The Best Blogs . . .

best_blogsMiguel’s blog was actually being read by people outside his village!  He could hardly believe it but wasn’t going to complain—he’d worked hard to learn how to blog and felt his message was worth reading—the oppression of his people…

Within a year, his blog was being more than just noticed; it was being quoted on other blogs and seemed to be reaching people who had some influence that just might aid his Cause…

Shortly after his blog’s first birthday, Miguel was asked to contribute to an international online journal about oppression of indigenous peoples. Miguel was very happy with his plight even though he had to take more care when he walked in the town near his village—word was reaching the authorities . . .

~~~~~~~~~

That little snippet of a story was created by me but inspired by real stories I’ve read about the “reach” of apparently humble blogs—about the surging energy of thousands of citizen journalists.

I’ve recently discovered a major source of journalism that honors bloggers, worldwide. Here’s a short statement from Deutsche Welle  who sponsors the BOBs—Best of the Blogs—Awards:

“Welcome to the BOBs, the world’s largest international awards for Weblogs, podcasts and videoblogs. Since its inception four years ago, the BOBs have grown to include 11 languages. The winners of each year’s awards are decided by both an international jury of bloggers and through online voting.”

Here are just a few of the top winners:

Generación Y ~ Best Weblog

Author: Yoani Sanchez
Language: Spanish
Date: 2008-09-03
More: Details
Comments93 
The Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez has been transformed over the past year into an international personality. In Generation Y, she gives voice to a whole generation of Cubans and provides the world with a window into Cuba through her clear and poetic writing.

Voices of Africa ~ Best Videoblog

Author: Various
Language: English
Date: 2008-09-25
More: Details
Voices of Africa is a project to equip citizen journalists in Africa with mobile phones and/or portable digital recorders so they can report on the events happening around them. The local more…

Ohod ~ Best Weblog Arabic

Author: Ahmad 
Language: Arabic
Date: 2008-09-30
More: Details
Comments
Ahmad provides an introduction to independent culture in Egypt, the Arab world and elsewhere. His short commentaries on social issues and reflections are pieces of Arabic literature.

刘晓原的BLOG ~ Best Weblog Chinese

Author: 刘晓原
Language: Chinese
Date: 2008-09-24
More: Details
Comments112 
Liu Xiaoyuan is a self-educated lawyer. He got his official license to work as a lawyer in 2000. He has been writing his blog for the 3 years and helps people protect themselves in their more…

Spiritual Quote :

“In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet, owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have been achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange of thought were wellnigh impossible. Consequently intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were unattainable. In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually merged into one. And for everyone it is now easy to travel to any land, to associate and exchange views with its peoples, and to become familiar, through publications, with the conditions, the religious beliefs and the thoughts of all men. In like manner all the members of the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly interdependent. For none is self-sufficiency any longer possible…”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 31

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Citizen Media

mediaCalling all World Citizens!

Are you letting the rest of our human family know what’s really going on where you live?

Well, actually, I’m only able to call on all English-speaking  World Citizens. It’s a shame I can only afford a blog platform that costs nothing and, therefore, can’t install translation software…

I included a post about the problems of World Citizens having clear communications in my recent series, Path Toward Peace , but I trust there are those of you reading this who can translate for other World Citizens you know…

I was prompted to write this post today by the following news story:

From OneWorld.Net: Obama Urged to Reform Media, Protect Internet
“As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to name a new leader of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a chief technology officer at the White House, more than 100 advocates of a free and open media — including some of the most well-known musicians, bloggers, and policy analysts in the country — are urging him to remain true to campaign pledges to diversify media ownership; renew public media; and promote fast, affordable, and open Internet access.”

I felt this story, about a newly-elected President of the United States who’s received such acclaim world-wide, was a good lead-in to a series of papers I discovered recently that assess the state of Citizen Media and its interaction with the mainstream sources of what’s actually happening in our world.

That video is from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University  and they’ve published twelve fascinating papers on the topic of Digital Media.

I’ve uploaded (so you can download ) the Adobe .pdf of the Overview: News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age.

You may feel you can’t take on the task of reporting events to the world but one example I can cite is this blogger, me , who’s on a small military pension, living in a small apartment, only able to use software that’s free, yet, still sending this report out to the world…

Also, CNN has recently started a site where they say, “…the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

Then, there are the many other efforts to aid Citizen Journalists as represented in this search page from Google.

Plus, there’s the beginner’s tutorial on Global Citizen Media (available in three other languages besides English) from RisingVoices.

We often feel we can only take care of our own lives in this crisis-ridden world, yet, telling the rest of the world about your struggles to live your life would be a fine beginning as a Citizen Journalist!

Spiritual Quote :

“People need to think of themselves as world citizens and understand their personal responsibility… Campaigns to raise public awareness of the challenges of world citizenship must make use of the full range of media and the arts, including television, video, film, radio, electronic networks, books, magazines, posters, flyers, theater and music. These campaigns should enlist the advertising and entertainment industries, the media—both traditional and non-traditional—the entire UN system, all member states, NGOs, and popular personalities. They should reach out to the home, the work place, public areas and schools.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Jun 14, World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development

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Wrong Religion? Not A Citizen!

prayerStill working on the UN Posts…


The Bahá’ís of Egypt are being confronted with an impossible situation. There’s a group trying to organize a world-circling prayer-ring to, hopefully, aid them in their test of Faith:

From: Horaciones
“All Egyptian citizens must declare their religious belief in all official National documents which include their ID cards and birth certificates. The documents only allow them to choose one of three religions recognized by the Egyptian government: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Baha’is have the ridiculous choice of either renouncing their Faith by registering as a follower of another religion, or renouncing all their civil rights, such as education, work, health.

“By October 20th, the Egyptian Supreme Court was to decide whether to allow Baha’is to obtain ID cards and leaving the religious affiliation space blank. The Court decided to postpone the decision to November 3rd.

“To support the process, we are organizing another World Wide Prayer Chain for November 2nd, as we had done previously for October 20th. For the entire 24 hour duration of the day, people around the world will be praying in 15 minute intervals that, God-willing, the decision towards the recognition of the Baha’i Faith in Egypt will be taken.

“On the last occasion, over 100 people participated from every part of the globe, from Europe to the Americas, from Bahji to the Temple of Sydney, and even Iran! We are confident the same will happen again….”

Sign-up here!

Spiritual Quote:

“Reveal then Thyself, O Lord, by Thy merciful utterance and the mystery of Thy divine being, that the holy ecstasy of prayer may fill our souls – a prayer that shall rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and sounds—that all things may be merged into nothingness before the revelation of Thy splendor.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 70

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Games That Can Kill Us . . .

So many dangerously childish actions in the world political drama. For sheer silliness (which could blossom into rank trauma) the American Presidential campaign is a sad example.

From AlterNet: Top 10 Idiocies of the General Election … So Far

From the Los Angeles Times: John McCain, Barack Obama spar over ‘celebrity’

From CNN: McCain, Obama ad wars heat up

So, with all this dangerous silliness, why has the American public not used its Constitutional power to elect sane and sober leaders?

* Attachment to materialistic living and not caring too much what happens?

* Not being sufficiently educated about the issues?

* In a state of cultural shock?

Well, even if every malady of the American electorate were healed, their vote would still not guarantee that their political wishes came true. Ever heard of the Electoral College? This institution separates the popular vote from the election results. Plus, it has happened that the voice of the people was overridden by the electoral process . . .

Still, even if the people had their say, who are the people? Are they exemplary citizens, educated and compassionate?

I’m afraid I’m veering off into a rant so I’ll close this discussion {still hoping for your comments!} with today’s spiritual quotes:

“How incalculable have been the negative results of ill-directed criticism: in the catastrophic divergences it has created in religion, in the equally contentious factions it has spawned in political systems, which have dignified conflict by institutionalizing such concepts as the “loyal opposition” which attach to one or another of the various categories of political opinion —conservative, liberal, progressive, reactionary, and so forth.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29, Individual Rights and Freedoms, p. 9

“The aggressiveness and competitiveness which animate a dominantly capitalist culture; the partisanship inherent in a fervidly democratic system; the suspicion of public-policy institutions and the skepticism towards established authority ingrained in the political attitude of the people and which trace their origins to the genesis of American society; the cynical disregard of the moderating principles and rules of civilized human relationships resulting from an excessive liberalism and its immoral consequences—such unsavory characteristics inform entrenched habits of American life…”
The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA

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Sharing in a Community

Blogging about communication today. Most of my regular visitors are bloggers but the message I hope to convey goes far beyond blogging . . .

From The Inquisitr (that’s exactly how it’s spelled): The Changing Blogosphere and Blogging 2.0 “It’s easy to be sentimental about ‘the good old days’ of blogging, and I could wax lyrical about the community spirit that has seemingly been lost as blogging has grown up. Without being able to quote empirical evidence, take it as a given that the collective sense of community once shared by all bloggers in no longer.”

From RIZZN: I’m at the Edge of a Eureka Moment “Darren Rowse [of ProBlogger] says that the blogosphere just doesn’t get along with each other anymore. He obviously hasn’t read a political blog in a while. It’s mostly just for-profit tech bloggers that hate each other, and only a couple of them participate in that foolishness.”

From ProBlogger: Has Blogging Lost Its Relational Focus? “The blogosphere is a different place now in many ways. For starters there are a lot more blogs. There is almost a bigger focus upon blogging as a business tool and the idea of making money online in general.”

From ReadWriteWeb: Mixed Messages in The Blogging Landscape “While ultimately professional blogging is reliant on social media, if it becomes too reliant on the ‘social’ part then it implodes. We’ve seen a lot of the symptoms over the past year: burnt out bloggers, ‘bitchmemes’ (when lots of bloggers complain loudly about something usually inconsequential), hints of corruption as bloggers write about things they’ve invested in or have an interest in, stirring up controversy as a business tactic. We’ve even seen a kind of mafia mentality emerge – vendettas, ring-kissing, sychophants surrounding power bloggers, etc.”

That last writer brought out the materialistic side of blogging but further on they positively glowed about “personal” blogs.

Actually, I’ve seen personal blogs that have that “mafia mentality”.

It all boils down to communication and the heart and spirit of the communicator.

But, what does “communication” really mean?

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:to impart, to share, to make common

So whether you’re a CEO, a line worker, a blogger (professional or personal), a door-to-door salesperson, a mother, a friend, or a just-plain-folk, no matter who you are, if you open your mouth or put pen to paper or harness electrons with your computer, communication is ultimately doomed if you don’t come from a place of sharing, imparting, making common—contributing to your commun-ity

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“Human nature is fundamentally spiritual. Communities are unlikely, therefore, to prove prosperous and sustainable unless they take into account the spiritual dimension of human reality and seek to foster a culture in which the moral, ethical, emotional and intellectual development of the individual are of primary concern. It is in such a milieu that the individual is likely to become a constructively engaged, service-oriented citizen, working for the material and spiritual well-being of the community, and that a common vision and a shared sense of purpose can be effectively developed.

“It follows that the material aspects of community development—environmental, economic and social policies; production, distribution, communication and transportation systems; and political, legal and scientific processes—must be driven by spiritual principles and priorities. Today, however, the substance and direction of community development are largely determined by material considerations.

“Our challenge, therefore, is to redesign and develop our communities around those universal principles—including love, honesty, moderation, humility, hospitality, justice and unity—which promote social cohesion, and without which no community, no matter how economically prosperous, intellectually endowed or technologically advanced, can long endure.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1996 Jun 07, Sustainable Communities in an Integrating World

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