History Matters Campaign "Mass Blog" day

History Matters - pass it onThe History Matters – Pass It On campaign, which I blogged about in July, are holding an event entitled “One Day in History” on 17th October:

A MASS BLOG for the national record. The History Matters campaign has designated October 17 a day for the public to make historic. We have chosen ‘an ordinary’ weekday of no particular significance to ask you to write a one day on-line diary.

Source: http://www.historymatters.org.uk/output/Page95.asp

They want people to record a “blog diary” which they can upload to the History Matters website.

We want as many people as possible – tens of thousands of UK residents – to record a ‘blog’ diary of this one day to be by the British Library and others as a record of our national life.

As ever, I’m positive about a day where people will record how history has influenced them on an ‘ordinary day’, and have that text lodged with the British Library in perpetuity. But I am uncomfortable about the use of the word “blog” to describe what they’re doing.

From the text on the “One Day In History” page, it’s not clear that they want people to write about it on their own blogs and bear the History Matters badge on relevant posts to raise awareness of the campaign. Despite using the term “Mass Blog”, in the “How” info they seem to be talking about typing up your diary and uploading it to their website. Will people be contributing to an actual blog with an RSS feed? Is it a copy of the text from our “One Day In History” posts on our own blogs from that day that they’re after?

If they aren’t actually advocating blogging, they’re missing the one trick that could give them the greater exposure that the campaign deserves – the blogosphere itself.

I think a bit of rewording needs to go on here, perhaps to the tune of:

“A MASS BLOG for the national record. The History Matters campaign has designated October 17 a day for the public to make historic. We have chosen ‘an ordinary’ weekday of no particular significance to ask you to blog about how the past has affected you on that day.” (emphasis mine to show what I’ve changed)

They could provide a graphic that you can include in your post that links to the campaign website, like the one I’ve made for my History Matters posts.

In the “How” section it could read:

“On the 17 October and for a week after it will be possible to upload a copy of your blog post to www.historymatters.org.uk. The archive thereby created will be held by the British Library, Mass Observation, the National Trust and others.” (emphasis mine to show what I’ve changed)

They could also ask people to upload photos onto Flickr and tag them with “historymatters2006” and aggregate photos as well as blog posts onto their website.

The blogosphere is already quietly talking about it, but with a bit of a push, it could really buzz!

And for starters, History Matters needs it’s own blog, one of the golden rules for any campaign that uses the internet these days!

This post may well sound a bit negative, but with relatively little effort (get bloggers to do the work!), they could really use the internet to help raise the campaign’s profile, and really help to make a difference by reaching out to new audiences.

I’ll certainly be participating in the “One Day In History” event, and doing my bit to help more people that “History Matters” and that we must “Pass It On” 🙂

2 Responses to History Matters Campaign "Mass Blog" day

  1. Chris Carter 18 October, 2006 at 10:36 am #

    It rained nearly all day where I live in Devon on the 17th of October 2006. I watched it fall as I talked on the telephone (mainly trying to arrange a mortgage for my poorly paid daughter). Two trains of thought kept reoccuring. Firstly that I was glad I had just installed two more water butts on my allotment. Secondly, how amazing that those organising the “mass blog” on this day had completely underestimated the response that it would elicit as evidenced by the slow response of the site. It indicated how little they understood of the web and people.
    CC

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Vidi « Archaeoastronomy - 21 October, 2006

    […] Tom Goskar at Past Thinking has some well-considered words on the History Matters Campaign “Mass Blog” day. I think his idea would have been far more interesting than what appears to have happened. […]