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power of we

Bloggers together have power

Today is Blog Action Day 2012 (BAD12). That means over the next 24 or so hours many bloggers will be publishing a post about the power of we, showing that diverse people can come together to make a difference.

For me, the timing makes this post easy – I just spent most of the weekend with 3oo fantastic people at the problogger event so have a better sense of the power of we within blogging.

The power of we at a conference?

At one level, we were just a group of people sitting in the same room listening the same speakers.

But it was way more than that.PBEvent audience listening to James Tuckerman

People were talking, mingling and supporting each other – not just for those 48 hours but building relationships that can move us forward in the days and months to come. The organisers and speakers not only encouraged us to mingle (one speaker, I think it was James Tuckerman of Anthill, told anyone sitting next to a person they came to pbevent with to sit somewhere else in the next session) but had made it easy to do so with generous breaks between sessions and a cocktail party on Friday night.

Amongst many other topics, we discussed payment for our work, such as being paid by a brand to promote them within our blogs. While there was an understanding that someone with more traffic and influence can probably charge more than a new blogger, there was a consensus that bloggers should bot accept free or very cheap ‘work’.

The point was that we all deserve to have our time recognised  and paid for. And by accepting lower rates we can cheapen the work and efforts of other bloggers as well.

It’s also one reason I hate those content mills where people can buy webcopy, blog posts, articles, etc for a fraction of the price professionals like me charge – it makes it harder for us to earn decent pay rates for our time and expertise if clients think they can get it done much cheaper (especially those clients who don’t understand how to judge quality writing).

Working together and setting some industry standards helps all bloggers and writers.

Discussing those standards at PB Event gave us not only a framework but the confidence to stick to it for a reason beyond ourselves.

The power of we at work.

What we can achieve

Leading up the PB Event, problogger (Darren Rowse) himself set a challenge.

Problogger does it in a dress PB Event 2012

Problogger in a dress, PB Event 2012

If we could fundraise $240, he would attend the final session on Friday in a school dress. A few more targets were added when the $240 was reached in one donation, with the final level being $2,400.

It was fun, but the point was to raise money to help girls in Sierra Leone go to school – $240 sends one girl to school for a year.

I was sick to the stomach to find out a girl is more likely to be sexually assaulted than go to school in Sierra Leone.

Think about what that means. It’s awful.

I’m pleased to be part of PB event where we raised enough to send 10 girls to school.

It isn’t enough, but it is a start and shows we care. Sending 10 girls to school will make a difference to them, their families and presumably their communities.

Darren challenged us to all do the same, to see how much money 300 bloggers’ communities could raise, how many more girls go to school.

Given it is blog action day, I wonder what would happen if all bloggers around the world tried raising some money by doing it in a dress – could we get every girl in Sierra Leone to school?

Could we make it so school is more likely than assault for a nation of girls?

The power of we is strong. Let’s use it for good.