This entry to the One Post Challenge comes from Perla Ni. Perla was the founder of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her current project is Great Nonprofits, a “Zagat’s”-like guide to nonprofits.
By Perla Ni
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?
I have two minds about this. On one hand, yes, I’ve seen blogging become an end to itself for some bloggers. One blogger I know started blogging in order to vent his frustrations about the lack of community spirit in his town. Though he’s still very much looking for solutions, he’s equally absorbed with monitoring how many people have visited his blog and how long they’ve stayed on the site. Because the “success” of blogs are measured by these metrics, it’s easy to see how some can get so absorbed in the process of blogging that it saps their focus from tackling the real world problem.\
On the other hand, blogging is essentially the mass, interactive, publishing and the dissemination ideas. It’s an efficient means for spreading ideas. As Seth Godin says, “ideas that spread, wins. Period.”
When we think of some of the most important accomplishments of nonprofits – the civil rights movement, environmental movement, women’s rights movement – these are all massive systemic changes that required the winning of millions of hearts and minds. 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. Even those of you who are on the front lines – working with incarcerated juveniles, or running a museum, or providing health counseling – you are all also in the business of winning support for your patients, clients and cause. You are all in the business of gaining converts to your ideals and goals. Now if they can only add another 2 hours to the day!