Alternate title: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Blog*
I must confess I’m not very good at keeping a diary. I want to, very much, but I just don’t seem to find the time.
Ironically, I do have a blog (other than this one) that I write for pretty regularly.
For many people out there in the blogosphere, blogs are like their personal diary where they document their thoughts and exciting events.
What’s the blogosphere? The blogosphere is the interconnected community of blogs on the Internet. But perhaps there are a few more terms that require defining before we go any further.
Is “Blog” Even A Word?
Short for weblog, the word blog is both a noun and verb.
Blog: what you’re reading right now.
To blog or blogging: the act of writing for a blog.
Blogger: one who blogs.
Simply put, a blog is a website with individual commentary. Blogs can be personal, corporate, for entertainment purposes, political or focus on a specific issue area, i.e. Philanthropy.
You Are Here
When I started this social media series I outlined four areas that I would focus on:
- Listening: I’ve covered how to use Google Alerts, an RSS reader and Twitter as tools for listening to online conversations in Philanthropy.
- Sharing: I’m just beginning to cover this topic. See the last two posts which covered how Twitter can be used to share.
- Engaging & Connecting: This post on blogging will begin to talk about how to use social media to deepen and develop relationships with grantees, colleagues and partners.
- Why do any of it? Though I plan to do one post specifically on this topic, I have been providing arguments for why grantmakers should use social media in every post.
We’ve covered listening and with the posts on Twitter we’ve now entered the territory of sharing. And blogs are a perfect example of how a foundation can use a social media tool to share.
Blogging is Sharing
Whereas Twitter limits you to only 140 characters for announcing news or pointing people to online articles, a blog allows its blogger (author/writer) the ability to write as much or as little without limitation. Though, general web writing guidelines recommend short blog posts (oh irony, I know you well).
But the point is, bloggers create their own content. They muse or comment on whatever topic they choose.
For grantmakers a blog can be a powerful tool. By sharing their perspective on issue areas or highlighting the work of their grantees, foundations have the ability to shape conversation about the future of Philanthropy.
To Blog, Or Not To Blog: That Is The Question
And how are other grantmakers making use of blogs?
Here are a few NCG members who blog:
*The California Endowment [Bob's Blog]: shares the foundation’s position on policy issues and their grantmaking priorities.
*Mitchell Kapor Foundation blog: uses the blog “as a tool to share [their] grantmaking philosophy, practices, and processes.”
*REDF’s blog [Fuel for the Field]: “highlights the unique perspective of REDF and their partners.”
*ZeroDivide’s blogs: covers a wide range of technology issues and features postings by multiple staff members.
Blogging is Engaging
Unlike a press release, which is a one-way communication piece, blogs allow individuals the ability to leave comments, which allows for two-way communication.
Take the example of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Scroll down their blog’s page and you’ll find this:
The content on this site is posted by employees, grantees, and persons unrelated to the foundation. This comments section serves to facilitate open dialogue and encourage the exchange of ideas.
“The exchange of ideas.”
Simple, but very powerful when you think about it. It’s a phrase often used to describe education, especially the university experience. What if we continue to apply that lesson of learning to our work as grantmakers?
If we continue to see the world, our communities, as a classroom for learning, then anyone potentially could be our teacher, our mentor, our cohort. Engaging and connecting with others allows for continual learning, collaboration and, as an added benefit, our relationships with colleagues, partners and grantees are deepened and enriched.
For the benefit of all.
Tomorrow, how exactly to start up a blog.
* Five points if you can name that reference.
The Social Media & Grantmaking blog post series will cover a wide range of topics. Check out the introduction post outlining the series.
To see all the posts in this series, simply type “social media series” into the search box located upper right of this web page.