In today's busy world, many of us are communicating more than ever before - using email, mobile phone, text message and social networks - but amidst all the noise, do you ever wonder how to get your voice heard?
For one single mum based in the Midlands, writing a blog has allowed her voice to be heard as far as the United Nations, and provided opportunities to travel the world and share her views on issues such as child poverty and the pressure on young women to conform to ideas of physical perfection.
Rosie Scribble, a parenting blog written by 30-something single mum Rosie, didn't start off with such grand ambitions. "I had no idea what blogging was, until my friend Jo started a blog back in 2007," confesses Rosie. "I've always enjoyed writing so I decided to give it a go. I used a really simple Typepad template, which means you don't need any design or IT knowledge to get started."
Rosie writes honestly about all aspects of her life, and that includes her experiences of eating disorders when she was younger, and her concerns as a parent about the effects of advertising on young children.
"I never intended to write about these issues on my blog, but as my daughter got older, I started to worry about them," Rosie explains. "As many parents have similar concerns, it seemed relevant to discuss these issues on my blog, to raise awareness and encourage debate."
Blogging has presented Rosie with opportunities to work with charities and raise awareness of important issues facing women and children in other countries. In 2010, Rosie travelled to Cameroon in Africa with UNICEF to find out more about the challenges faced by mums in other countries.
"I was so moved by the harsh reality of life in the remote African villages I visited, and the high infant mortality rates we heard about that I wanted to share those experiences on my blog," she says. "The trip had a lasting effect on me. Meeting families living in mud huts who had to hunt for food daily really put my life into perspective and changed me for the better."
Rosie has subsequently been invited to visit UNICEF facilities in other countries, providing a real insight into the work the charity is doing.
Last year, Rosie was invited to visit Israel by a non-profit apolitical organisation in that country, Kinetis. This trip was an opportunity to see a side of Israel rarely seen in the news, and Rosie left with some memories that will last a lifetime. "The memories that will stay with me, apart from Tel Aviv's beach and the fabulous food, are visiting a Kibbutz, taking a jeep ride through the desert and floating in the Dead Sea.
"Then there was a visit to Jerusalem, which acted as a reminder that Israel is a complicated country and one that is yet to find peace."
Rosie's blog has allowed her to take advantage of this kind of once-in-a-lifetime experience, as well as spending weekends reviewing facilities at resorts run by Centre Parcs, and a two-night stay at a luxury hotel in Manchester.
"My daughter's favourite opportunity, though, was reviewing a giant doll's house and a trampoline!" says Rosie.
Blogging can feel risky sometimes - after all, it means putting parts of your life online for all to see - but Rosie says the benefits far outweigh the downsides: "I love that blogging helps you connect with others, feel supported and develop genuine friendships. It has also led to a number of paid writing opportunities and the chance to earn a small income from advertisements on my site."
Today, Rosie is turning her passion for blogging into a career, working with small businesses to help them use blogging and social media as part of their marketing mix.
www.mango.com:This is my favourite shop when I want to treat myself!
www.selfridges.com: The shop where I wish I could treat myself. I lived within walking distance of Selfridges for a year and fell in love with it. I'd like to go there and buy something from every department.
www.icanhascheezburger.com: No matter what, this site never fails to make me laugh.
www.kinetis.org.il: My hosts in Israel, a wonderful group of people who promote the creative energy to be found in this country.
www.jobeaufoix.com: The blog written by my friend Jo, which inspired me to start blogging!
www.typepad.com: The blogging software I use, which is really simple and suitable for anyone.
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