New Orleans When you do something every day, rain or shine, here or abroad, every once in a while, you need to take stock, and evaluate whether a disciplined practice is a trivial habit, an obsession, or a deep rut with no escape route. I say this because when doing my daily “Chief Organizer Report” or Blog or whatever you or I might call it, I number it. Today, as I write before dawn on December 5th, 2019 the number is 5000. That’s not a small number! Running at least 500 words a posting, that’s more than 2.5 million words, and that’s a lot of words as well. It’s fair for any of you – and me — to ask whether I’m just talking to myself and a rat in my pocket, another voice in the wilderness, or if there’s a method behind all of this madness.
We organize people, lots of people, so that they have a voice. In a small way, this is also my voice, so it matters to me, and others who read or hear it. Some parts of the question are easy to answer now that the last 1000 or more of these postings are also podcasts that are broadcasted on a regular, daily schedule on our radio stations and partners in Little Rock, New Orleans, Greenville, Nairobi, Flagstaff, Columbus, Dallas, and more. Then there’s more outlets where people can stumble on them besides just our organizational websites. There’s Facebook for sure and even the terrible Twitter. At the same time, it’s personal for me, something like a daily log of where I’ve been and a journal of what might be on my mind worth sharing, my blog has become part of the “architecture of my day.”
We’re yelling in a big wilderness though. Asking Google, they took me to an even bigger number, saying…
There are over 600 million blogs in the world today, out of over 1.7 billion websites. In the United States, there are over 31 million active bloggers posting at least once per month. And according to data from Ahrefs, people search Google for “How to start a blog” 121,000 times per month worldwide. (www.growthbadger.com)
If there were only one tongue wagging in that forest, could anyone hear it? Good question, but clearly, we are not alone!
Looking back, my first blog was written in Havana, Cuba on March 14th, 2004, fifteen years ago, giving my impressions and reports on meetings there. My 2000th in 2011 was from Missoula, Montana, where I was reading about the fight over the debt ceiling and at a neighboring table, the couple said the big news was caterpillars. The 3000th was from Bristol, England where I was bemoaning the obstacles to making the Affordable Care Act work in June 2014. My 4000th saw me sharing a discussion of digital organizing tools for building mass movements on a cold January day in New Orleans in 2017. You get the picture. There’s always something, and it’s not boring.
In the beginning, it wasn’t every day, but gradually over the years became so, everything being equal. It ended up as 5000 blogs over 5540 days besting 90% of the time even after a slow start.
Does it really matter? Being able to note the work of great organizations, campaigns, organizers, and leaders, their comings, their goings, and even their passing is worth the work. When I see that one of my pieces is on the first page of a Google search on somebody or something, that seems to count. It doesn’t equal change, but it’s another log on the fire, another light in the dark. Calls, letters, and threats from some of the subjects of these pieces along with comments and reflections from friends and colleagues and others gives it value.
Working around the world over the last fifteen years, one thing I’ve learned is that not everyone is allowed to have a voice. The opportunity is taken away and silenced. Having a voice only matters if it is used, so bear with me until we truly are able to “take it from here to there.” In the meantime, I’ll keep at it, so stick with me until we get there.
Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International