33 comments

  1. 1. Absolutely. I sometimes write about my experience with bipolar disorder and hope to assist in removing the stigma attached to mental illness. I write about many other things as well, such as leaving Christianity, in hopes that people are inspired to be more accepting.

    2. Yes, for sure! to both questions.

    3. Sometimes I measure the success by how many people are reading my blog, but at the end of the day, the most important thing to me is the thoughtful comments I receive, whether it is one per post or twenty. It is the content that matters.

    Hope this helps! If you need me to answer anything more thoroughly, I’d be happy to! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kylie! I can’t wait to check out your blog, you sound like you have some great stories to tell. I agree about the thoughtful comments — there’s nothing better than a comment that opens a dialogue or shows you an interpretation you haven’t seen before.

    2. I have GAD and ADHD, and my friends are surprised when they find out, especially with all the discussion going on with gun ownership and the mentally ill. When one of those who are pro gun-control says the mentally ill shouldn’t be allowed to, I simply ask it as, “So, you think I shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun?” and it shocks them that we are not the wackos the media and Hollywood portray us as. I’m not out as a form of shame; I just don’t define my life by them, and unless they are real close, I just don’t generally disclose it.

  2. Do your blogging goals include having some kind of social impact?

    My blog started more as a means for me to let the pain out. It didn’t take long (or much encouragement) to realize I could use it for good. I have been using my blog to talk about issues I feel are important but you’ll find one thing for sure. It is about anti-rape and the foul treatment of women in some areas of the world. I do hope to raise awareness for this social cause.

    Do you think you’ve done so?

    Yes because I’ve become pretty active and my blog is receiving traffic. The most popular entries all happen to be the plight of women under sharia law and rape awareness when I talk about my rape.

    How?

    Just putting the words to light helps. If you affect just one mind in a positive manner I think you’ve accomplished your mission. It’s about reaching people and connecting. I think I’ve done just that.

    Do you think having a blog can be an effective form of civic engagement?

    I think it can be. But it’s just one forum and you have to see it as such. The blogging community is large but in comparison to the world and other forms of media. My blog has allowed me access to other media including local news and even a national radio program and even a possible book deal. But it started with a blog.

    Does it make you a more responsible, educated, respectful citizen?

    Yes I believe so because as I drive into my core message I’ve had to learn and study the history and conditions of the present especially for women living under sharia law. It’s forced me to confront my own rape and I’ve gained an understanding that a victim of rape is challenging their faith. It’s critical to reinforce that faith as fast as possible. I’ve been rethinking how to help rape victims and even am considering a change in career. One that would send me back to school.

    How do you measure the success of your blog?

    The comments private or on-line. I measure it by the people who have contacted me and said these words helped thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with faith after my rape. These mean more to me than a million hits a day. So for me success is the personal connection and knowing I helped someone else in some small way no matter how small.

    Is it quantifiable – number of views, number of followers, amount of publicity – or is it something else?

    See above something else. Your blog could have 9 viewers but if that personal connection helps just one. it was worth it.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers, Michelle. You make a lot of points that I really appreciate — especially the idea that a blog is just one forum, albeit a great one, and that it can open doors to media that has greater influence. I agree, though, personal connection is the beginning of everything.

      I’ll be citing you in my paper 🙂

  3. 1. My blogging goals have never been lofty. I blog because I like to write. I did have some minor goals starting out, and that was to build up a decent readership and to have a community interact with me in the comments, and I have done so. Every once in a while I do feel the need to tackle serious subject matter, and I’m assured by my readers when I do so I’ve made a positive impact on them.

    2. Having a blog hasn’t made me a more responsible, educated, or respectful citizen, but being part of the community has. By going out and reading the words of others I’ve learned many things that have made me a better person. I’ve learned more about depression, abuse, and other serious social topics. I’ve become more aware. I’ve become more understanding and open-minded.

    3. Ha! I already answered that in my answer to the first question.

    1. Good point! I think that’s probably true, that most of the positive effects of having a blog come in interactions with other bloggers. Words have much more impact in conversation than they ever will in post format.

  4. ■Do your blogging goals include having some kind of social impact? Do you think you’ve done so? How?

    Yes they do. My particular blog (though sometimes gets a bit extravagant in the processes) is partly to bring people back into the kitchen and away from always eating fast-food, etc. as there are so many healthier options which do not take all that much time or effort to make- which is a big misconcpetion with a large part of the younger crowd. I interact with people of numerous other blogs (both cooking and non-cooking as well as facebook) so I feel in some regards it is getting the point/idea across.

    ■Do you think having a blog can be an effective form of civic engagement? Does it make you a more responsible, educated, respectful citizen?

    I think it can be a form of effective civic engagement, however I don’t feel it is something I need to be a better citizen as a whole, though from following bloggers of other path’s of life there are so many perspectives on topics that you don’t always see and it gets you to think deeper about such subjects.

    ■How do you measure the success of your blog? Is it quantifiable – number of views, number of followers, amount of publicity – or is it something else?

    As of this point I would say I don’t exactly have anything in mind as “definitive” success. I have followers, I interact with numerous of them and have discussions, so for now I would say I have success as I have proof of reaching out to others and making some sort of an impact.

    Good luck with your last week. Do you have anything lined up yet post-college? All the best to you 🙂

    1. Thanks, Chad! I’m glad your blog is doing so well. Having a community of people to interact with is definitely amazing. And I appreciate your willingness to share your opinions — “success” is such a hard thing to define, especially when it’s not really measurable, but knowing that you’ve reached out to other people is pretty great.

    2. Oh, and as far as post-college…I’m headed straight for unemployment.

      (I’m probably being dramatic. I have interviews. Hopefully someone will hire me. Hopefully.)

      1. Don’t get too let down if you apply to tons of places and don’t hear back from them (or in some cases they may respond back months later). When I first graduated with my Bio degree, professors said you are lucky if you hear back from a quarter of the places you apply to. The best thing is to keep your head up and be persistent.

  5. Do your blogging goals include having some kind of social impact? No, like you it’s kind of just my space to write and share and sort things out.

    Do you think having a blog can be an effective form of civic engagement? Do it make you more responsible, educated, respectful citizen? I’m not really sure, sorry! But I do think it opens our eyes up to what’s going on in our world and how it’s impacting others lives. I think it really depends on what types of blogs you read.

    How do you measure the success of your blog? Is it quantifiable number of views, followers, publicity, or something else? I guess kind of the amount of comments but really just how often I blog because regardless of who reads it or comments a blog isn’t a blog without entries.

    1. I like your last point! A blog can’t do much of anything if it doesn’t have content. I find myself struggling sometimes to find time to write, or to find something to write about, but I guess it really is important to just keep writing through it. Thanks for helping!!

  6. ◾Do your blogging goals include having some kind of social impact? Do you think you’ve done so? How?

    When I started blogging my goals were to motivate myself to get into a regular writing habit, and to find an audience for my writing. Put that way, it kind of sound like it’s all about me, but if I drill down further into the reason I write in the first place, a big part of that is because I believe writing makes a difference. I believe that you can effect change in the world by writing something that causes someone to think differently than they did before they read your words. Do I think I have done that with my blog. In a small way, yes. I have had comments to posts that indicate that my words have caused the reader to pause and reflect.

    ◾Do you think having a blog can be an effective form of civic engagement? Does it make you a more responsible, educated, respectful citizen?

    I think any vehicle for expressing your viewpoint can make you a more responsible citizen. I do think that the possibility of anonymity the web affords creates the risk that someone can hide behind that anonymity to be a force of negativity and destruction. We know that happens. I hasten to add, however, that I don’t intend that to be a blanket indictment of anonymous bloggers. I know lots of bloggers who blog anonymously for lots of very good reasons who are using their blogs to raise awareness about very important issues such as mental illness and domestic violence.

    I think when you put your thoughts out for the world to see you will be bound to have those thoughts critiqued and evaluated, and if you are willing to reflect on that critique with an open mind, you will definitely learn and grow.

    ◾How do you measure the success of your blog? Is it quantifiable – number of views, number of followers, amount of publicity – or is it something else?

    Oh goodness if I was going based on the numbers I would have given up long ago!

    I do find it gratifying to watch the number of followers climb gradually, and I love comments. I have twice had the thrill of being Freshly Pressed, and I greatly value that nod from the WordPress Editors. I consider a re-blog a compliment. I love it when my friends share my posts on Facebook. Anything that is evidence that someone read my work and thought it was worth referring to someone else is, in my view, a mark of success.

    I should also say, that the satisfaction I feel when I post something that I know says exactly what I was trying to express is perhaps the most important measure of all.

    Congrats on graduating and welcome to the next adventure!

    1. I think you hit on a cool point – that blogging can somehow be selfish and selfless at the same time. Writing is one of those cool ways that you can do something for yourself and still manage to make an impact on the people around you. I like the idea that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, and I like your definition of success 🙂 Thank you for thoughtfully answering my questions!

  7. Hi Gwen. My name is Robert and I’m glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I’m twenty three and a recent college graduate from Miami, FL. I hope this response gets you one step closer to an A in your class!
    1. Having a social impact is one of my long-term goals as a blogger, though it’s not my only goal. Since I just started blogging a few weeks ago, I don’t think I have made any measurable impact on society yet.
    2. It certainly can be a very effective form of civic engagement if you put sufficient effort into it. As for the second question, I think that so far blogging has definitely made me a more responsible, educated and respectful citizen.
    3. I measure the success of my blog by the amount of connections that I make with people through my posts. While having many views and followers is important to me, nothing is more important than the actual interactions that I share with my readers and fellow bloggers around the world.

    1. Thanks, Robert! I appreciate your willingness to help 🙂 Interactions and connections seem to be the most popular definition of blogging “success” — here’s to more great connections in the future!

  8. * Do your blogging goals include having some kind of social impact? Do you think you’ve done so? How?

    I don’t know that when I started I was aware of any need to have a social impact. I was a frustrated writer, of sorts. Always writing but never doing anything with it, Never sure it amounted to anything. My brother set up my blog without my knowledge and texted me to say, ‘Get your writing out there’. I have not regretted it for one minute of what is almost a year. As soon as I started to write for an audience I couldn’t stop.

    Reading other blogs and sharing communication became almost as important as writing. All the subjects that I’ve always been interested in were covered in one blog or another and I’ve found myself following and reading more of those things. This also has impacted on my need to respond, either in comments or in posts, on those things that have always mattered to me but for which I did not always have someone to speak to about.
    Social impact, therefore, I hope is a two way street. I read what others have to say on subjects they are more knowledgeable about and I write on those that matter to me.

    * Do you think having a blog can be an effective form of civic engagement? Does it make you a more responsible, educated, respectful citizen?

    I think I’ve always been all of the above but it is lovely to have more perspectives on why people believe and behave as they do. I’ve found bloggers to be so honest and open. I value this highly. To know- or believe – that there are others who are prepared to share their lives and experiences with honesty and, often, vulnerability, is incredibly humbling. I am grateful to be part of such a community.

    * How do you measure the success of your blog? Is it quantifiable – number of views, number of followers, amount of publicity – or is it something else?

    Initially, it mattered that people were following otherwise I would have felt I was talking to myself. But, as time has gone on, I’ve realised that follower numbers matter less ( followers selling carpets and such!) and that engagement matters so much more. I’m happy enough for people to ‘like’ my posts because I get that they, like me, have lives to live and not all posts require comment. I see the ‘likes’ and comments as engagement.
    Overall, I think that blogging has brought me out of myself. I’m not shy, per se, I like talking (ask anyone) but I’m not particularly sociable either. I dislike most forms of empty communication. Here there is so much more to communication and that matters a great deal to me in what I may give and in what I may receive.

    I hope my answers have been helpful. I wish you all the best in your endeavours.x

    1. I definitely started my blog the same way — not thinking about social impact at all. I agree that it’s a two-way street; you can’t affect anything if people aren’t willing to change. The greatest things happen when people engage in open conversation. And vulnerability is humbling and beautiful! When people really let themselves show in their writing, it makes for an amazing learning experience.

      Also, I know what you mean about the carpet-selling followers. Every day I get at least ten spam comments from a knockoff marc jacobs site. *sigh* Real people are so much better. Thank you very much for answering my questions!!

  9. 1 Yes, in my previous blogs take news socially impacting Colombia somehow, cultural, social, political, and somehow they can to debate and increase your knowledge with responses from more people who follow my blog and also my views.

    2. Of course, but I propose a topic the opinions of other people create an atmosphere of participation and also learn things we do not know.

    3. Important thing for me is to measure the number of people who comment, one thing is to visit and depart, and another is to stay a review.

    I hope you serve my answers, I’m meaning, starting with a new blog and even without comments try to do my best, forgive me if my English is a bit fail, as I am speaking of hispan and am improving it 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Your English is not bad at all, and I appreciate your answers. Blogging is all about learning — growing and engaging — and I have a feeling you’ll meet some amazing people here on WordPress 🙂

  10. I started my blog to (a) work through my own experiences as the parent of two opiate addicts and (b) to share information, feelings and relationships in the hope of helping others going through the same thing and (c) to connect with others in relationship so we can help each other.
    1. Do your blogging goals include having some kind of social impact? Do you think you’ve done so? How?
    Yes, I think they do at least on a small scale. There are many parents of addicts (PoAs) on the blogs now and we help each other in an active way even though we haven’t met. We share information, compassion and even grieve together.
    2. Do you think having a blog can be an effective form of civic engagement? Does it make you a more responsible, educated, respectful citizen?
    Yes, in the same ways as described above. Also, I’ve moved a bit forward to surveying the network of parents regarding the possibility of creating regional retreats – something live where we can actually get together and talk through our experiences and have speakers, etc. It’s helping me become more public in my community too. I just got hired as an addiction specialist and will be certified soon!
    3. How do you measure the success of your blog? Is it quantifiable – number of views, number of followers, amount of publicity – or is it something else?
    I like seeing the high numbers when I get them (I haven’t blogged much recently). But I think the success is in seeing the growth of a network of people truly supporting each other through some of life’s toughest situations. That’s real and it matters.

    Thanks for all that you’ve done as well. You’ve taught me some things that have helped me relate to my daughter. I wish you all the best!

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! I think you started your blog for all the reasons anybody should ever start a blog — seriously, the best thing is being able to work through your experiences with other people. One of the things I’m realizing through doing this project is that maybe I’m defining social impact on too large of a scale. Perhaps the best impacts we can have are the impacts we have on the people we are “close” to, even if our closeness just comes through conversation about a shared experience.

      Congratulations on your new position as an addiction specialist! That’s a wonderful example of civic engagement coming out of a blogging community. And thanks for your thoughtful answers 🙂 I wish you the best as well!

  11. I am using my blog to chart my adventures as I transition from having identified as a butch/queer woman for 15 years, to living life as a guy. (I am what you traditionally call a “female-to-male” trans, though I just prefer calling myself a guy). Besides charting my transition, I am finding that I disagree with a lot of the rhetoric the trans community is trying to use, though it is still an emerging demographic. I find much of the discussion focusing on trans women (male-to-female trans) or the emerging genderqueer (people who do not identify as male nor female), with little focus on trans men. One of the goals I hope to achieve, as my blog proves popular, is that it will become an outlet for social issues that cater specifically to trans men, or that may give an alternative to the usual trans groupthink (e.g. how I disagree with the trans-vs-cis labeling [cis means your gender and biological sex line up].)

    Blogging will only effective in civic engagement only if I actively communicate with other bloggers, either through commenting on their material, trackbacking/pinging, and actively engaging in social media as well (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, even LinkedIn for a more professional connection). It’s said blogging is one part writing, nine parts engaging. To get readers, you have to be a reader. And I will know I am successful when major groups, like transguys.com, the HRC, etc start tracking back to my blog. It’s all akin to spreading word-by-mouth.

  12. Hi Gwen,

    This may be too late for your paper but I’d love to keep this discussion alive.

    Yes, yes, and yes. The difference our little stories make is easy to overlook, but they add up – we make this world a better place by becoming more confident people. Every victory – against real-life bullies or the inner swine – counts toward that goal. Driving out fear and nagging self-doubt, gaining self-esteem, and sharing what we’ve learned. Because then we find we’re not alone with all that but a big community. So, social impact: check.

    To be respectful to others you need to develop self-respect first. It takes no psychologist to figure that one out. So it’s fairly indirect but works regardless.
    As well, pointing out what needs to be pointed out will clearly help – that one was mentioned a few times before. And if you can do it in an entertaining way it will be far more effective than ham-fisted PSAs because people will come back for more.
    Civic engagement: check.

    About what defines success… I’ve nurtured my own little self-help blog for almost a year now but, much like the tech nerds in that one Simpsons episode, I’m kind of relieved there are no messages on the machine. WP offers all these ways to reach out but I’m still hiding in plain sight. My headshot was actually run through Simpsonize Me, for fear my present or future employers might get to know me better than they should.
    Excuses, little more. Which is why I’m positively in love with your disarming frankness. You’ve tested waters I’ve yet to stick more than my big toe into.

    And I feel the results of it even with no comments. It feels so awesome it’s addictive, and I felt guilty when the blog took a backseat to more pressing matters (read: Skyrim) for a few months, like watching my muscles disappear again after letting the gym lapse for too long.

    This comment is the first time I’ve reached out. This will be ten times more awesome after finally turning my monologues into discussions. You’ve brought me a big step forward.

    So, evidence suggests that all this really makes a difference, and also that you’re awesome.
    Thank you.

  13. Hi Gwen,

    This may be too late for your paper but I’d love to keep this discussion alive.

    Yes, yes, and yes. The difference our little stories make is easy to overlook, but they add up – we make this world a better place by becoming more confident people. Every victory – against real-life bullies or the inner swine – counts toward that goal. Driving out fear and nagging self-doubt, gaining self-esteem, and sharing what we’ve learned. Because then we find we’re not alone with all that but a big community. So, social impact: check.

    To be respectful to others you need to develop self-respect first. It takes no psychologist to figure that one out. So it’s fairly indirect but works regardless.
    As well, pointing out what needs to be pointed out will clearly help – that one was mentioned a few times before. And if you can do it in an entertaining way it will be far more effective than ham-fisted PSAs because people will come back for more.
    Civic engagement: check.

    About what defines success… I’ve nurtured my own little self-help blog for almost a year now but, much like the tech nerds in that one Simpsons episode, I’m kind of relieved there are no messages on the machine. WP offers all these ways to reach out but I’m still hiding in plain sight. My headshot was actually run through Simpsonize Me, for fear my present or future employers might get to know me better than they should.
    Excuses, little more. Which is why I’m positively in love with your disarming frankness. You’ve tested waters I’ve yet to stick more than my big toe into.

    And I feel the results of it even with no comments. It feels so awesome it’s addictive, and I felt guilty when the blog took a backseat to more pressing matters (read: Skyrim) for a few months, like watching my muscles disappear again after letting the gym lapse for too long.

    This comment is the first time I’ve reached out. This will be ten times more awesome after finally turning my monologues into discussions. You’ve brought me a big step forward.

    So, evidence suggests that all this really makes a difference, and also that you’re awesome.
    Thank you.

  14. Sorry if I am late but YES to all the questions. I think blogging is a way to discuss and issue ( social or personal). It is discussion that helps decisions and change perception. Man being a social animal is not separated with social conscious and conscience. It helps 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s