So, I’ve done a few posts over the last few months that have decried the negativity that has been building in the online world. Of course, I am entirely aware of the fact that if you merely lambaste people for acting in a negative fashion without offering some way out of the rat trap, you’re just adding to the negative vibe.
Well, I certainly don’t want to do THAT.
So, the next few posts in the Engagement Series are going to offer some ideas on how you can use online engagement in various places – like your blog – to help improve the world.
I hear some of you cynics whispering out there, getting ready to build your case that online engagement can’t really improve the world. Engaging via your blog site or via Twitter probably won’t help find a cure for Cancer. However, “improving the world” has different degrees of involvement. If you improve someone’s day, that’s improving the world, is it not? If you let people know that something bad is going on and that they can do something about it, that’s making the world a better place, isn’t it? It’s those kinds of positive vibes we’ll be talking about here.
So, with that said, here are 25 ways you can use engagement on your blog to help make the world a better place!
1. Blog about an issue that needs attention. For example, I’d have never heard about Rumana Monzur if Tobey Deys hadn’t blogged about her. Knowing about these kinds of situations empowers us to fight them.
2. Blog about an organization or a person who is working beyond the internet (or not) to improve the world. Geoff Livingston often shines the light on Charity Water. Chris Brogan introduced me and I’m sure many others to Mark Horvath and Invisible People. Introducing people to great people and organizations aids those people in organizations in doing what they do best – improving the world.
3. Promote someone who may be new to the world of Social Media. If you aren’t new to the online world, you probably remember what it was like to just get started. It is frustrating at times, discouraging at others. If you see someone working really hard and just not getting much traction, shine a light on what they’re doing. It’ll make their day.
4. Report on news events, but don’t just report – indicate how your readers can help. We know that the Associated Press now considers blogs a legitimate source for news. That means we as bloggers have an opportunity to spread the news and also to spread knowledge about how people can get help. That’s pretty important, right?
5. Create a blogging group to support each other. This group can exist on your blog or on some other platform. One of my favorite blog groups that primarily resides in the Blogosphere is LetsBlogOff. Topics are thrown out, everyone in the group who wants to can participate, and everyone helps support all of the bloggers for that week. This helps with ideas for blog posts as well as building confidence, both of which are great things to do.
6. Set the stage for a fundraiser that may be occurring elsewhere. The best example I’ve seen of this so far was the fundraiser Scott Stratten (aka @unmarketing) helped with called Tutus for Tanner. The primary fundraising was done on Twitter, but various blog posts on a few different sites explained everything.
7. Build an important conversation by responding to and linking to someone’s important post. Create a conversation that extends across many different blogs.
8. Use your blog to provide how-to information. In other words, be helpful.
9. Use your blog to encourage gratitude and positive thinking. You want to know who does this really well? Lisa Petrilli.
10. Blog to support your profession, whatever it may be. If you’re a librarian, use your blog to explain what’s going on in libraries right now. If you’re a teacher, explain the challenges you face and what you need help with. Or write a post like Dr. Susan Giurleo did, which is primarily geared towards other people in her profession.
11. Blog to offer hope like Nancy Davis does.
12. Blog to raise awareness about issues that people sometimes find uncomfortable – create a venue where it is safe and okay to talk about things like anorexia, rape, illness, or unemployment.
13. Blog to bring together or to outline two opposing sides of a debate. Let your readers see both perspectives on neutral ground.
14. Bring great posts by other bloggers to your readers like Ingrid Abboud and Jason Sokol do. This benefits the bloggers and your readers.
15. Blog to record important moments. This may not seem like it can improve the world, and indeed it may not for many decades, but creating a live, real-time record of events happening now could be of huge benefit for future generations. It’s worth a shot, right?
16. Link to fundraising pages for organizations you care a great deal about, or use some of your blog real estate to show web badges for organizations you care about. We’re all trying to bring in more traffic, right? So, we could expose our readers to some organizations we support along with advertisers who are helping us make money (or so it seems to me, anyway).
17. Gather bloggers to cover an important issue. One way to do this is how Daria Giron approached it with her “executive image” series. In this case, six women and I were invited to write posts on our site over a period of 7 weeks. What I think would be an interesting experiment too would be to have several different bloggers blog about a very important issue all at one time. For example, if a bill is coming up for a vote, lots of bloggers could come together and write in support of or against that bill, creating a huge amount of fodder for search engines.
18. Let people guest post on your site, especially if they are new to blogging. Give them a chance to meet your readers. Give your readers a chance to meet someone they might not otherwise run into in the online world.
19. Credit others who have given you ideas, inspiration, or motivation. It sounds like a little thing, but it’s always a smile-creating event when you see a trackback to your blog for really positive and kind reasons!
20. Use your blog to build a community. This doesn’t necessarily mean a community who ended up liking your writing and each other. Risk sharing some personal details so that you can draw people with similar struggles or similar histories together. Corinne Edwards did this beautifully when she wrote a post about how she got by in the first few months after her husband passed away. Her post has since evolved into a forum for other women going through the same experience.
21. Respond to comments. I know, this seems like it wouldn’t affect the world either, but it’s really another way of showing gratitude and appreciation. When people comment on your posts, they are giving you gifts. Time. Effort. Thought. Ideas. Is that not worth commenting on on your end?
22. Search for solid facts when a lot of rumor and innuendo is flying around. Sometimes one of the best ways to solve a controversy is to introduce solid fact into the conversation. It doesn’t always work, but it often helps.
23. Be a voice for those who are silent. Animals who are abused cannot blog. Children who are abused or sick cannot blog. People starving or homeless or in other situations can’t always detail online what they are going through. Give them a voice because you can.
24. Stand up for people whom you feel are being treated unjustly. This can be a sticky wicket. You don’t want to stick your nose into someone’s business. However, standing up for someone on a site that is all your own is a great way to strive to improve the world.
25. Use your blog to track progress towards a certain goal. If you are aware of a fundraiser, big or small, let people know how they are doing. If you are striving to lose weight, keep people updated on how you are doing. People can engage with you as you work towards your goals, and as DJ Waldow has found out, they might even work towards those goals with you.
There you have it. Those are the 25 ways I came up with for using engagement on your blog to help improve the world. What do you have to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This is post #79 in the Engagement Series. Thank you for reading!
Images by sanja gjenero. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lusi