October 15th. Blog Action Day. Join the Climate Change Discussion!

Blog Action Day

This Thursday, October 15th, marks the third annual Blog Action Day.  The yearly event unites bloggers from around the world to discuss a single issue of global importance. In anticipation of the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, this year’s discussion will focus on the very global topic of climate change.

Over 5000 blogs are expected to generate over 20,000 unique blog posts on the day, according to estimates by Robin Beck, Organizing Director at Change.org, this year’s sponsor of Blog Action Day. We recently spoke to Robin Beck about the event and the unique contribution bloggers can bring to this effort.

Triple Pundit: Obviously this is a very pressing issue, but what unique value do bloggers offer?

Robin Beck: Bloggers bring a conversation that they are running day in and day out. They have built up a community of people who are interested in conversing with each other, so the purpose of the day is to put the climate change conversation in front of that audience. And the real value is seeing the conversation start to take hold in places where it hasn’t before.

3P: Any estimates on how many blog posts related to climate change we will see on the 15th?

RB: In rough numbers, based on the excitement we are seeing this year, we are expecting 20,000 to 25,000 unique blog posts over the 24-hour period.  That’s more than the total number of blogs who have registered, but many of the bloggers will be devoting their entire day to the topic.

3P: Will you be doing any kind of aggregation or tracking on your website on the 15th?

RB: Yes. On the day, our website will change and we’ll be providing highlights from the various blogs, plus we’ll be tracking the percent change of certain trends and key words. We’ve found in the past it’s really significant, and we expect to see a spike in certain keywords associated with the climate change discussion on the 15th.

We will also be highlighting prominent guest writers on our site.

3P: What metrics are you using to measure success?

RB: Well obviously, quantitative measures are great. It’s nice to see 10,000 people blogging on this particular topic and an increase in chatter.  But we are going to be more focused on something that is a little harder to quantify which is: did we show up in a lot of places where this discussion doesn’t normally take place?

The really powerful thing about Blog Action Day is it’s more than the environmental bloggers taking part.  It’s getting others involved, like those who usually blog about gadgets or travel or picking stocks. So for me, the true indicator of success is the breadth and the reach of the issue on that day.

3P: You have some pretty impressive partners on your website: Greenpeace, the United Nations Foundation, and even the UK government’s Act on Copenhagen.  Have you gotten a similar response from anyone in the US government?

RB: Well, we’re still working with the State Department and some of the Cabinet secretaries to try to get some response from the administration.  We have not yet gotten any to be honest.  But we are hoping to get support from some members of Congress. Nothing is certain, but we’re making a lot more headway there than with the administration.

3P: Will you be providing other resources after the 15th?

RB: For a few days, we’ll also be providing information on next steps. Besides the one day focused on blogging, we also want to give people options and ideas for what they can do the rest of the year.  We are planning to funnel people into the International Day of Climate Action on the 24th, the 350.org event.

We are not trying to be the biggest climate change event that ever happened, but we want to be a big tent, highlighting everything from local to international events.

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Join Triple Pundit for Blog Action Day on the 15th.  Make sure to have your say and join in the discussion!

Jim Witkin is a writer and researcher based in Silicon Valley focused on business, technology and the environment. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Guardian newspapers on topics that include: sustainable business practices, clean tech, the environment and next generation transportation technologies. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. Contact him at jameswitkin@gmail.com

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