Friday, January 25, 2008

Union Activists Blogging - A Basic How-To Approach

From Union Review

I had an interesting discussion with some friends about union activists blogging. In that chat I mentioned that workers who are getting their news online, especially at the online version of their local paper or television stations, should always be on the look out for a comment box at the end of the story. If there is one available, get a user name and password and offer up your 2-cents.

On many local papers’ websites I have found that getting a user name and a password is not only painfully simple, it is generally a very fast process. And as for a quick hint: I have found using one user name and password at every site I visit a safe and secure way to remember how to log on when I am especially heated about something that I read; which happens often.Innocent

It is almost cliché at this point to say that stories affecting working people, especially union workers, are not very well presented in mainstream media. This is where our work comes in as activists.

I find myself telling people not to worry about their typing skills or grammar, the most important thing is to get heard – and then tell people where you are posting so that we can support what you are doing. I am of the opinion that workers of every trade are rarely, if ever, asked what they think by mainstream media reporters. Instead, workers are often asked how they feel about this or that situation. Interestingly enough, a CEO or a company manager is never asked how he feels about much of anything. I have made this argument in the past, and it is worthwhile to bring up again: Working people can and do think and our thoughts should be heard and understood. We can save our feeling for own personal diaries and conversations with family and friends, but when it comes to discussing something as important as our working lives and our unions, it is critical we organize our thoughts and share those thoughts.

With the open access of comment boxes on mainstream media news stories, we have a unique opportunity to speak up and get heard -- and I urge everyone to do this in their free time.

Finally, the question of anonymity comes into play. Some workers might be less than giving with their personal information or use their real names. My reply to this is generally the same: then don’t! If you are really concerned about being tracked down, open a free Yahoo email account (or any other) and use that email strictly for your blogging activity.

For many people this blog on blogging will seem obvious and common sense, and that’s cool – but for those who are just getting cozy with their computers and getting online, maybe it will be of some help – that is my intention, anyway.

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