I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I still feel like I don’t have very clear answers for myself. Maybe there just aren’t clear answers.
I’ve been blogging for almost two years, if not consistently. I’ve been keeping in touch with a couple of the SHAC folks for over a year. One of the frustrations they’ve expressed, especially in response to some of the frustrations I’ve expressed, is that the blogosphere is not the movement.
Does blogging make a difference? I have no idea. I started because it was suggested by a friend, not because she thought I had interesting things to say, but because she thought it would be interesting if I used my photography interest to sort of give visuals of activism. I never really thought I’d make a difference, and I doubt I have.
Does leafletting make a difference? I have no idea, though it seems to address some points that blogging doesn’t – getting information into the hands of people who aren’t necessarily seeking the information. And I have no issue with taking an hour here and there and passing out a few hundred pieces of information. If I’m not being effective, I’m certainly not expending much effort in any case, and it isn’t taking away from other things I would otherwise be doing. I do like to do passive leafletting, for lack of a better term, by stocking my local coffeeshop and library with pamphlets. That’s even less effort.
What does make a difference?
I really have no idea. The people I’ve influenced (that I know about) were purely by accident on my part. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.
I’m not sure if anyone really knows what makes the most difference. And even if they did, there is still the question in my mind about how I, personally, can make the most difference. See, what if getting up in front of large crowds and giving speeches was the most effective way, in general? I just can’t do that, so while it might be effective (and I’m making no claims either way, I’m just using it as an illustrative example), it wouldn’t be something that I could do to be effective.
We’re not all the same. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, different interests, different ways of interacting. It seems to me that we should make it a point to do what we can where we would be most effective as individuals.
I usually feel like when people encourage us to get involved, there is little consideration given to what our personal strengths might be. We’re told to put thought into what we’re doing (at least some will tell us that) but the suggestions I hear are always the same.
I don’t have suggestions to give to people, so maybe this is just a pointless post, but what I think is actually that we are the ones that will come up with where we can be most effective. I have a friend who is getting back into a web-design business, a second job for him, and he’s determined that he will give a portion of his time to non-profits that he believes in. He’s already made a big difference for one sanctuary by volunteering to design their website, and I think it has a lot of potential in general.
I’m sure there are a lot of potential ideas out there. I love hearing about creative ways people make a difference in the movement.
I also think that we too-often ignore supportive roles, and their very real worth within the movement. Of course I could be saying this in a self-serving way, since much of what I do seems to be supportive rather than directly working on changing people…
Regardless, I know that my biggest interest and talent are in spending time at sanctuaries and taking pictures. I am no Ansel Adams, not even close, but I have been able to use my photography in small ways. Maybe I’ll figure out how to put it to better use as time goes on. I do feel that it makes more sense to me to focus on that, than to try to become something I’m not. Like a public speaker, someone who enjoys talking to politicians, or any number of things that are likely very important but which I’m not suited for.
It might be hard to see in the small picture, but this was Ainsley, who is about 2 years old now, and Sally two weeks ago, checking each other out. It was sweet the way the cows were so interested in her antics, and in meeting this little baby. Check out a bigger picture if you like.
(miss you sally)