Last night I posted a blog in which I reflected on my shock at how in less than 24 hours words like voluntary and compulsory redundancy, consultation procedures and union representation had become part of my working vocabulary. I felt that blogging might help make some sense of the craziness of a situation where colleagues are facing the potential prospect of competing with each other – regardless of contractual status (fixed or permanent) or source of funding (core or external) for a lesser number of posts. I asked questions about how the end of the TQEF and the lack of ring fencing of the TESS might impact on the provision of teaching and learning development and I reflected on the reality of a finance driven strategy.
Today I was advised by a colleague that being critical of the university’s senior management in a public forum and using a system supported by the university within the lincoln.ac.uk domain could easily be interpreted as a disciplinary offence. Not wanting to make my current situation any worse, and not having any real intention other than trying to make sense of it all, I took down the blog.
Since then I’ve tried to rewrite it but the moment has passed. It stood as it was or not at all. However, it has taken me back to the recurring theme in these posts – what is blogging all about? What do we risk by posting part of ourselves online? I was using this forum to work through my own thoughts and reactions. Clearly blogging needs to be more measured than this. I was using a ‘work’ area for ‘work’ reflections but obviously stepped beyond the boundaries of what is considered to be appropriate content. Like anything else, blogging clearly has rules and risks of its own and we all need to be aware of them.
Thanks to those who have made contact re the previous blog http://learninglab.lincoln.ac.uk/blogs/sue/2009/04/16/blogging-whats-it-all-about-again/
Still I ponder on the process of blogging and the divide between the avid and the reluctant blogger. I wonder if there are clues. Are bloggers natural reflectors? Do they see blogging as a pleasure or a chore? Does it appeal more to the technical extrovert or the digitally competent introvert? Do bloggers blog strategically? I’m still curious about how people manage their blogging lives? Do they catch up on their blogroll rss feeds over lunch? Is it considered a work or an après-work activity? Or is blogging simply another indicator of a digital divide; one that isn’t about access to computers but the way in which they are used. Are bloggers also Twitters and Yammers with a Facebook profile?
Am I typical or not? The written word appeals to me; texting, email, even assignments and papers; I complain about deadlines but favour the written over the verbal every time. Words suit me; either once removed so I can cut, paste, smooth and polish – or as in stream of consciousness verbiage on demand. Words always have been my preferred method of communication.
I’m also a fan of the Internet; the idea of a network of like minded souls looking for digital connections has always appealed. Me and my laptop are best friends. I miss it when I’m not connected. If this is an addiction then it could be worse – as they say ‘if it harms none do as you will….’
It’s not that I have nothing to say – its almost the opposite – there’s too much – the top layer of my consciousness at this moment includes three paper deadlines (so why am I blogging?!) the practice based research unit on my OU course, if I can use optical illusions to demonstrate critical thinking, identifying other LD tools for prospective students and who or what has eaten the asparagus tops on my allotment. The only reason I’m sat here with my laptop on a Saturday morning is recurring iritis and several looming deadlines; shortly I’m going to plant a jostaberry and cover the asparagus bed with netting!
So it’s not lack of computer confidence or content. I’m an early adopter rather than later or laggard but I’m not consistent; I still find it difficult to get into a blog routine and I’m curious about how others manage. Back to the Cadbury crème again – how do you do yours?
Who do we blog for? Is it for ourselves or for other people? I find myself re-reflecting on this after reading an entry on a (recommended) author’s work blog which was of a highly personal nature and seemed out of context. That might say more about me and my own thoughts on the work/life balance; never the twain shall meet etc. but it did set me pondering once again on the nature and purposes of the blogging revolution.
What is blogging all about? Ultimately we must blog for an audience – if we were blogging purely for reflection then we wouldn’t be uploading our musings into a public place and inviting comments – would we? Is the idea that the blog is a mirror for our personal thoughts a false one? Should an effective blog be a crafted one; written with intent? Should blog entries be bite-sized reflections of distilled essence; not stream-of-consciousness ramblings? No-one has the time to search for needles in haystacks – they need to be pricked – so is an effective blog one that is designed to attract attention?
Blogs function on different levels; their value measured by the number of comments, who is on the blogroll, and how many mentions the writer can get in for their latest conference, journal article or book chapter. We all do it (see http://learninglab.lincoln.ac.uk/blogs/sue/2009/03/13/technology-enhance-learned-a-new-digital-divide/ for example!) and this reinforces their ‘public’ nature; we all like to assume that a blog has a wider audience than one consisting of our immediate work colleagues or even no-one at all. Does ‘0 comments’ indicate 0 readers?
So I found myself thinking (sad or what!) about how many types of blogs can be identified (or even ‘How do you do yours’? as in the old ‘How do you eat your Cadbury’s Crème Egg’ adage). So far I’ve got:
- Business Card Blogging (find out more about me…)
- CV Blogging (this is where I’ve been and what I did there…)
- Social Network Blogging (how many names can I drop in… )
- Competitive Blogging (I must increase my ratings…)
- Boring Blogging (once visited never returned…)
Does anyone have any more suggestions?
The harsh truth is that the majority of bloggers write for an audience of one – themselves – so maybe it doesn’t matter what we post after all – or is there anyone out there who disagrees………….
My web 2.0 activity (as in self publishing) seems to have diminished; one week I’m blogging, twittering and yammering with anyone who is likewise bitten by the bug and the next week, apart from some occasional facebook activity, it’s all stopped. I’ve waited to get re-bitten but it hasnt happened.
Being a reflective sort of person I’ve been wondering what’s changed and my conclusion is…… nothing.
And therein lies the answer. I haven’t blogged, twittered or yammered and it hasn’t made any difference.
I’m still over-working, under-studying, spending my weekends walking, seeing family and friends; my life is just as busy, just as much fun – nothing has changed. I haven’t lost or gained. Whether I divulge innanities online or keep the daily minutae to myself, I’m still living exactly the same life. It doesn’t seem to have made any difference at all.