Some tips for newbies

  • If you get stuck, grab a prompt.
  • If you need advice, ask the group.
  • Links to participants are in the sidebar.
  • If you’re not in the sidebar, don’t forget to sign up.
  • Hashtags only work as one word without punctuation. #BahaiBlogging gets you this, while #Baha’iBlogging gets you links about the Bahamas and Baha cochlear implants.
  • You can use more than one hashtag. #Bahai or #education or #YourTownName or #Thanksgiving or whatever. Just make sure it’s pertinent.
  • If you post pictures, describe them so that our blind friends using screen readers can also enjoy your content.
  • You can actually write posts in advance and schedule them to post on a day in the future when you know you’ll be too busy to write.
  • (If you need help with learning how to do this, ask the group.)
  • If you don’t know how to explain a concept in a way that makes sense to friends who don’t have much exposure to the Faith, there’s an excellent chance it’s been described in brief and beautiful language here.
  • If you discover a mistake, you can always go back and edit it.
  • Don’t forget we’re all learning.
  • Don’t forget to have fun.
  • You got this.

There are no blog police.

What if I don’t succeed at posting every day?

There are no blog police.

What if I’m not a great writer?

There are no blog police.

What if I like to write about social issues from a Baha’i-inspired perspective, rather than explicitly Baha’i subject matter?

There are no blog police.

What if I only like to write poetry?

There are no blog police.

What if I write about some really challenging issues, like racism or domestic violence?

There are no blog police.

What if I mostly write jokes?

There are no blog police.

What if I’m not a registered Baha’i?

There are no blog police.

What if I want to write in a language besides English?

There are no blog police.

What if my life is super boring and I worry nobody will find it interesting except my own mother, and maybe not even her?

There are no blog police.

What if I’m only hearing about this in the middle of the month and there is just a week left to participate?

There are no blog police.

What if I have deeply-held opinions about the use of the Oxford comma?

Aaah, the blog police are coming to get you!

Oh wait, that was the grammar police. There are no blog police. Go ahead and sign up to participate.

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.

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.