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To blog or not to blog

A few weeks ago I was asked to present a seminar at work on the topic of blogging.

I was surprised as to how many people turned up. For many of them blogs and blogging were an unknown.

This excited me because I had the opportunity to share something I was passionate about. I hoped I would enthuse some of them to become bloggers. At the very least I hoped people would go away keen to find out more about blogs and become blog readers.

I had prepared the seminar to focus on the use of blogs in learning but we never got to discuss this topic as most of our time together was spent coming to grips with the basics of what blogs were all about and how they worked.

I have watched with interest what has happened since then. I find it fascinating how we all learn in such different ways.

Some people went away and were desperate to start their own blog. They were really excited.

Others were interested but didn’t take it any further. The age old question of how much time would this take was a high priority for a number of people.

Some have come back to me to ask further questions. Their interest has been sparked but they haven’t yet decided whether or not they will dip their toes into the water and give it a go.

According to Jay Cross there are two types of people in this world: bloggers and non-bloggers.

Some people are born bloggers. They are driven to share their discoveries, record their thoughts, help other people, and/or show their art. They enjoy writing. Frequently. Honestly.

Other people will never be bloggers. They are reluctant to put thought fragments and half-baked theories out there for all to see. Their face-to-face conversation is more rewarding than their writing. They don’t feel they have that much to share. Whatever. They simply aren’t drawn to investing their time in posting items to their blogs frequently.

I however believe the non-bloggers category can de divided into two further groups: blog readers, and those people who have absolutely no interest in blogging or anything else electronic.

You’d think educators would lap up the opportunity to become bloggers because they are presented with the ideal medium to reflect on their practice, to share their reflections, and to learn from other like-minded professionals. Through this process the reflection becomes active especially if they receive feedback.

Christopher Sessums posted an edublogging questionnaire on his blog; 10 edubloggers responded. He has used these responses as the starting point of further research and discussion.

For many educators, blogging serves as both a connective space and a reflective space. Blogs can serve as a place where an educator can reflect on the work they are doing and as a place to discuss how to improve what he or she does in the classroom. As a connective space, blogs can allow educators an increased ability to communicate with their students and their peers. Blogs open channels for many voices to be heard; they plant the seeds of possibilities.

… blogging relates specifically to putting ideas into practice. In other words, blogging is often guided by practical experience and observation rather than theory … Blogging is a complex activity where individuals create culture and society, and can become critically conscious human beings.

I found the next comment particularly pertinent:

blogging is not for the impatient educator. It requires patience and thoughtfulness wherein time and effort is needed to make lessons and assignments develop appropriately.

One of my messages during the seminar was that creating a blog was the easy part. The difficult part was maintaining it. Regular updates were critical. This applies, no matter what the purpose of your blog is.

In the blogosphere at the moment there are many, many blogs that are lying dormant. In essence they are dead. They are forgotten. No one is feeding them and therefore no one is reading them. They no longer have a purpose.

I agree with Jay’s advice:

If you’re not a born blogger, don’t try to fake it … If you’re going to blog, blog. If you’re not, find another means of expression …Don’t leave an orphan blog out there to suffer. Take it off the grid.

Just Do ItBeing a blogger does expose you to the unknown, just like any other form of communication; online or elsewhere.

You are taking a risk.

I believe everything we do in life these days has an element of risk associated with it, especially online. Nothing is certain. Nothing is fully transparent. The rewards however outstrip the negatives.

As an educator I believe I must model to others what I am talking about. How can I use blogs in my practice when I don’t know much about them and I haven’t even made the attempt to find out?

I was also particularly interested in how blogs could be used not onlye with my learners but also with other staff for professional development purposes.

I followed Nike’s advice of Just Do It and I became a blogger.

Sometimes I do wonder if I am being too honest in my writing. Am I revealing too much information? Will this come back to bite me?

I have decided that at this point in time I have made the decision this matters and this is what I want to be doing. The reality is that I do not communicate any differently when I am with someone in person. I believe in open and honest communication because I believe this is how we can learn from each other whether formally or informally.

You are getting as dose of the real me in this space.

I cannot believe the tremendous amount I have learnt since I began to write my blog and how much my writing has improved. The time commitment is worth it and I have no intention of giving up. I may not write every day but my blog and my blog postings are never far from my mind.

This is the best professional and personal learning I have ever undertaken.

Long may it continue!

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2 Responses to “To blog or not to blog”

  1. on 11 Jun 2006 at 5:20 pm Denice Midgley

    OK, OK I confess – I am guilty as charged Marica. I almost made my blog an orphan! If my blog were a virtual pet it would be dead by now. Like the virtual pet, however, my blog can and has been resurrected. Thanks for your encouragement. Love the sneeze blog and the searching for answers entry.

  2. on 12 Jun 2006 at 4:48 pm waxlyrical » Existential Crisis

    […] Marica posted some interesting thoughts on Saturday, To blog or not to blog. […]

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