sue watling

My last post title is an apt description regarding this blog though most of September – seen but not heard (but has anyone noticed? That remains the pertinent question). The season of mellow mists and Mabon is also time for reflection; I’ve enjoyed the challenge of blogging and the occasions when there have been responses. But overall I doubt its future.

If we blog for a reason other than pure self expression then it’s like any online discussion or new ‘web 2.0’ type tool; only adopted if it is a requirement or can be shown to do something better than it is done now.
I blogged because I could; because I work with a talented colleague who set up the facility and ensured technical support was readily available. I blogged because, as a subscription payer for my own domain name and host, I appreciate the value of free self publishing on the internet. The concept of a digital divide rising out of differing means and ability for virtual communication is a core area of interest as is the construction of online identity. So blogging for me was a gift. An opportunity to find my voice and write succinctly not just on my work, but also those areas on my life where the barriers between work and non-work get blurred, (although non-work life remains mostly invisible on these pages)

Keeping up with other people’s blogs is a separate issue. As if maintaining your own wasn’t time intensive enough then to follow fellow bloggers on a regular basis is well nigh impossible. I collect my rss feeds into Netvibes and set it as my home page but the numbers of unread posts continue to rise inexorably.

Throughout the year the question of why we write blogs has been of regular interest to me. Perhaps that’s the wrong question. Maybe it should be why do we read them? Voyeurism? Curiosity? Self promotion? Ambition? CPD? I haven’t thought about it this way round before. Or maybe we need to look at the reasons people have for not writing them; our office colleagues for example. Think about it laterally. There could be some interesting answers and new light to be shed on the mystique of the blogging phenonema.



1 Comment so far

  1. Profile photo of Joss Winn   Joss Winn on September 24, 2009 4:20 pm      

    Well, I hope you don’t stop blogging. I’ve seen a development in your thinking and writing that I would otherwise not have seen. I wouldn’t worry too much about who’s reading it. It seems to be a useful place for you to develop and express your thoughts and people *are* reading it.

    I would encourage you to find your community online (other blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.) and gently show them that you are writing about issues which they care about. I have taken that approach and my blog has 12x the number of visitors it did last year. The themes you write about are fairly consistent, so you are gradually building up a consistent body of work that people will find serendipitously, while using search engines. I would embed your repository papers in your blog too. It will increase your chances of both your blog and papers being discovered by others. I saw that you have a number of papers in the IR, but who would know it from reading your blog? I would also encourage you to link more often to other people writing about issues of interest to you. It will inform others about your blog and increase readership and help you rank higher in search engine results.

    I firmly believe that if you want to make an impact in your community of practice – particularly in the work you do – this blog is the most versatile tool you have to support that ambition. Different skills have to be learned to develop engagement with your peers here, but it can support and promote your academic writing and be place where you learn about yourself and from others, too.

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