Last week, David Henderson, founder of Idealistics Inc. and editor of Poverty Insights, posted an article titled "Does Blogging Really Matter?" I understand that his intention for writing the post was to question whether or not blogging has any impact on organizations in the social sector but for me, the title of his post prompted me to respond the way I did. See, for me, blogging DOES matter! Blogging helps introduce the local community to the human stories all around them that they otherwise wouldn't know about. Let's face it, when people are caught up in their day to day lives, how motivated will they be to talk to a homeless person they see standing on a street corner holding up a cardboard sign?
Well, a great way to motivate people to act is to expose them to images they haven't seen before. That's what Mark Horvath does with Invisible People Tv. If you've never heard of the site, please go there and see for yourself but be forewarned; Mark's videos show the raw reality of homelessness and the very real people it affects. For me, becoming an advocate sprang out of experiencing homelessness myself. I often wonder what I'd be doing right now if I hadn't met Mr. Horvath and all the other wonderful folks I've run into that are actively doing what they can to educate their communities on the facts of homelessness and engage them into getting people off the streets and on with their lives.
Blogging about guys like Gandalf, a homeless vet dying of pancreatic cancer, inspired readers to donate funds to put Gandalf into a hotel through the Christmas holiday where I surprised him by reconnecting with his daughter, Michelle. It was the first holiday they spent together and may be their last. Blogging helped with little things too, like getting $25 together so that a disabled man in a wheelchair who is also homeless could get a state ID and stay in a hotel room instead of going into shock from the cold. Or getting 12 kids a room for a night instead of letting them sleep outside when the temps dropped to 24 degrees. Blogging isn't always about asking for donations either. I am always pleasantly surprised when readers write back to me saying that because of one post they read, they went out and got involved in helping the homeless in whatever capacity they could.
When I blog about police behavior I have experienced and caught on video, it serves multiple purposes. The first is to educate the general public on what they don't see or don't want to see. The other is to document questionable behavior under the guise of "public safety" ordinances, something I will probably blog about in further detail at another date. I also take readers on a journey with me as I reach out to community organizations to get them involved with issues like asking churches to provide emergency shelter in their buildings if they aren't already doing so or at the very least, provide safe parking at night for car dwellers. Long term goals are to provide permanent housing and support services that often go overlooked by a lot of programs. Reaching out to community leaders actively involved in social justice is another aspect of what I'm doing "out here" because it goes hand in hand with advocating for the rights of people, homeless or not.
Maybe David didn't realize the title of his post would have a broader scope than he intended it to. Even so, I still say blogging matters!