A while back I discussed an idea with a couple of bloggers - it would be great to demonstrate how "global" many online communities truly are. Find bloggers with common backgrounds or interests all over the world, and ask them to discuss a specific topic.
Of course, reading bloggers from virtually any country is easy today - just go to Global Voices Online and start clicking.
But what if we did it with bloggers in one specific online community, one that transcended borders? And what if that community, from a global perspective, has been marginalized in politics and media to a certain extent - despite its enormous value?
What if we could use social media to help amplify their voices, strengthen their bonds with each other, and teach the rest of the world a thing or two?
So today, together with some impressive bloggers, we're launching "The World According To Mom: Around the World in 80 Clicks."
We're going to try to find 80 mom bloggers in 80 different countries to write a post in response to a meme Catherine "Her Bad Mother" Connors develops.
I can't think of two better people with whom to try this. Catherine has been a force in the blogosphere, especially among moms, for some time now. She's giving some thought to what we'd ask moms in 80 different countries to share with the world, and providing an intellectual and emotional rudder to this project. Amira Al Hussaini is the Regional Editor for the Middle East and Africa at Global Voices - I interviewed her about her amazing project, Voices without Votes, for a Business Lexington column a few months ago. She's graciously offered to help us find bloggers in 80 countries. I'm essentially a worker bee here - part recording secretary, part dot-connector, part publicist.
Catherine was on the faculty at the University of Toronto, so she's accustomed to giving out assignments. She's developed a straightforward, inclusive and powerful meme for online moms across the world: Describe five things you love about being a mom. Amira Al Hussaini and GVO's Managing Editor, Solana Larsen, have already been enormously helpful finding online moms in scores of countries, and they've offered help with translation, an obviously critical aspect of this project.
As this progresses, I'll be posting links to all the moms in all the countries so you can actually go "around the world" in 80 mouse clicks. I'll also tweet with a hashtag - #globalmoms.
I'm hoping we get more than 80 - we'll soon see. If you're interested in participating - whatever country you're in and whatever language you speak -I hope you'll join in by writing your post, linking to friends, and letting us know by commenting at Catherine's post or here, or sending an email.
When we're completed, I'm hoping we'll have an amazing collection of perspectives on motherhood. I'm excited to see what moms across the world have in common, or how opinions differ. I'm also excited to read GVO's take on this, and Catherine's reactions once this is complete.
I realize it's somewhat odd for a man, and a PR flack at that, to help kick this off. But the "mom-o-sphere" has been the focus of much of my work for years now, and I've come to learn a few things. With all due respect to those (actually rather smart) people who consider "mommyblogs" (I don't like this term either, Liz) to be "media properties" or offer "helpful hints" on pitching them, maybe this will remind us all that online moms exist for something other than the convenience of marketing and PR people.
But this isn't about me, and it's much bigger than whatever PR flacks are talking about. . Once it starts, it belongs to all the people who participate in it and it will exist for the reasons they say it does - that's what "social media" is all about.
Seriously, people, it's not a lecture.