“Even one voice can be heard loudly all over the world in this day and age.”
-Aung San Suu Ky.
I am nothing if not utilitarian; I am fascinated by all the different ways that a thing can be used, or useful.
Ask Momma Bird.
There is a closet in the garage full of empty 3 lb coffee cans. Not because I’m a hoarder (although there is potential for that in my genetic coding). I’ve just learned over the years that one can never have enough empty 3 lb coffee cans near at hand.
The 3lb coffee can hold things, obviously. Big things and small things. It can cover things. It can serve as watertight storage. It can be used as a miniature compost pile or worm farm.
A coffee can with strategic holes cut out of it can protect a tomato seedling from the harsh weather changes of early spring. It can be a scoop for chicken feed, or a bucket to haul in the day’s garden harvest.
Recently, my wife was in a pinch and needed 26 containers for one of the kids’ school projects. The stash of coffee cans saved the day. 😉
To me, there is nothing so innately beautiful as a single object with myriad uses.
Perhaps this is why the howl of a coyote is like music to my ears.
If you spend time in the woods – camping, wandering, or hiding out from the police – you know that some sounds travel for miles. A single howl from a coyote can send tingles up the spines of people for miles around. It can warn deer of a nearby threat. It can summon the coyote’s mate, or its children. It can inspire art.
One voice. Many uses.
What if the voice is not coyote, but a blog? What should a blog be used for?
Or the better question – what COULD a blog be used for?
In just 7 short months, this blog has garnered almost 1,000 followers. Some follow by email, others on Facebook or Twitter. I am surprised, each day, by the reach of my “voice”.
As that reach broadens, I increasingly ponder how this blog, or the voice of this blog, can be “used”. Here is how it is “used” right now:
1) Generate a tiny bit of money. The formula is simple in concept, if not in practice. Write good content. Drive traffic. Sell something to traffic. I do a little of that here, and make $9 or $10 a month, which helps to cut down on the monthly costs of hosting the blog, etc. I promised myself that I would not become a “snake oil salesman”, and so I don’t do much “selling” beyond the little bits you see here and there.
2) Social Change. Throughout this year, this blog has been a platform for social change through the #JusticeForEthan campaign. Beginning with a February 20th post about Ethan’s murder at the hands of 3 off-duty Frederick County Sheriffs, to the 8 Days for Ethan Campaign and beyond, this blog – among many, many, others – helped keep Ethan’s voice alive. That movement has gained a foothold in the national media, which is chronicled here.
3) A platform for drawing and writing. By making the doodles an integral part of the posts, and swearing off stock-imagery, I forced myself to sit down and draw. I had things I want to say, but because of a commitment to myself, can not post them unless I draw or photograph the accompanying illustration myself.
4) A small introduction to Down Syndrome from a New Father to Other New Fathers. The most-read post on this site has been The Big Myth about Down Syndrome and How New Dads can shatter it. The post continues to reach a broader audience – just last week, the National Review and Bristol Palin (big sis of Trig Palin) shared this post with their followers. There are a lot of moms out there sharing their experience with Down Syndrome – but there are surprisingly few Dads out there talking about Down Syndrome. (I never miss the chance to “shout out” to my favorite blogs by Dads of kids with Down Syndrome – Treyton’s Posse and Noah’s Dad. Each has a unique voice and perspective, and both had a major influence on me as a new Daddy).
I get the sense that this blog could do so much more than the 4 things I list above. I have a couple of concepts I am mulling over, but while I do I want to hear what YOU have to say:
If this blog was YOUR voice, how would you use it?
Be creative and brainstorm with me. No thought is too weird, off-beat, silly, etc. No thought is too big, no idea is too “out of reach”.
I look forward to your ideas – share them in the comments below, on Facebook, or shoot me an email at dad at littlebirdsdad dot com.by