Not sure if it was me or the theme but my blog broke so I’m on the hunt for a new one. This raises the inevitable questions. Why blog in the first place? What are the benefits? Who reads it? Is there anyone there? Blogging is the TELEDA topic for 21st – 28th November. Blogging ties in with the TELEDA Reflective Journal and portfolio style assessment which asks for critical narratives of the TELEDA journey. This seems like a useful place and time for some bloggeration
Why blog in the first place?
Well, why not? In a digital society, an online presence says things about you. It suggests you’ve engaged with virtual worlds, have considered your identity in pixels, can demonstrate some literacies with text and images, use reflection to achieve deeper approaches to professional development. Above all, it indicates you’ve accepted the influence of the internet on higher education. Technology is here to stay and there is much work to do in order to better understand how to use it to enhance student learning. A blog is a good place for exploring and sharing your ideas, practice and research around these areas.
What are the benefits of blogging?
In squeezed times, where priorities are continually juggled, blogging offers a point in the week for pulling together the disparate strands of your working life. It’s an opportunity to focus on a single topic, try out a new idea, demonstrate progress – or find the value in lack of it which is itself a worthwhile exercise. Blogging encourages you to keep to deadlines, develop an appropriate style and learn to write with precision and conciseness. Blogging is a mirror of your professional practice, it’s an opportunity to take control of your image before someone else does. Blogging also has the potential for networking with like-minded people on an international scale; this sharing of ideas and practice can be both affirming and inspirational.
Who reads it anyway?
This is harder to answer. Any blogger has to be comfortable with the idea of blogging for an audience of one and the cat. Yet someone might come across your tiny space on the internet and you want to make a good impression, so the craft of blogging is important. Categories and tags help ensure your blog pops up on searches (always have this function enabled) and new readers are picked up from a blog address on your email signature, online profiles like Twitter and Linkedin or from business cards. You can use Google Analytics to trace traffic to your blog and discover which posts were most popular but overall, I think audience numbers are probably less important than the craft and practice of blogging itself – for all the reasons already cited – and there will be more.
Like all digital literacies, blogs are personal. They reflect who you are and what you do and everyone has different blog drivers. It’s like the lottery – you have to be in it to win it. You need to give blogging a try to discover benefits.