OnStartups

Diminishing Dead-Tree Media and 3 More Ways Bloggers Can Help Save The Planet

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on October 15, 2007 in blog action day 14 Comments

Back in August, I was contacted by Collis Ta'eed, a longtime reader of OnStartups.com. Collis was kicking off an initiative called "Blog Action Day" to get bloggers around the world to post on a single day, on a specific, and important issue -- the environment. The idea was to raise awareness by focusing thousands of blog articles on the topic of the environment and get people thinking about it.

I'm honored to have been one of the first few bloggers that agreed to support the Blog Action Day initiative. How OnStartups.com wound up in the company of blockbuster bloggers like LifeHacker, SEOmoz and GigaOm, I'm not sure. But I'm honored. Since August 14th, there have been 14,984 bloggers that have offered their support and agreed to post a related article.

Since I'm a startup guy and not much of an environmental guy, I struggled with this content a bit. But, here goes:

How Bloggers Can Help Save The Planet

1. Monetizing With Meaning: I've generally been reluctant to monetize this blog. For one, I don't get millions of visitors a month (please hold back your gasp of surprise). So, I figured the magnitude of monetization would be negligible. So today, I decided to donate all the direct cash proceeds from this blog this year (2007) to a worthy environmental cause (in my case, The Sierra Club). To do this, I had to figure out how much money I made. To my amazement, this was $605.23 (primarily through Amazon and FeedBurner). This is without really trying. My eyes are now open to the opportunity. Imagine if the thousands of bloggers like me that don't monetize because they're too lazy or think it's not worth it would start really monetizing and donating proceeds. We'd be a force! [Note: Great bloggers like Fred Wilson have already figured this out and have been doing it for a while.]

2. Diminishing Dead-Tree Media: This is the obvious one. One of the great things about blogging is that it doesn't rely on dead-tree media (i.e. print media) to communicate. Even if a million of you curiously committed readers show up to read this article, the marginal cost to the environment is negligible.

3. Linking With Love: I'm pretty big on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as an important part of modern marketing. Those that have studied SEO know that a lot of it is based on the quantity and quality of your inbound links (or backlinks). If you're a blogger, you can help your favorite environmental site get more traffic by linking to it from one or more pages. In the age of internet marketing, good links are like gold.

4. Going Global: Since we all share the planet, I think one of the key ways blogging helps is to propagate the message far and wide. Instead of writing opinion pieces for your local newspaper you can now -- literally -- reach people around the planet. In order to give our shared resources the importance they deserve, we need to ensure that there are as many voices as possible. Of course, blogging is by no means universal, but it is *much* more accessible and has a much broader reach than most other vehicles of communication available to the individual.

So, if you're a blogger, please participate today in Blog Action Day and post an article -- even if it's nothing more than stating your support and linking to your favorite environmental site. If you're a reader not a writer, help spread the word. One easy way to do this is to promote this article on your favorite social site (like digg or reddit). For the skeptics amongst you that think this is self-serving and I'm just looking to feed my fragile ego (I am, and it is), my apologies. But, have I mentioned that I'm publicly commiting to donating any and all cash proceeds from this site at least through the rest of this year to a not-for-profit environemtal cause?

Do your part (however small).