Before you hit “publish.”

With a stage as large as the internet, it’s natural to be concerned about whether what you’re writing is appropriate. Here are a few questions to ask before you send that blog post out into the world.

Before you hit “publish,” ask …

  1. Would I say this in person? Do a gut-check to make sure what you’re writing couldn’t be construed as backbiting.
  2. Could this put someone in danger? If you’re able to participate actively in the Baha’i community without fear of repercussions, consider yourself blessed. Before writing about other people or sharing photos of them, ask yourself whether it could be unsafe.
  3. Am I presenting my opinions as fact? When writing about the teachings of the Faith, it’s important to remember that our knowledge is always growing over time. Staying humble about our current understanding is key.
  4. Is this truthful? It’s the foundation of all virtues. Fiction and creative writing are powerful art forms; just make sure they’re labeled as such.
  5. Does this unite the world or divide it? Partisan politics, sarcastic put-downs, and arguing for the sake of argument are a regular part of internet culture. That doesn’t mean we need to participate in it.

More guidance for Baha’is on the internet:

Is there a netiquette for Baha’is? from Baha’i Blog.

Points to ponder for constructive Internet use from the website of the Baha’is of the United States.

Guidelines for Internet communication from the Baha’i Internet Agency.

Quote

On public discourse

At the level of the cluster, involvement in public discourse can range from an act as simple as introducing Bahá’í ideas into everyday conversation to more formal activities such as the preparation of articles and attendance at gatherings, dedicated to themes of social concern—climate change and the environment, governance and human rights, to mention a few.

-The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 2010

But … I’m not a blogger.

Not a blogger? Not a problem. There are lots of ways you can participate in the Baha’i Blogging Challenge.

Start a new blog. No time like the present, right? You can begin with nothing more than an idea and an internet connection. (And really, the bright idea is optional.) Experience, money, coding skills, graphics editing programs, stellar spelling, a fancy camera … all that is totally unnecessary.

Participate with a group. Do you have a group of friends who are engaged in Baha’i activities? Why not try building a blog together? Put together a schedule and post on specific days, or consult together about content. Sometimes it’s easier with support.

Try microblogging. If you’re more comfortable with 140 characters than 140 words, participating on Twitter or Instagram rather than a blog might be more your speed. (Although there’s no minimum length for a blog post!)

Consider the diversity of communication. If you’re more comfortable taking photos, singing songs, recording stories, or drawing pictures than you are with writing, that’s great content too! Just make sure to include image descriptions so that our blind and visually impaired friends can still engage with what you’re posting.

Read, comment, and share other people’s blog posts. #Bahaiblogging won’t get anywhere without an audience. If you’re not interested in creating content yourself, please think about engaging with what other people are creating and sharing it with others.

 

19 perfectly valid reasons to participate in the Baha’i Blog Challenge

  1. Because it scares you.
  2. Because you keep thinking you should be more engaged in participating in the discourses of society, but you’re not exactly sure how.
  3. Because you’ve always wanted to be a blogger, but never had the motivation to get started.
  4. Because you’ve been a blogger for ages, but have been in a slump.
  5. Because you’ve heard blogging can help you “find your voice.”
  6. Because you love writing and want to do more of it.
  7. Because you hate writing and want everyone to know that art/music/photography is just as valid a method of communication.
  8. Because you don’t have a novel in you right now.
  9. Because you just learned what a hashtag is and you want the world to know.
  10. Because you want to build bonds of friendship with people in other communities.
  11. Because you want to reflect on your experiences with others.
  12. Because you love reading blogs and want to support the people who create them.
  13. Because it will be educational.
  14. Because your junior youth group thinks it would be a cool group project.
  15. Because your poetry is getting bored just sitting in that journal all alone.
  16. Because you got accustomed to seeing tons of Baha’i content on the internet around the Twin Holy Days, and you want to keep momentum going.
  17. Because it will be fun.
  18. Because it’s a good way to get input on thoughts that would otherwise just be circling your brain like a hungry pack of sharks.
  19. Why not?