This is a concluding post for the blogging seminar within the SCoPE forum. However, I would like to extend an open invitation for theparticipants to visit my posts and drop me a line or comment, or even send me a trackback (link to a post of mine) from your own blogs.
I want to thank everyone for your participation. I have learned a lot about facilitating an open seminar of this kind. I have also got some tentative thoughts on the process, and wish to share them here.
One thing that seemed odd was the fact that we were doing a blogging seminar from within Moodle using the forum tool. I found the forum tool a bit confining (personal bias) and moved many of the posts over to the academic blog, and then added some links here.
I could not really talk about blogging without being confined to the features of the forum tool - there are some significant issues with forums (creating only one link using the web editor, for instance, and then having to manually add links using HTML tagging within the html editor.)
Another thing that I found interesting was the mixed set of expectations.
The forum tool seemed to encourage our extroverted nature to add ideas, add comments, and I think everything went extremely well for the first week. Then the momentum fell away. The third week was pretty inactive, as I was quite busy with other things thanks to my teaching schedule. I think that running a seminar at this time is a bit challenging. Maybe it is a matter of motivation to keep producing, when all you want to do is slow down and catch your breath. Getting ready for the holiday season, wrapping up some things for the semester of teaching, and preparing for the next semester, all seem to conflict with having the extra time to produce blog posts.
On the other hand, it was definitely the consensus that blogging, particularly slow-blogging (Barbara Ganley) is more suited for our introverted nature. All of us are attracted to both forums and blogs to varying degrees. I find that using my blog as a personal archive suits my more introverted nature. I can certainly do the blogging for networking, but it is more for extroverted characters, keen to tap the energies and make synergies involving others. Micro-blogging seems to be a more appropriate fit for the more extroverted bloggers.
I think it is important we approach blogging with a view to the long-term, with the intention to embrace different type os bloggign spaces, and take on differnt roles to see how well they fit.
I realized that forums can play a lot of important roles. I spent some time participating in a number of group forums and participated at length in some discussion threads. The emotional sense is different with forums than with blogs. You open the forum hoping for a comment - you read other comments and fire off your own comments with enthusiasm and anticipation. That is the lure of the forums - they are highly social. But the draw is their immediacy, their currency.
Not so much with blogs. You don't open up your own blog eagerly anticipating that someone will have replied back to one of your posts. You don't seek out others' blogs to necessarily respond to their posts. Most of the posts are about your own personal take on things, or a response to something you have read somewhere else. That other blogger will not necessarily know you have weaved their ideas or quotes into your own post, unless you send off a trackback, or add a tag that can be traced back. In effect, most interaction is done at a distance, often anonomously, and often weeks, months, or even years after the original ideas were posted.
Over time, bloggers recognize that their ideas start to get read, their ideas get replied to, or begin to get re-tweeted on twitter, and more and more people are viewing the posts. This is what I refer to as blogging "in the open", which is sort of ironic, since you are aware of only a very small fraction of your audience, those who make the effort to contact you directly.
I especially appreciated the comments made by several participants who clearly do not want to commit to blogging in the open about their professional concerns. Jo Ann Hammond referred to blogging in the open using the metaphor as birthing, growing and nurturing and safeguarding the child before giving birth to it, and opening it up the blog to the public.
I find the twitterverse quite busy, quite overwhelming. I send out tweets to notify groups about new blog posts, but seldom dip in and visit regularly. George Siemens (I am sorry I don't recall the source) indicated at one point that he learned much more about his colleagues thanks to Twitter than through the blogs.
This revelation made me stop and think. Why do we craft our identities so much, so precisely, when crafting posts for our blogs? Whay do we reveal a tiny slice of our passions using blogs, but are willing to reveal so much more through Twitter or chat or facebook?
I have noticed experienced bloggers branch off over several different blogs, and others stick to one blog and place only specific types of posts into it. Many bloggers blogging for more than a couple of years and who have blogged about 200 posts or more seem to grapple with the question of whether to keep everyithing in one blog or branch off and build multiple blogs.
I remember a big transition for me was to move the blog posts from the safe space of the school blog to the open range. I needed to choose to migrate certain posts that matched the range of topics, and I needed to re-tag them, re-categorize them, review and revise them. The experience of reviewing previous posts with a goal to present to a public shifts one's perspective.
How we present ourselves to multiple audiences requires us to define our limits of self-presentation, our virtual personae. This requires a reflective blog, just to consider this. I think that this self-reflective blog, this meta-blog, is part of the personal blog. It the executive blog that oversees the other blogs we have been posting as owners, or as contributors.
Perhaps a topic for the Scope seminar is the use of personal blogs to organize, monitor and coordinate self-development across everal blogs.
Thank you again everyone for joining me in this seminar on blogging.
As is always the case with SCoPE seminars, we're leaving this topic with some lingering questions. (Imagine if we ever ended a seminar saying "All done! Nothing left to talk about! )
The question that emerged during out discussion about forums versus blogs for communication is fascinating. Appealing to our introverted and extroverted nature, as Glenn puts it, is one lens for sure, but there are many others to examine. For example the facilitator role in blogging networks still has me stumped! The idea of a blogging circle here in SCoPE to try this out first hand is still standing out as something we must keep on the to-do list!
Thanks everyone for your contributions to this seminar!
Our December seminar is Motivation and Adult Learning Online, facilitated by Firat Sarsar from Georgia State University. Hope to see you there!
SCoPE Community Steward