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.