produce original content consistently, that create thoughtful and meaningful responses to emotionally- or politically-charged blogs or discussions. There are those that prefer to simply peruse the pages of RBC searching for answers or shared experiences. Lurkers represent the listeners, the audience, the foot soldiers in the trenches. The readers.
The opportunity to step out of the trenches every now and again is here, right in front of you. Click on "write a post" or "start a discussion" and there you have it. An instant platform, an opportunity to put thoughts to page, to raise awareness, to share know-how, to stir the pot or spoil the stew - whatever the case may be. Some write "because it's there." Others write because they have to - to increase their vocabulary and develop their brains or simply to spew some venom. To liberate their thoughts. "Blogging is free, it doesn't matter if anyone reads it. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the meta-cognition that comes from thinking about what you're gonna say... If you're good at it, some people are gonna read it. If you're not good at it and you stick with it, you'll get good at it. This has become such a micropublishing platform that, basically, you're doing it for yourself, to force yourself to become part of the conversation, even if it's just that big. And that posture change changes an enormous amount." So says Seth Godin at a recent Amex Open Session. Blogging is free but does that lower the perceived value? Because anyone and everyone can do it, express themselves in numerous forums through the written word, should they? Should we? Bloggers have been blamed for putting reporters and columnists out of work, for twisting the truth, for gaining knowledge using unethical or easy means, for not checking their facts, for not having a formal education or experience... Oh, because the news media, in its previous form, was never charged with those accusations, right? Seth Godin was a columnist for printed media, yet he doesn't appear to be out of work. Why is that? Is it because he changed as technology did? Because he embraced the new and saw the direction media was going? He put down his pen and now fervently moves a cursor. Tom Peters, co-author of In Search of Excellence , finished Seth Godin's preceding statement with, "My first post (blog)was in August of 2004. I will simply say, no single thing, in the last fifteen years professionally, has been more important in my life than blogging. It has changed my life. It has changed my perspective. It has changed my intellectual outlook. It has changed my emotional outlook and it's the best damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude that I've ever had."
Godin responds, "And it's free." That being said, the only question remaining, "Why aren't you blogging?" by rayannethorn…
may be avid bloggers. Some of you may write when you are compelled to. Some of you may write for your company's website. Some may write just to expand your mind, vocabulary and view point. Others may write simply because you can - and still others may write because you have to - you simply "can't not" write. I fall into all of the categories above.
Back in June, I wrote A Grave Crime. This was a piece addressing the imprisonment of journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee in North Korea. I was compelled to write then, as I am now. I wonder if it is a mere coincidence that the date of their release, negotiations successfully completed by Bill Clinton, fell 275 years - TO THE DAY - after the release of John Peter Zenger who was jailed as the result of an information - a listing of charges - set forth by a tyrannical New York Province governor; Zenger refused to reveal the source of the articles he printed that criticized the governor. His refusal led to his arrest and long imprisonment before a jury of his peers swiftly voted him not guilty. He was released August 4, 1735.
Both of these stories are important to me. Why? Because I value deeply the right to say and write whatever I want, as long as it doesn't bring danger to anyone else. The incidences are as different as they are alike but the principle remains the same. Social media in 1735 consisted of a weekly printed newspaper and word of mouth - an actual front porch. Social media now consists of twitter, social networks, online news sources, television, email, instant messaging, printed publications, and mobile phone (texting and voice to voice) - the new front porch.
Are you sometimes unhappy with what you read here? Are you sometimes compelled to write a response to a post or other response that infuriates you or causes you to question? Good. Do you ever read a post here that opens your mind or changes your POV? Good. Do you ever write a post here with the hopes of stirring the pot a bit? Good. Putting thought into type has been around hieroglyphics. Reading a great story is just as joyful as writing one.
People stand up for their rights every day. The put words on a sign to carry at a picket line. They print pamphlets that denounce practices with which they disagree. They argue at City Council meetings or at congressional hearings. They run for office or back candidates that share their view point. They write books or plays that question laws or freedoms. They produce movies that educate or inform. They create art, poetry, music, or photography that depicts when freedoms are taken away, squelched, or abolished. Why? Because the compellation is strong and the need is too powerful for them to ignore. The stand taken is laid on a thick foundation, built over the backs and stories of those that came before.
Currents events continue to prove that even today, taking a stand can mean life or death. What's it worth to you?