Forget Memes. Here’s What Blogs Can Really Do.

40 amazing comments

no bloggingBlogging has long been an effective way to share ideas and information, but it hasn’t always been something that the cool kids embrace. Should that worry us?

Last week someone kidded with me by saying that “…only idiots blog, so don’t do it”.

Don’t worry, they were joking and I had a good laugh! But it did get me thinking about all the positive things that blogs can do, and how they’re really not just for selfies and re-sharing memes.

A good blog can change the world. Maybe not everyone knows about that.

Today I want to show you some of the most inspiring and effective blogs on the net (like, way better than Blog Tyrant) and why I think this medium is still one of the most powerful forms of communication around.

My own feelings about blogging

Blogging has quite literally changed my life.

It’s allowed me to build a career where I can work from home, travel with my partner, and even donate a little bit of money to some charities that I really love. And while I honestly don’t think Blog Tyrant is anything special, I feel so lucky to be able to work on a website with such a great community of friends and fellow web entrepreneurs.

I don’t say any of this to make myself seem good, I just feel it’s important to show examples of how blogging can really impact both the blogger and the reader. For me it has been an absolutely fantastic process, and something that I will always evangelize in the hope that it will spread little chunks of goodness around the web.

Blogging isn’t for idiots, it’s actually very important

As the world becomes more deeply digitized, websites and blogs are going to play an extraordinarily important role in education, modern thinking, culture and, as we saw last year, how effectively our political systems work.

I’m also convinced that blogging will play an bigger role in our economy as artificial intelligence and robotics steps in and takes over more and more traditional job roles. Millions will turn to the Internet to look for supplementary income opportunities.

So, what I thought I would do now is go above and beyond this little blog and show you some examples that have had a significant impact on their community, the Internet itself, and maybe even the whole world.

1. GiveWell – Charity reviews and research

give well

GiveWell describes themselves as “…a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities through in-depth analysis. Thousands of hours of research have gone into finding our top-rated charities. They’re evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, and underfunded.” The idea is basically that they help you donate to charities in the most financially effective way. You know that every dollar that you donate is having an impact.

But the interesting thing is how much their blog shaped my own ideas about charity. Their articles are brilliantly researched and really help to open your eyes to new ideas. This article on whether to give now or later is a good example.

This is one blog/website that is read by thousands of people and organizations around the world and is having a very direct impact on things like getting kids healthy through de-worming, and by making charities more effective and transparent.

2. Gates Notes – The blog of Bill Gates

bill gates blog

We all know Bill Gates as the man behind Microsoft. But, for me, the more important thing is that Bill has used his wealth to make the world a better place through extensive and effective charity and things like The Giving Pledge where he, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet have encouraged dozens of billionaires to donate their wealth to philanthropy.

This particular blog is important because it shows Mr. Gates leading by example. It is exciting to see a billionaire technology giant writing about topics like How Foreign Aid Helps Americans and How You Can Be a More Effective Donor, and so on.

These articles are shared and read by millions, including policy-makers, those with money to burn, and, perhaps most importantly, the younger generation who will one day take the reigns

3. Wait But Why – A new post every sometimes

wait but why

Wait But Why is one of the only blogs where I have sat quite literally for the whole day and read. That is such a rare feeling and something that I really value.

This is the type of long-form content blog that makes you think about things in an entirely different way. The posts are meticulously researched and, best of all, it’s written in a way that is so approachable and warm that you just want to keep going deeper and deeper. I can’t help but imagine how many people have had breakthrough moments reading this stuff.

Articles like this one (where he interviewed Elon Musk!) must have inspired so many people to study science, and this one to make people read more books because, actually, you only have about 300 books left before you stop reading for the rest of eternity. I’d avoid the article on A.I. though, it actually caused me to lose sleep!

4. I Used to Be a Human Being – New York Magazine

human being

This one is not a whole blog but a single article that originally appeared in a print publication and then was syndicated online. The article I Used to Be a Human Being is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever read online, and made me genuinely re-think the way I work, live and interact with the world around me.

To me, this is a fantastic example of how a blog format can take an amazing piece of writing and spread it to the masses. While the New York Magazine print edition has decent circulation numbers, it’s online presence reaches far more people and allows articles like this to be shared with people who might otherwise have never purchased or subscribed.

One has to wonder whether Andrew Sullivan would have had the opportunity to publish articles in magazines like this one without an already exceptional and popular blog of his own.

5. Dooce – I like babies but I couldn’t eat a whole one

dooce

A genuine cultural icon. Dooce, written by Heather Armstrong, was one of the first and arguably the most successful in the niche of personal bloggers (and that awful term “mommy bloggers”). She started back in 2001 and was even fired from her job for blogging about a bad experience – that lead to the term “Dooced” which has been used by people all over the world. For a long time Heather was considered one of the most influential women in online media.

The thing that really stood out to me about Heather’s blog was how openly she wrote about depression and the difficult sides of parenting. These articles were read by millions of people around the world and, as you can see on this post, the comment threads fill up with people sharing stories and opening up about their own struggles.

Heather really inspired a whole generation of bloggers who started writing and sharing their stories. While I know not all of them went on to Dooce’s level of fame and fortune, I have no doubts that this genre has helped a lot of people deal with day-to-day existence.

6. Tree Hugger – Sustainability with Sass

tree hugger

Tree Hugger is a well-established blog that is aiming to make sustainability and green-technology more mainstream. To me, this is a perfect blog as it combines approacability with a very strong brand and ethos. You know exactly what it’s about and it can be something that you bookmark and read regularly to discover new ways to be a contributing human being.

For example, this article on whether our own personal lifestyle choices help the environment in a meaningful way is a really good method for introducing people to more political thoughts about green technology changes. It’s a warning but also quite hopeful. With the current climate emergency, this type of blog is essential.

7. Students for a Free Tibet – Transformation through non-violence

free tibet

I sit here and write this article from a comfortable office. Many of the bloggers behind Students for a Free Tibet, however, are often quite literally risking their freedom in order to share information that tells the world about what is going on inside a Chinese occupied Tibet.

Social media has played an increasingly important role in modern times. During the Arab Spring, for example, we saw how risky it could be to be a blogger, but also how important it was to get truthful information out to the world when a dictatorship might be blocking news access. I can’t imagine how terrifying this must be, and I feel really quite inspired at this very brave use of the blogging format.

8. LGBTQ Nation – World’s most followed LGBTQ news source

LGBTQ news

The Internet has probably done a lot for making LGBTQ issues more mainstream. For example, it’s provided forums and private chat rooms where sexually confused teenagers can get support and seek advice.

Sites like LGBTQ Nation go a long way to ensuring that issues like sexism, homophobia, LGBTQ suicide and depression, etc. don’t go unnoticed. It also shines a light on news that specifically affects a large but often under-represented portion of our population. Here’s a recent example.

9. Medium – Share stories that matter

medium

I was pretty skeptical about Medium when it first came out. And while I still don’t think it’s the best choice for a blog host when you want to build a business or a long term career, the quality and power of this blogging platform is undeniable. They have truly created a place on the net where people come to write good stuff.

For example, there’s the article where the CEO of GoDaddy stopped by to talk about how A.I. will replace jobs, or this article with 12k shares about how quitting a corporate job ruined a life, or this wonderful story with advice from a 30-year-old to his younger self.

So many bloggers are now using Medium to share ideas or get feedback on topics they aren’t sure about. I regularly find myself clicking through to links containing the medium.com URL because I have come to associate much of the work their with quality research, progressive thinking, and helpful communities.

How does your blog affect the world around it?

If you are thinking about starting a blog soon, or already have one in operation, it’s important to think about the impact that you’ll have on those that read your stuff. I often think about this quote when it comes to the Internet:

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. – the Dalai Lama

I’m not saying that everyone needs to be perfect (I’m certainly not), and we can’t all have blogs that change the world, but in a global society where your writing can reach all countries, and kids have near unlimited access to everything, our blogs play a bigger role than ever.

So that just leaves us to wonder: what impact are we having?

SO, WHAT'S NEXT?

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40 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • chris

    What impact? To say a positive one is an understatement. I’m in a niche where when I help one person, that person’s new skill then helps anywhere from 100 people to thousands. As you know, I teach people how to run live audio systems. Then means when they are better at their job, their audience benefits. The band sounds better, the speaker sounds better, etc and that leads to the audience having a better experience.

    I don’t want this to sound like bragging as I want it to be an encouragement to others….I’ve sold my guides to people in over 60 countries. So, if YOU or YOU or YOU are new to blogging and wonder how much of a positive impact you can have in the world? There you go.


    1. Ramsay

      Good wrap up!


  • Alvin Lau

    As much as I love memes, I love blogging as well.

    I wish to grow my blog to be like yours someday and make a living out of it. The dream is to be free from horrible bosses and low wages.

    Do you accept guest blogs as well?

    Best regards,
    Alvin


    1. Muriel Welter

      An excellent blog! I blogged every day back in 2013. My husband had passed away and I was trying to deal with life as a widow. For me, blogging was a way of expressing what was in my heart and helped me find ways to move on with life. I left blogging and returned again now as I feel I have so much more to write about in the way of nutrition, tips for healthy living, mental health and so much more. It does require time to write a blog that gives good information. But if one blog will help another person then my mission will be accomplished.


      1. Ramsay

        Thank you so much, Muriel. I am certain that you blog would have helped someone.


    2. Ramsay

      Sorry, no guest posts at this point.


  • Mawere Francis

    Hi Ramsay,
    Thank you for sharing this amazing content, I have been in this career for more than two years now but since there i have seen the fastest development of Blogging career. People are now getting involved in blogs and websites. We are learning a lot things through blogs, we are making Money out of blogging, New ways of living are now discovered and elaborated well in blogs.

    Most of the Youths from my Country(Tanzania) are now starting to learn some skills from blogs, they are now transforming what is written in different blogs into real life(Physically) e.g Health Related issues, Business skills, e.t.c so you can now see how this thing real important in our Daily life.


    1. Ramsay

      That is really interesting to hear. I hope all that writing has a positive impact on the kids!


  • Mohamed Hassan

    You’re right Ramsay!
    As far I know writing is the king on the internet.
    Kindly let me know, How do you write your subject line this way ( I mean the font and design) ?


    1. Ramsay

      You can get a font from Google Fonts and then install it on your blog using CSS.


  • Scott Kindred

    First off, your choice of including the Tree Hugger site’s screenshot – more specifically the Stormtroopers… well, just brilliant πŸ™‚

    Second, I would like to offer a differing opinion about your blog: I feel it certainly *is* something special, as evidenced by the immensely positive impact it (and you) has had on me over the past 9-ish years and I’ve seen how it (and you) have helped scores of people! Bravo, Ramsay. And thank you.

    Third, the impact part is simple for me. In the beginning and still today, I do a lot of work with local and regional nonprofit orgs here in my neck of the woods. Without the blog and other page content, the SEO part of those NPOs being able to find my company would be super weak. The human part of how the blog helps is multi-faceted, but if producing helpful content is the #1 goal, we can be sure it will help some one, in some way.


    1. Ramsay

      It’s the other way around, Scott. You guys have all helped me.


  • Vishal Ostwal

    Finally, it feels like someone really pointed out what blogging is all about – a lot more than what it looks like.

    At the first sight, it looks like those cheap money making methods, social media stuff or like any of those trendy things which come, fade…and die.

    Through the years, I’ve come across some wonderful people who gave me a completely new perspectives, and to be truthful, actually transformed me.

    For instance, there’s Jon Morrow, who has a big blog – but what’s more inspiring is the fact is that he did that in a wheelchair. He’s changing the world, not by teaching how to earn money living, but by actually showing how to live.

    John Saddington, survived suicide. He inspires others and shares little events from his life. What impressed me first was the post in which suggested to earn the first $1, unlike the rest of the Internet that tells how to ‘quit you job and earn huge cash.’ I follow him because he’s honest.

    James Altucher. His posts often look dramatic. But they give others the courage to reveal their scars without any hesitation and to express more.

    Then there are cancer patients sharing their lives, people finding solace in sharing their stories, suicidal and depressed people trying to speak up, introverts who write because they can’t converse well – I feel like bringing up these parts that go unnoticed.

    There are some deeper causes and reasons which lie beneath the surface of the word called ‘blogging.’ Sometimes the world doesn’t notice them, but it changes lives of some.

    Blogging is a lot more than traffic and money. I wish people understand this. There’s something meaningful beyond what the Internet has taught us.

    Maybe that’s the ultimate goal – to create an IMPACT.

    We all have our heroes in this world, and some of them are blogging πŸ™‚

    You’re a hero, Ramsay.

    I’m saying this because often I feel like writing about some topics, but I don’t. Though, it feels like somehow you always get an idea about what we wish to see. I try to contribute though the comments further. You’re the most genuine person I’ve met on the Internet.

    God bless you!

    As for the question “what impact I’m having?” – I’m playing my part and trying to give selflessly. I’m learning, trying and changing. It gets better, slowly.

    There are times when I reflect and think “does anyone really give a damn about me or my blog?” But then I recall why I had started – for myself, and maybe a handful of other those who love my work. I still smile when I write, and the experience feels anew.


    1. Ramsay

      Thank you so much for this comment, brother. I really am in no way a hero (in fact, I genuinely don’t deserve that kind of praise), but I am happy that our friendship has been meaningful to you. It has been meaningful for me as well. I really appreciate all your interactions here and support over the years.


  • Donna Galanti

    What an amazing round up of blogs and articles! I may hide away and be reading them all day long too. Thanks for raising my awareness about some blogs that do indeed seem to be changing the world.


    1. Ramsay

      I’m really glad you enjoyed them! There are so many out there, it was really hard to choose.


      1. Donna Galanti

        p.s. I’ve actually gotten several books and resources from these posts you’ve recommended here – so thanks for that!


        1. Ramsay

          Any time!


  • Abbie

    Love these websites πŸ™‚ so much inspiration in one post!


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome!


  • Mike

    Haven’t you heard Ramsay, all bloggers are ‘Fake News’ according to the mainstream media companies! I think blogging is enormously powerful – it has been dismissed by the mainstream people who simply cannot understand why the people of the world are suddenly so independent minded, and it has bitten them on the behind. The power of exchanging views globally has changed the world already, if you want to be a part of this, build your own blog!


  • Mategyero

    I like how you make it look easy! Anyway, i think memes are for idiots. Kidding, just kidding. I think blogs are powerful and they are going to get stronger as most of the developing world gets access to the internet day by day.

    I personally enjoy reading about people who have created something different (unique is quite above the belt) and they are loving the journey. Blogtyrant is one of them. Lately I have been binge reading over at thesefootballtimes.co, those guys are having the time of their lives. I hope to see more of these.

    Cheers,
    Mategyero


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for sharing!


  • Olivia

    I’m a rookie blogger and your blog has helped me so much! You have amazing content!


    1. Ramsay

      Thank you so much. I’m glad it helped.


  • Moumita

    Wonderful listing. Yes there are many other blogs which contribute to reshaping our thinking .. one such example is LGBQT Nation as you have mentioned


    1. Ramsay

      πŸ™‚


  • Rinkesh

    I am a regular reader of Treehugger and few other related blogs. This is one of the blogs that has inspired me so much that I have started my own blog in the same niche. Hope to see many more posts like this on BlogTyrant.


    1. Ramsay

      Thank you!


  • Susan Velez

    Hi Ramsay,

    Love the Tree Huggers image..I’m not a Star Wars fan, but I still got a kick out of it. To tell you the truth, I have never really thought about how my blog is changing the world.

    After all it’s only 5 months old. However, I this morning I just received an email from one of my email subscribers thanking me for the content on my blog.

    It has definitely changed the way that I think about the content on my blog. Now I read this post of yours to pay attention to how a blog content affects people.

    Definitely, makes me reconsider the topic of the content that I post on my blog before I hit publish. Thanks for sharing this, it was definitely a great read. I also found some blogs from your blog post that I may continue reading.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Susan


    1. Ramsay

      Congrats! That must be a great feeling!


  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Ramsay,

    I see blogging as a way to spread love and have fun.

    Like Mr. Lama πŸ˜‰ says, help people. Spread love. Serve. Be generous. Blogging is another way to do these things and to enjoy the ride while lightening up the Universe a wee bit more.

    5 minutes ago I published a post about 5 of the baddest, most kick butt dogs I have cared for in the tropics. Some of my readers live vicariously through me – and some island hop too – so I know both parties can get inspired by my tales of canine awesome-ness. Maybe they are struggling with something in their life or going through stuff; 5 minutes on BFO can give them a fun, humorous playful diversion. This is why I blog; to have fun and spread love.

    Super list up top. Noted for future reading.

    Thanks for sharing Ramsay πŸ™‚

    Signing off from Thailand.

    Ryan


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks man. Been seeing your stuff all over the place. Keep it up!


  • tejas

    hey ramsay! every time i read your blog it add some value to my knowledge. i m a frequent reader of your blog. this just a great article about memes and bloggers.
    thanks


  • Abdullah prem

    You gave me the true definition of what blogging is all about and my point of view blogging is all about expressing your emotions, worries, excitement in your own words. Also i am happy that your even donating your income to charities god bless you πŸ™‚
    Thanks for one who kidded you to bring out this inspirational post from you.
    Thanks Ramsay πŸ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      I am thankful to him as well. I hope it does some good.


  • Jarod

    I didn’t even know I was reading blogs all this time until recently. All because I didn’t know the definition of what a blog was! Blogs for life!


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a good point, actually. A blog can be so many different things these days.


  • Siddhart Krishna

    Thanks sir… I am following your blog for long time. it helps me a lot. thank you sir for helping us..


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