TODAY: Big hearts, not just big mouths

Bloggers channel their energy to charity – after trademark debate, of course

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THERE is a group of bloggers in Singapore who call themselves The Cowboy Bar. They are well-known for their frequent meet-ups.

While blogger meet-ups in themselves aren’t unusual, getting together for a cause is a less frequent affair, given the disparate nature of bloggers’ “day” jobs.

This group runs an online forum which regularly breaks their Google host’s bandwidth limits because of the sheer volume of text they exchange. This month, they’ve decided to harness their restless energy for a cause.

Read more at TODAYonline.

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Organising a Halloween Party (www.virtualinsanity.liquidblade.com) to raise funds for Women Make a Difference (www.wmdfest.org), the group promises a rowdy and raunchy time at the forthcoming event.

The founder of the Cowboy Bar, the notoriously anonymous Cowboy Caleb (cowboycaleb.liquidblade.com) — a 27-year-old male who works in an IT-related field — teasingly asked readers to attend the party just to spot him.

“I will definitely be there, so you can buy me a drink (if you spot me) and I’ll buy you one as well … ,” he wrote.

Those who know the blogosphere only from the occasional news report about a blogger being sued or jailed may be surprised that there are many bloggers who discuss charitable issues and talk about supporting good causes.

Local blog aggregator, Tomorrow.sg, recently ran a poll for readers to decide which charity the meta blog should adopt as its beneficiary for funds received from its income-generating activities.

It posted a list of 20 charities that had details about their activities as well as publicly accessible financial information — important tools in these troubled times for charities.

The list of charities were diverse, ranging from the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Interestingly, the Cat Welfare Society did not have its financial information available online at the time the list was posted.

After bloggers heard about the poll, they not only actively took part in it, but also began lobbying for votes by leaving comments in the poll post. Out of the 468 votes logged, 48 per cent of bloggers questioned the preference of charitable intentions towards animals rather than humans.

Some went as far as to analyse the result, explaining that it was a matter of there being too many charities to choose from.

“Any academic in political science will tell you, when you split the votes, the opposition wins. Eight charities for humans versus two charities for animals … having said that, it looks like cat welfare has half the total votes. So, I guess there are lots of cat lovers who read blogs,” said one anonymous comment.

Another writer named Imp called for an end to the “bickering” over the choice of charities, asking readers not to “degenerate into a petty squabble about whether animal lives are more precious than human lives”.

“A vote cast here is an exercise in the freedom of choice. Let that freedom be respected,” Imp argued.

Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over a year and wouldn’t mind listing his blog hosting fees as a charitable cause.

charityblogs

Charity Governance

(www.charitygovernance.blogs.com)

A guide to articles about charity governance. Has a publication called Avoi-ding trouble while doing good: A guide for the non-profit director and officer.

Blog for Hope

(blogs.health.yahoo.com/blog-for-hope/)

A blog raising awareness on the fight against cancer, featuring contributions by luminaries such as Hillary Clinton and Deepak Chopra.

Blogathon 2005

(www.blogathon.org)

An annual event where participants blog every 15 minutes for 24 hours to raise money for charity.

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