S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Acting in good faith - thoughts on advocacy

What am I talking about? Each Wednesday's post at South by Southwest focuses on some element of activism (see title link above). And advocacy is a key part of activism, according to Google's definition of "advocacy" on the web. It refers to "organized activism." The blogosphere is wonderfully disorganized, however, in the organizational theory sense. We are a disorganized, fractious and independent lot of individuals, who sometimes act in a collective or community manner. And it is just these traits that give us so much freedom, power and influence.
Advocacy and faith are partners in our efforts to change what we oppose. What writers like us do is advocate - stand up for and speak about - what we think is wrong. And we assume that others who do the same thing are trustworthy and acting in good faith. It is a leap of faith to place one's trust in people you know only through the words and images they share over the Internet.
In my opinion these are some of the elements of "good faith":
  • We leave comments of agreement, honest disagreement, addition clarifying information, acquiescence and additional issues for advocacy on fellow advocates' blogs.
  • We trust that we are not being "played" by someone just for the fun of being mean anonymous meanness. Most of us do not leave anonymous comments.
  • We try to acknowledge our own biases if we are aware of them.
  • We work at avoiding making assumptions about other bloggers' internal motivations, because we cannot know such things for sure.
  • We follow through with what we know to be the norms of healthy blog community behavior. We do such things as answer comments with responses, comment on their blog posts, or respond in a timely manner to e-mails and to questions.
  • We have commitments to personal authenticity.
This post is not about faith in the religious sense; it tangentially addresses morality, however. Our blogger favorites all try to act in good faith. The fellow advocates I trust are those who I believe to be acting in good faith in the interpersonal sense. Thus, we somehow come to believe that we are trusted as well. And that is ennobling and inspiring. It must be so, because doing this on a regular basis, doing it with as much excellence as we can muster, and doing it for anyone to read is a big risky commitment. In that way it is like a commitment to a particular religious group, though I hesitate to make such a presumptuous assertion. If our blogging is religious (not in the sense of "regular,") we had better step back and take a look at "getting a life."
Following through - In conclusion let me put my money where my mouth is, to add a cliche in this post. I owe responses to two of my favorite bloggers' recent gracious comments. I share the following as a good faith effort in spite of my proclivity for procrastination. First to "betmo's" on my post "Confusion reigns" I said:
It is scary to confront the thought that our survival depends on self-sufficiency, though that surely ups the odds. The other thing, for me, is my optimistic thought that the mere passage of time is on our side. There is around 15 more months of our current president's time in the oval office. We can perhaps anticipate a Democratic president with a plan for improvement of the nation's situation. We can assume that by itself can inspire hope. Thanks, belatedly, for your comment, as always.
To "kitchen window woman" on my post "Memorial Day and Conscience" I said:
Thanks for your kind words about this post that was so difficult for me to write. And thanks, also for the memory jogger about the red paper poppies. I haven't thought about that neat little part of history since I have been an adult. Nor was I aware enough at the time of the plight of vets back then. It sounds like the seeds of your activism were perhaps planted early. Regards.

  1. NPaction - Advocacy glossary for the non profit sector
  2. Wikipedia - article about political advocacy. Also includes several other sections on specific types of advocacy.
  3. Dogpile - search on "advocacy"
  4. Ask - search on "advocacy"

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1 comment:

merjoem32 said...

Very interesting post on advocacy. I have observed that the Internet has become quite a tool for advocacy. A lot of groups have utilized the web to promote advocacy campaign and political causes.