Five years ago, I made a case for blogs, noting that I like how blogs share information and opinions. What I said then is still true today: imagine a topic and there’s a blog devoted to it. It’s hard to count up all the blogs on all the different platforms, but one estimate says that there are more than 440 million blogs published today. You read that correctly: more than 440 million blogs.
Not every blog post succeeds and many, in fact, fail. A blog platform like Women of the ELCA’s feeds and nourishes a community, but regularly creating and publishing interesting content is hard work. Not every blogger is up to the challenge. But Women of the ELCA is. Our organization made a commitment to sharing faith reflections via our blog and, in doing so, we’ve made a unique contribution in the blogosphere. Martin Luther, innovator of communication methods, would be proud, I do believe.
Nine years and counting
Women of the ELCA has been publishing blogs for nine years (for those who care, the first post was August 7, 2009), and in that time the organization has published nearly 1,000 blog entries. With at least two per week, those numbers add up quickly!
Whatever their topic, our blog posts discuss current events, trends and topics through the lens of Women of the ELCA’s mission and purpose statements.
Strategic advice on how to blog has shifted over those nine years, especially as to the length of a blog post, so it’s clear that our blog has evolved over time. The posts are as unique as their authors, most of whom are churchwide board members, synodical leaders and staff. Blog topics range from living with doubt to living with dogs to living with grief. We’ve written about children, grandchildren, gun violence, Fair Trade, suicide and so much more. Whatever their topic, the blog posts discuss current events, trends and topics through the lens of Women of the ELCA’s mission and purpose statements.
When the organization started publishing the blog nine years ago, blogging as social media had been around a few years, yet the blog offered a new venue for our organization, a place for faith-filled discussions of current events, bridging the miles that divide us. We quickly found that while readers are invited to post comments on the blog itself, more robust discussions of the blog posts often take place on the Women of the ELCA Facebook page where we promote each blog post. Lots of blog readers never comment, content to simply be part of the online community.
Blog posts as devotions
The blog posts can have a life beyond the blog itself. Let’s say you’re responsible for devotions at an upcoming meeting. Use the search engine on the blog page, searching on a term relevant to your meeting or those who are gathering for the meeting. It’s likely that more than one post will show up in the search results. Read those blog posts. Select one to share as part of the devotions. Follow up the reading with a question that generates discussion among your meeting attendees. Finish up with a prayer and voila! You’ve turned a blog post into a devotion. Aren’t you clever?!
Have you made reading the Women of the ELCA blog part of your regular routine? A spiritual discipline even? As we approach the ninth anniversary of the blog, we’re doing some critical thinking about the blog’s role in Women of the ELCA’s communication strategy, and we’d love to get your feedback. How often do you read our blogs given the amount of content we all receive on a daily basis?
Post your thoughts here in the comments, and if you have something to share through a blog or otherwise, send an email to Terri Lackey.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA.