So let me tell you a few things about myself. I am a very systematic, methodical person. I am patient. I don't like surprises. I like balance. I like positive change. Not in huge, sudden steps, but in small, steady doses. Take my life, for instance. In my personal journals (offline), I divide it into seven main areas:
- Family / Career / Spiritual / Finances
Health / Hobbies / Social Contribution
Why am I telling you this today? Well, I wanted to tell you where this blog (Mr Wang Bakes Good Karma) is located in the overall picture of my life. No, it does not fall under Hobbies. It falls under Social Contribution. I see this blog - the expression of my thoughts & views on issues in Singapore - as my contribution to society.
Some will say: "Bah, Mr Wang, you grossly overestimate the significance of blogging. It's mostly hot air and it changes nothing. Why don't you volunteer your time or donate money to charity instead?"
To which I could smugly reply: "I do, you duffer. That's my Action Plan 2(A) and Goal 3.2 under Social Contribution of my Life Planning Journal." Which is true. But it is also an overly- convenient reply which skirts around the question of what this blog, and other serious blogs, can contribute to society.
Fortunately, Cobalt Paladin has blogged his thoughts on that more-difficult question, thus saving me the trouble. (By the way, I found his post via The Intelligent Singaporean, a site which you must surely add to your blogroll). Anyway, excerpts from Cobalt Paladin's post:
We need to continue to engage the growing population who are going online. We need to encourage them to have independent thinking. Let the people think for themselves. Let the Internet present an alternative source of information to the mainstream media. The people has become more sophisticated. We want to be engaged. Nobody wants to be opinion leaders. We just want our views to be heard, argued, debated etc. We want to be part of a REAL inclusive society, not in theory but in REALITY. Yes, it may take a lot of effort for the government to engage the citizens but that is the changing face brought by globalisation, ignore that, the world will pass you by.
Forget about "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.". Nobody should be afraid of anyone. We want a genuine inclusive and consultative society, so no one should be afraid of anyone.
If we force our views and opinions onto anyone, we are no different and we become them. So we should just present our views in a peaceful manner, engage the people to think for themselves. We are not looking for revolt; we are not looking for matyrs. We are looking for the betterment of our country and society.
But change takes time. Be patient. I'm a Singaporean. I'll stay and do my part.
See? I'm not the only weirdo around who thinks that blogging can effect positive change. And so, finally, I come to the purpose of my present post. I am assuming that you personally hold at least some version of the vision of Cobalt Paladin and my own - that individual bloggers on the Internet can make a difference and effect positive changes in our society. And I am further assuming that you want to be a part of that vision. So I will share with you some ideas on how to do that.
1. Blog. Do it regularly. Expand beyond personal trivia (that is, not just about what you ate for lunch). Write especially on your areas of expertise, the topics on which you particularly have experience, knowledge or insight. Be sharply aware that you DO have such areas of expertise.
2. Build a readership. Get noticed. Your blog is useless if no one reads it. Ping yourself to a wider audience. If you've written something intelligent, email The Intelligent Singaporean and let the editor know. Get yourself Tomorrow'd. Also, go to more-popular blogs, leave comments & links and get yourself noticed.
3. When you come across other worthy blogs or posts, tell others about it. How? Blogroll the worthy blogs. Hyperlink to worthy posts. A lot of the potential power of the blogosphere lies in the power of hyperlinking. Bloggers grow when they help each other to grow. Remember the vision. It's not just about you.
4. In the blogosphere, be a discussion. Don't be a monologue. If you want to write about Event X, don't just write about Event X. Do a bit of research first. Find out what other bloggers are already writing about Event X - what their views and opinions are. Then add your own personal views; say why you agree or why you disagree; expand on their points; offer relevant data or information; ask questions. Blogging is a community.