A blog is a more informal, less complex way to establish a presence on the internet. Functioning almost like a ‘personal’ website that can be easily updated, blogs tend to be much easier to build than full websites. In fact many web-hosts and blogging software, such as Blogger or Wordpress, offer free platforms that do not require any knowledge in programming languages such as html. The boundaries between websites, which can accommodate large amounts of intricately structured information, and blogs, which started out as informal diaries, are becoming blurred, as websites are updated at increasingly short intervals and blogs become more professional and more complex. In the interest of time and money, more and more organizations are choosing to set up blogs rather than full-fledged websites. Some websites also include links to blogs, e.g. the Women Won’t Wait Campaign to end HIV & Violence against Women presents the campaign on its main page. More editorial-type, reflective articles are shared on the campaign blog, which can be accessed directly from the website.
Campaign blogs can intensify communication between activists working in different geographical regions, as a virtually unlimited number of internet users can contribute. It is however necessary to agree among activists as to what can be published on the blog and what cannot, and step-by-step instructions must be provided for those who have no experience in blogging. In large campaigns with many activists, it may be useful to designate one or two campaigners to act as blog administrators, who collect contributed information and upload these on the blog.
A blog can also be used as a purely internal communication tool by restricting its use to authorized, registered users. That can work as an effective communication and monitoring tool where internet use is common and all campaigners have easy access to it.
Examples: In its roaming “Stop the Bus” Campaign in 2007 to inform rural communities in Western Cape, South Africa about laws protecting women’s rights and their application, the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust used the activists’ daily blog posts as a monitoring tool. While on tour, activists posted some 600 digital photographs and related their experience to each other. The tool helped to keep up momentum among the campaigners and documented their activities.
Hollaback! is a global movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. Mobile users can share their stories and identify the locations where harassment has taken place. The posts are uploaded to a website, where incidents are digitally mapped and visible to the general public. The site also offers news stories related to sexual harassment from around the world and resources for individuals and activists.
In Egypt, a group of volunteers developed HARASSmap a blog dedicated to “Ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment“. The site is linked to mobile technology where women can text from the location where an incident took place, mapping them across the city of Cairo. The site also provides resources and spaces for women and girls to post comments, obtain information and share experiences.
In Yemen, a similar map called The Safe Streets has been developed to highlight incidences of harassment on the street.