Blog Action Day creates unity for social action, says organizer

13 October 2008

SYDNEY — Bloggers everywhere – including people who write some of the most subscribed-to blogs in the world – will discuss the subject of poverty during the second annual Blog Action Day, set for 15 October.

So far more than 8,000 bloggers with an estimated 10 million readers have committed to the project, and – if last year’s Blog Action Day is an indication – the numbers could increase significantly by the end of the designated day. TechCrunch, LifeHacker, ReadWriteWeb, and ProBlogger are among the well-known blogs that have signed on.

One of the main organizers, Collis Ta’eed, says the concept of Blog Action Day fits well with his Baha’i beliefs and his understanding of Baha’i teachings about social action.

“Our idea is to give bloggers a platform and enable them to take a day out of their schedule to do something socially positive,” said Mr. Ta’eed, an Australian who works internationally as a professional Web designer.

“It puts Baha’i principles into action in the sense that people should get outside themselves and do something for the greater community,” he continued. “The Baha’i Faith puts a big responsibility on the individual to take action.”

Collis and Cyan Ta’eed are two of the principal organizers of Blog Action Day. ‘Our idea is to give bloggers a platform and enable them to take a day out of their schedule to do something socially positive,’ Mr. Ta’eed said.SLIDESHOW
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Collis and Cyan Ta’eed are two of the principal organizers of Blog Action Day. ‘Our idea is to give bloggers a platform and enable them to take a day out of their schedule to do something socially positive,’ Mr. Ta’eed said.

The Internet in general, and blogging specifically, offer a unique way of communicating, and Blog Action Day plugs into that, said Mr. Ta’eed.

One quarter of the world’s top 100 blogs (as listed by Technorati) have signed up to participate, he said.

The idea of Blog Action Day is for blog publishers to view a critical social issue from their own perspective, and do it all at once, in effect generating a multi-faceted global discussion on a specific topic.

“If your blog normally deals with finance, then you would discuss poverty from that angle,” Mr. Ta’eed said. “If your blog normally deals with technology, you would discuss it from that angle.”

He said that bloggers wanting to support the project can go to www.blogactionday.org and register, and anyone can check the same Web site for other avenues of participation, including calling in to a 12-hour radio talk-a-thon on BlogTalkRadio.

The event is not-for-profit, and there are no fees. Persons wanting to make a monetary contribution – and one of the suggestions to bloggers is to donate the day’s income – should do so to a charity of their choice or to an official Blog Action Day charity listed on the Web site, Mr. Ta’eed said.

Leo Babauta, author of the hugely popular ZenHabits blog and another of the organizers of Blog Action Day, said the project brings together thousands of conversations happening on different blogs.

“It forms a huge conversation about one important topic, and in changing the conversation, we change people’s thinking and their actions,” said Mr. Babauta, who is not a Baha’i.

He said he always hopes that his blogging work will engage people in dialogue and change lives “at least a little.” Blog Action Day is the “ultimate extension of that hope,” he said.

“When Collis (Ta’eed) asked me to help him start it up in 2007, I jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “This is what blogging should be.”

Last year’s Blog Action Day focused on the subject of the environment. More than 20,000 bloggers participated, offering input from thousands of unique perspectives, Mr. Ta’eed said. The project keys into the “unity in diversity” often discussed by Baha’is, he noted.

A passage from the Baha’i writings also helped guide him, he said.

“The quotation says the ‘honor and distinction of the individual’ consists of him being a source of social good,” Mr. Ta’eed said.

The idea of Blog Action day is “to empower all the thousands of bloggers to do just that,” he said.