My poor neglected blog.
There was a time when I posted twice a week, 100 times a year. If I had something to say, I said it here. People were reading the blog, and commenting, and this was how the educational technology community kept in touch. I was out in the blogosphere much more than I am now, reading and reacting to the things others were saying and doing.
Now, the sound of crickets is deafening. If I manage to post something new once a month, I consider that a victory. There’s still some traffic, and people are still subscribed, but things have definitely changed.
Blame it on Twitter. Why spend 300 words on something that can be said in 140 characters? Blame it on webcasting. Many of the things I would have been posting about here ended up being topics for EdTechWeekly. Once we talked about them there, it was pointless for me to write about them here, too. Blame it on Skype and Facebook and Flickr and Youtube and just being too busy to collect my thoughts and get them down into a somewhat coherent form.
And yet, when the fresh new guidance intern comes in to talk about having an online presence, I steer her toward blogging. When a teacher says “I want a web site,” I reach for WordPress. When people ask me for one thing they can do to improve their own professional practice, I recommend blogging. Okay. So no one as asked me that. Yet. But that’s what I’d say.
My learning network is personal. I’m the only one in my school with my job. There’s another person with the same job in the next town over, but he and I disagree on a lot of things. There’s another person in a nearby school district who does the same things I do, but he’s in a small all-Mac district, and we’re a large no-Mac district. While these people are part of my network, there’s only so much that we have in common. We’re limited in how much we can help one another. So, yes, I go to the regional meetings for technology coordinators. I bounce ideas off the group. I let them know what I’m thinking about. I ask for help with some of the challenges I face. I also offer suggestions and advice for others who are struggling with problems similar to those I’ve faced in the past. But that only goes so far.
For me, it’s been enormously helpful to be connected with a group of educators from all over the world. I follow some of them on Twitter. I read a few of their blogs. I talk to some of them on EdTechTalk and through Skype. I’m friends with a couple of them on Facebook. When we started talking about using Google Apps in our schools last year, the teachers and administrators in my school district wanted to know which other schools in the area were moving to Google Apps. There weren’t any. But I’d talked with teachers and administrators and school tech people in North Carolina, and California, and Quebec, and Maine. There are other schools that are being successful with these tools. If I only relied on the people in my backyard, I would be very limited in my perspective.
My network is always changing. I’m adding new voices, and paying less attention to some of the older ones. As I continue on my own professional journey, I’m adjusting my network to best fit my needs. Hopefully, others are doing the same. If I’m not saying things that complement their professional growth, I hope they’ll stop wasting their time listening to me, and choose instead to find others that do meet their needs.
But the blog is home. The blog is where all of this started. I posted some things, and people started reading. They commented, I commented. I started paying attention to a few people, and they led me to more people. Then those people turned me on to others with different perspectives and better insights. And so it grew. Now that the network is established, the blog is an easy way of giving people a sense for who I am. I have business cards that only have my name and blog address. What more do you need to know? If you’re on my blog, you’re in my network. Welcome to the club. The twitter feed is in the sidebar. You can see what I’m saying there, and who I’m saying it to. The delicious feed is also there, so you can see what I’m bookmarking, and what I have to say about these links and resources. And my EdTechTalk and Education Beyond Borders communities are there, too. Those are two life-changing experiences that I wouldn’t have had without the blog.
So I may not be posting every week anymore. But I still have some things to say, and this blog isn’t going anywhere.
Photo credit: Rebecca Bollwitt (miss604) on Flickr.