I just returned from a Blogging conference in Chicago. I’ve been active on the web since 94/95, but I’ve only been blogging since ’06. This blog thing is different, and powerful, and its’ influence is growing. I wanted to learn more about who these fellow bloggers were. Liz Strauss, the main driver behind the conference, wrote about the SOBcon event in the Blog Herald. Liz is so right and she said it so well. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people in that room had great brains attached to their hearts.Ã¢â‚¬Â
At SOBcon, Liz assembled a group of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœchange agentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in one room. I know as I sat there listening to everyone speak, I wondered if they understood the power that they wield. We are the new media. Increasingly newspapers turn to blogs to check the pulse of what is going on in the world.
On the plane ride to SOBcon, in Chicago, I sat beside Ron, a 60-year old businessman. We got to chatting and he railed on and on about corruption in the pharmaceutical and financial industries. Ron was mad at the injustices he had seen throughout his career and that he was seeing now. He wanted someone to stand up and tell the truth about how individual shareholders were getting fleeced, how drugs were being marketed aggressively without proper testing, and unnecessary deaths were resulting. I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You should write a blog. You could speak out about all these wrongs you are telling me. You could help to change things. It could become a real passion for you and launch you into a whole new career as an advocate for shareholder’s rights. Give it some thought.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ron pulled out the newspaper and showed me specific news stories, and told me lurid back stories on some of the newsmakers. He continued to complain, bitterly at times. Finally I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You should write a blog. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be perfect for it.Ã¢â‚¬Â But as the plane landed he concluded he probably would never write a blog, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have to be careful, you know. I have a wifeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â
I had to laugh at the truth and fear embodied in that statement. Bloggers can represent the conscience of the world. In our blogs, our electronic journals, we can stand up for what is right and speak the truth. And when that truth is spoken by many, and spreads widely through the web, our voices grow much louder and we can be heard. We can influence change. All we need is the courage to speak. We have the microphone and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s live.