I am not at my best at 8am and so unfortunately, I missed the early part of this week’s POT pre-course session discussing blogging but what I did hear was fascinating and got me thinking about my own practice.
At one time I would have said I was addicted to blogging – a blogaholic! I certainly love to read blogs and find that over time I feel as if I know some of the bloggers personally. Most of the blogs I follow for technical or professional information but nevertheless personalities shine through! The ones I enjoy most are those that have a distinctive perhaps even idiosyncratic voice – I may not always agree with them but they challenge me to think, reflect or explore – these are people whose company I know would enjoy! And it isn’t just the post themselves, its the comments I love – the wonderful conversations that flow from one person’s skilfully constructed post.
I would love to emulate that in my own blogging and I have certainly started enough blogs! But if I am honest I am mostly addicted to the idea of blogging – far too often I start a blog with great enthusiasm only to be defeated by the procrastination that springs from my own internal (and perhaps misguided) critic. On numerous occasions I have spent several hours writing, editing and polishing a post only to discard it on the pretext that it has nothing of value to say. In fact the more blogs I have read over the last few years the more intimidated I have become – they are just so good, so effortless, so insightful! Who am I to think I can begin to compete!! The critical voice doesn’t give up!
Yet when I look back over some of my early posts like this one from 2006 or this one on distributed communities from 2010, I realise that perhaps just occasionally I was able to get it right – for me at least. So when someone asked in the discussion – what is a blog for? – I thought immediately – oh wow! yes what is it for? Why do I want to blog? Is it for me? Is it for an imagined audience? Is it to impress, or to reflect or to journal or to explain or to keep me away from online games? What is it I want to say? My answer tends to be All of the above! Not helpful!
Creating and maintaining my class blogs is much less problematic. Although none of my classes are online, all my students are enrolled in IT courses. They are comfortable with technology and the ubiquitous presence of laptops in the classroom means that we are able to fully utilise any number of online tools. Consequently, it makes sense for me to drive the classes from a blog post complete with links to relevant resources. Constructing those posts is easy – in effect it is my lesson plan (and easily reused in subsequent semesters).
So where does that leave me ? I think I have to remember to focus on what is the most attractive thing to me about blogging – the conversation. I want to share ideas and learning with others, I want to talk to people! Ah yes – that is the key! Living and working in a small regional centre in New Zealand is wonderful but very isolating at times – I want to be part of a bigger community. I am not a lover of video cams or web conferences – I like to be able to think, write, reflect, edit, re-write……to consider my response before I speak it. For me it is the act of writing that provides the insight into what I am thinking – to quote E.M.Forster – “How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?”
Are you new to blogging? Are you intimidated by it? Perhaps we should just forget that this activity has an arbitrary label of ‘blogging’ – let’s just imagine we are talking instead! What do you say?