We’re Making a Difference!

You know, sometimes when you write a blog you wonder if you’re really making a difference. You come up with ideas, you do research, you write your posts — but you always wonder if any of it really has an impact.

And then something happens that convinces you that the writing is all worth it. And that happened for us last week.

We put a post together on The Freecycle Network last week laying out how to join and what freecycling is all about. And it had an impact.

The post was picked up on both Digg and Stumbleupon and ended up being read by almost 10,000 people. Better yet, over 1500 clicked through from the post to The Freecycle Network itself.

I don’t know what happened from there, but it’s likely that a few hundred people ended up signing up as members of The Freecycle Network directly as a result of that post. And those few hundred people might save hundreds or thousands of items from heading into landfills.

And that’s awesome!

But it’s not just because of us, it’s also because of our readers. The readers of this blog voted the post up on Digg and Stumbleupon which gave it more visibility. Our readers also share this blog on Facebook and with their friends and family, and helped spread the word. So I think this is something we all should celebrate!

Thanks again to everyone who’s helping us Make A Difference!

Should Green Blogs Discuss Politics?

It seems obvious that politics play a role in society’s response to big environmental issues. America’s response to Global Warming, for example, has been dictated by its political leaders to a great extent. Laws and regulations regarding pollution, auto emissions, treaties, carbon taxes — these are all things that are put in place by governments.

But yet, few blogs that are discuss environmental issues discuss politics. Why is that?

Many political blogs discuss environmental issues, but for some reason environmental blogs don’t usually discuss political issues.

I’ve seen some blog posts encouraging people to vote as one of their responses to environmental issues, but I’ve not seen much in terms of telling people how to vote – or who to vote for.

So I’d like to ask our readers — should we discuss political issues here at 21st Century Citizen?


And while we’re asking, please let us know wht your personal political leanings are (if you’re comfortable telling us). It helps us to know roughly how many people we’ll offend — because no matter what we discuss, we’ll get some people upset.


Of course, please expand on your answers and share your thoughts in the comments.

How Social Media Sites Expand Reader Comments on our Site

Social Media sites like Digg, Stumbleupon and Twitter (among others) have dramatically changed how readers find and discuss our website. I thought it would be interesting to talk about this a bit and show the rest of our readers how different people discuss our posts using these different sites.

As an example, let’s look at reader response to our post from yesterday on a new study showing that 87% of Americans were ‘seriously concerned’ about the environment.

The feedback itself was pretty consistent — our readers seemed to be all thinking the same thing: “Yeah, that’s great. But does it mean that people are actually going to do anything?”

And that’s a fair question to ask. It’s one thing for someone to be concerned about the environment, but quite another to for them to be more aggressive in recycling, or sell their SUV and by a Hybrid car.

Regular reader jhimm, summed it up well in his comment on our site :

ok, great, 87% of americans are concerned about the environment. BUT, of that 87% a significant percentage are going to be liberal/progressive and will expect the government to take a leading role in -fixing- the environment and so may not do as much on their own as they should, focusing instead of their “activism” by voting Green (or DNC).

another significant percentage are going to be lazy americans and while they are “seriously concerned” they aren’t actually going to get off their fat asses and -do- anything to -fix- the environmental issues we face.

Reader Jeremy added another comment on this site :

I agree, education is the hardest part, and the part od the equation that is lacking the most. I feel that most people want to live a more ecologically responsible life, but they dont know where to start. They know that they can recycle, but most dont know that there are rules (most of which make recycling harder to form habits around).

I bet a good 95% of the information that people are hearing is trying to just prove the fact that the environment is being depleted.

Social media sites like stumbleupon, digg, and twitter provide another avenue for interaction with readers — as well as new avenues for readers to comment on content.

For example, this story was submitted to stumbleupon, where stumbler tecknopuppy left the comment:

I am utterly amazed at the results from this study about how 87% of Americans are seriously concerned about the environment.

I posted a link to the story to twitter, and twitter user greenskeptic (who blogs at The Green Skeptic ) responded (in the standard twitter 140 characters or less):

concerned, but will we DO something about it? Will we change our lifestyle?

The Climate Heretic commented on the post on Digg:

This is what I am trying to get answered, what are people prepared to really do it about it? I am trying to understand the level of frustration that is portrayed in the media about the lack of action on this issue, not just here in North America, but globally. I am a skeptic, but I would like to know what people think on this, If you have time drop by http://www.theclimateheretic.com and post a reply, or post the reply here.

I personally think this is great. It gives readers more options and expands the opportunity to collaborate with more like-minded people. It also gives the story itself a wider readership and helps us get feedback from a more diverse group of people.

We’ll be back next week with our reader comments of the week post on Friday. Thanks for reading!

Commenting on our site

I’ve noticed that as we gain more and more regular readers, commenting has been increasing on the site. I think it’s great — I’m seeing some interesting ideas get tossed around. It makes things more fun.

So to encourage this, I’m going to write a commenting round-up thread on Fridays to review some of the week’s best comments. I’ll be writing this early on Friday morning or late Thursday, so you have the next 24 hours or so if you want to get in that one last insightful (or snarky) comment. Take your best shot.

We’ll go through the comments of the past week and pick out those that add the most to the conversation, and then build a short post around the ideas they raised.

If the people writing the comments leave website addresses, we’ll likely write a short review of their site and link to one of their recent stories.

If you have any questions leave them in the comments so everyone can read them.