Blogging and Social Activism
For Catherine Connors, becoming a driving force for action in her community did not mean traveling to foreign lands or holding a sign to protest for the causes she believed in. She enacted change with a few keystrokes on her computer.
Catherine is a mother, a blogger, and an online social activist.
She became interested in this new outlet of campaigning after interviewing Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon and founder of New York Magazine. In her interview, Gloria told Catherine, she felt like the new realm of blogospheres was at the forefront of a new kind of revolutionary movement.
“A movement wherein we really talk to one another, and listen to one another,” Gloria told Catherine. “A movement wherein the highest premium is placed on telling the truth, and deriving inspiration and power from the truth. A movement that we further with every post that we write, with every supportive comment that we leave, with every empowering conversation that we spark and fuel and fan to a blaze...”
But with Gloria’s encouragement came a warning.
“Never forget that such a movement, based as it is on dialogue and debate, can only ever be a support for action; It cannot replace action,” she said. “Don’t cocoon in your blogosphere. Don’t mistake speaking or writing for acting. Don't just talk: do."
Gloria’s message inspired Catherine to try something new.
“I made it a personal mission to do as much as I could to push myself, and other members of my online community, to use this medium for good, and as a springboard for action,” she said.
From there, she began hosting blog actions- asking bloggers to write about causes they are passionate about- doing online fundraising, and raising awareness through online resources.
What to start campaigning for was clear for Catherine - her nephew is dying of Muscular Dystrophy.
In 2007, Catherine founded the Canadian arm of BlogHer’s social action network, which expanded to include Give Good Blog, a program designed to promote social responsibility in blogging.
“My objective has and remains, basically, to promote the idea that we have an important platform in the Internet and blogging, and that we should use it for good,” she said. “Whether that means using it to raise money for charity or support your favorite cause or simply to make time/space to write about things that make the world a better place, every little bit counts. And it's as easy as simply writing a post, or tweeting a link to a charity, or passing along review swag to someone who needs it. The little things matter.”
The greatest challenge, Catherine said, was overcoming her hesitation to ask her community for help, whether that means asking for their attention, their effort to promote an issue, or even their donations.
“ ... Overcoming that kind of fear/anxiety can be difficult, and I think that we all need to do a better job of reminding each other that it's okay - it's good - to ask for support in our causes,” she said.
Fears aside, blogging about social activism is something Catherine fully invests in, as she continues to fight the causes and brings awareness to the issues she believes in.
“The beauty of online social activism - it's easy; It's accessible; Anyone can do it,” Catherine said. “If you have a social network, you can do it. If you have a blog, you can do it. Sky's the limit!”