This post is part of my application for the SHIFT. SHAPE. MOBILIZE. a tools & skills workshop for bloggers that will take place on 16-22 November in Berlin, Germany
At the beginning there was the word
When I’ve written my first blog post I didn’t think about influence, money or popularity.
It was an Iranian movie about women’s rights in third countries that inspired me so much that I just went home and in the same evening started my blog. At that moment, I surely was not aware how powerful can be(come) such a media instrument and how many things can a single person change by expressing its opinion and by making it public on a simple platform.
After 5 years of blogging I’ve experienced so many times what shaping mentalities means.
I was calling to political protests, I was writing about charity actions, I was inviting young people to apply for scholarships and studies abroad as I did, I was recommending books I’ve read receiving great feedbacks and was standing against stereotypes, discrimination, against the lack of professionalism in state institutions and against the indifference when it comes about political issues happening in Moldova.
Moldova, Protests, 2015
Over time, I have observed how many people follow other people which are not afraid to write about sensible issues, both political and social ones. I understood how many magic things can happen if you are organized and courageous enough to sit down for a moment and to try by texting to make a difference.
This blog post is explaining how activists are bringing social change through social media. I will give you a concrete example that I myself experienced and that I am proud of.
Charity. Little Alexandru’s story
The last year, my French language professor from university sent me a message on Facebook asking me to help her. She needed a personalized wheelchair for her little boy who has some motor deficiencies.
Silvia Scerbakov with its two sons
Well, to make it clear, it that was for sure the most sensible message in my life when I felt directly responsible for what will happen further. I felt that I can do something useful and through my blog I can raise the awareness and I can help this desperate women to purchase such an expensive for her family wheelchair.
So, if my blog was used until that time just for the travel journals, movie and books recommendations, social and cultural events and opinions concerning the political life in Moldova, in few minutes it became a real platform for fundraising.
The same evening I wrote down a post explaining what is happening and what is needed in order to help.
I tried to sensitize people by using photo content, part of my dialog with Silvia Scerbakov, the boy’s mother and I started a call to solidarity and empathy. I had no idea what all this could lead to, even thinking that people will give a cold shoulder to my initiative to gather that money.
Screenshot TV reportage we managed to film
But I was mistaken. Because the next day I have received already 2 important and full of hope messages.
The first was from Sofia Obada a friend of mine working for Jurnal TV – one of the most popular TV’s in Moldova, proposing to make a reportage about this case, the second from a Moldovan based in Ireland proposing to donate half of the amount of money needed.
I’ve read them all and then I said: Oh, God, it works!
The reportaje at he national TV in prime time (click for the video)
And it really worked.
In a week Silvia Scerbakov, my professor asking me to help was contacted by many people willing to donate. And that was wonderful, as on the second week her little boy was enjoying his chair and smiling to the world on a joyful photo posted by Mrs. Scerbakov on Facebook.
I am often trying to reinvent in my mind this situation after and post-what-happened. And every time I am astonished by how much solidarity can people show if there is an incentive to make them take action, if when they are asked to help, they meet a personal approach, a sensitive post, a human touch story coming from a person who simply cares and invites them to join.
Happy Alexandru in his new wheelchair with his mother Silvia
This is just a case that truly illustrates how a simple blog post can create what we call the butterfly effect.
One by one people are connecting, they become more friendly and they start to build together something big, something that belongs to them and wears their spirit. The spirit of solidarity.
People respond to incentives. The rest is commentary
The only thing people usually need is an incentive. An impulse to do something or to support someone’s initiative. Very often namely the bloggers can be the actors of change.
I experienced it and I can say for sure that we are able to make a difference and to gather around us people with the same opinions, with the same concerns and with the same willingness to help. We have the power to shape together mentalities, behaviors, realities.
Why Moldova needs me as an alternative source of information + empowerment and an actor of change
College of Europe, Warsaw, 2015
I was born in a country where the freedom of expression was not always allowed.
Now in Moldova you can freely express yourself and it’s even needed. But there is a lot of dirty media sources and information that must to be struggled: Russian propaganda, controlled by politicians and oligarchs mass media, journalists that are bought and sold in exchange of the lies, half of truths, and manipulation they promise to publish on a daily basis on their sites, TV screens and blogs-for-money. At a certain moment all this becomes suffocating.
There is a strong need of people who do not financially and ideologically belong to political parties, who care about the truth and are not afraid to stand up for the alternative ways of thinking and alternatives source of information.
This role has to be played by us, the bloggers. The people who have the ability of critical thinking, of analyzing, of writing well, of using their networks and mobilize the people no matter what the problem is. We are shaping mentalities and have to feel responsible for this.
We are the incentives that often determine the readers to take action. We are the spokespersons for those who don’t have the possibility to express their selves and the loudspeakers of those whose voice is weaker and cannot reach enough public echo.
We are the actors of change. And we have to play the role.