Sunday, August 07, 2005

En∙COURAGE∙ment to Blog for HIV/AIDS

The act of speaking out in your own voice requires courage and strength of character and a strong desire to be heard. For many living in the world of HIV/AIDS, our voices have been silenced by fear, anxiety, social stigma and threats of death or injury. Now more than ever, we need to speak out and let the world hear our voices. As mass-media focuses on the successes of new drug therapies for this illness, they seem to forget that the keystone to stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS is frank and clear education about transmission modes, discussion of the behaviors that do and do not put human beings at risk and compassion for those who are infected. Now, as wars rage and attention is forced away from our medical and social needs, we need to raise a chorus of voices to remind the world that our lives have value. It is in the best interest of humanity to help us fight this pandemic.

The International Carnival of Pozitivities (ICP) is a forum for you to express yourself about this disease and how it affects your life and the lives of those who live around you. Your voice is welcome here even if you choose to speak anonymously. You can speak out publicly as yourself or you have the option of adopting a pseudonym within the blogosphere. It does not matter how you represent your “self” on the internet as long as your voice is true, authentic and unique and your message is on topic and medically accurate. I hope that by providing a means for you to express your hopes, fears, concerns and opinions, you will find it empowering and will soon be able to speak out openly as your true self--someone who sees her-/himself as a whole, valid and secure person with something important to say. By being genuine to yourself and others, you become a much more potent influence in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The first step to this process is perhaps to record your thoughts in a diary. You can start by writing your feelings down in a notebook. Eventually, I would like to encourage you to set up a web log or “blog” so that you can share your own words with the rest of us. You can always write down your thoughts and email them to me for inclusion on my personal blog where I will attribute the article to you in a way that suits you best. Either way, once your work is published online, you can submit the blog entry to the ICP. You do this by clicking on the submit button on this homepage and filling in the information that is requested or you can write me and I will help you.

Ultimately, it is our aim at the ICP to encourage you, and to provide you the motivation and desire to make your voice heard. There are many different tools available for blogging, so I will not get into how to create accounts or how to write HTML code to make your blogging experience more professional. On the other hand, I can recommend that you visit the Blogger Start Page and “Take the Tour” as an introduction to blogging. From there, you can follow a few easy steps to create your own blog or you can investigate different tools for accomplishing the same goal.

If you want to read more about blogging, there are a couple of articles of interest that I can recommend. Many thanks go out to Richard Kearns of Los Angeles for these links. First, from Rebecca Blood Weblogs: A History and Perspective, Rebecca's Pocket. 07 September 2000. 08 January 2006, explores the history of blogging. Additionally, Blogging with Passion and Compassion explores what makes for good material when you are writing. These articles are offered as guides to help you find your personal blogging voice.

Please consider speaking up as yourself for all of us who are living with HIV/AIDS. Your experiences are valid and need to be documented for the world to read.


On Volunteerism and Inspiration

We accept written testimonials, video, music, poetry, original artwork or anything else that might shed light on life with HIV/AIDS and its treatment. All of the work for the ICP is based on the idea of volunteerism. It is, in fact, a social experiment of sorts to show that through compassion and generosity, we can all gain more than what we put into life. If we care, we can make things happen on an international grassroots level without need for financial gain. If we simply take that first step of sharing, how powerful can we be? I hope that you will consider conquering fear. I hope that you can help us face our lives as the opportunities to promote compassion that they are. Isn't that a better option than succumbing to our multi-culture of fear and stigma. We all need inspiration. Will you be inspiring?


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Benefits to Submitting/Hosting a Blog Carnival

Some of you may wonder what benefit there is to you as a blogger for submitting a post or for hosting the International Carnival of Pozitivities (ICP). The primary benefit to you is an increase in traffic to your blog. Secondary benefits include increased networking with people within your community and increased understanding, empathy and compassion for others. For those of us living with HIV/AIDS, the process can leave us feeling more connected, less isolated and more a part of a vibrant, warm and loving community. Lastly, we learn that we share many things in common across the world. Most importantly, we have a forum for spreading our messages about living with HIV/AIDS in a realistic, non-media/non-pharmaceutical-marketing way.

When I have worked with other Carnivals, I have seen dramatic increases in visits or hits to my blog in the days immediately following publication. The Tar Heel Tavern homepage lists a couple of articles that detail the traffic flow issues and how your blog can benefit from submitting/hosting. At Coyote Blog, you will find an article with graphs that details the spikes in page views and hits that were experienced by hosting a blog carnival. There are also some very helpful suggestions listed for hosting. Another article, found at freemoneyfinance highlights detailed instructions on maximizing traffic to the carnival. Not all of these suggestions are necessary for you to follow, but many will help you increase your hits.

For those of us in the HIV/AIDS community, the importance of getting our voices heard is critical in the understanding of our disease in the general community. As such, we are actively seeking mainstream, high-volume blogs for hosting the ICP so that our messages reach as many people as possible. This provides us an opportunity to scratch the backs of the hosts by bringing in new traffic while they scratch our backs by spreading our messages. Please help us succeed by submitting your posts to the ICP and by hosting or recruiting hosts for the ICP on our behalf.


Friday, June 10, 2005

Responsibilities of the Host

There are a few responsibilities that come with hosting the ICP. I would like to lay out below what is expected of anyone who might volunteer to host an edition of the carnival and what you can expect of me. The amount of work is not particularly demanding but there are a few steps that are critical.

As the manager of the ICP, I will:

  • Work to gather submissions from different sources and to promote submissions to the ICP via the ICP submission form.
  • Review all of the submissions to ensure that they are appropriate and pertinent.
  • Forward all valid submissions to the host of a particular edition.
  • Update the homepage of the ICP to indicate schedule, host and contact information.
  • Update the homepage of the ICP with links to your summary article to indicate the new edition and to list the participants.
  • Review your final edition to ensure functioning links and inclusion of all submissions.

As the host of the edition, you should:

  • Post an announcement on your blog that you will be hosting the ICP and to call for submissions.
  • Seek out/nominate any posts that you wish to see included (optional).
  • Save all submission forms received from the ICP manager and all correspondence with individual authors (particularly relating to permission for use).
  • Write a brief email to each contributor to indicate receipt of his or her article and to find out how the author wishes to be referenced, if differently from the name given on their blog.
  • Write to each author whose work is nominated by a third party to obtain permission of use.
  • Write and publish a summary article to introduce and link to each of the articles contributed to the ICP edition(this is the bulk of the work)
  • Check your links within the article to make sure that they are working properly and that all of the submissions are included.
  • Write the individual contributors and ICP manager upon publication of the summary article, including a permalink to the summary article for the ICP.
  • Ask each contributor to post an announcement on their own blog of the publication of the ICP edition to which they contributed.
  • Maintain contact with the ICP manager for several days after publication in order to correct any problems that might be found in the ICP edition.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

On Use of Your Name in Submissions

You can choose how you wish to be referenced when submitting an article to the ICP. If you are more comfortable using a pseudonym, that is perfectly acceptable. When you submit your article, please be explicit about how you wish to be referenced. The host of the edition to which you submit your article will use the name listed on your blog unless otherwise indicated. If you wish to use a different name than that, please include the name you wish to use in the comment section of the ICP submission form and reinforce your desire by mentioning it in your correspondence with the host.

Be sure to review the published carnival to ensure that your article is attributed to you properly. If not, please email me immediately and I will take steps to correct any problems.


Statement of Copyright

All work contributed for inclusion in the International Carnival of Pozitivities retains the original copyright of the author. It is the responsibility of each contributor to ensure that their work is protected as they see fit. Any duplication or distribution of the Carnival is discouraged, with strong preference given to linking to the Carnival permalink for the original site of the host for any given month. Nonetheless, it is our intent to reach as many people as possible. If you choose to translate the articles for your native non-English languages, please just remember to attribute the original articles to their respective authors.