organization's mission.
Some examples that come to mind:
- Blogging as professional development. Every organization needs trained staff. Blogging can be a powerful strategy for creating and nurturing a learning climate that ensures staff have the skills and knowledge to perform their jobs. Blogs can become training tools that keep employees learning on an ongoing basis.
- Blogging as a service--As a medium that encourages the dissemination of ideas and information and that fosters 2-way communication, blogs provide a great vehicle for constituent services for many organizations. I think, for example, of Blog Cascadia (which also includes some great podcasts) or Acronym, two association blogs. Through these blogs, both associations are able to offer daily information to their members--and information is a key service associations are supposed to provide as part of their missions.
- Blogging as the mission. Blog for a Cure was started by Jill Midthun "to make life a little bit easier for cancer survivors by providing a free personal web publishing service for them and continuing to develop and upgrade this service to be the best it can be for its users." In this case, blogging is the reason for being.
Of course it's possible to get so hung up on blogging that you lose sight of other activities that will further your mission as an organization. But that's true of virtually anything your organization does. Raise your hand if you work for an organization that is totally focused on fundraising to the exclusion of many other activities, including actually providing services to consituents.
Blogging is a tool, and to my mind a pretty great one that's deserving of time and attention for a variety of reasons. Like all tools, the trick is knowing when to use it.
In response to Perla's original question though--Blogging doesn't replace action. But sometimes it can BE the action.
Photo via Fuyoh!
Note to my American Readers--Happy Thanksgiving!
And to ALL my readers--Thank you for being such a wonderful and supportive community. I've learned so much from all of you and I'm grateful for all the support.