Blogging in Professional Networks

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Blogging in Professional Networks

Nov 8-26, 2010  | SCoPE discussion


This seminar will cover blogging strategies for participating effectively within professional networks. Topics will include strategies for gathering information from various online sources, organizing these sources within blog posts, and connecting with experts and peers by engaging in way-making activities to explore, find and connect with others.


Facilitators : Glenn Groulx

Moderator: Sylvia Currie

Forum Participants


Question Summary


Week One Activities

Introductions; Overview of Methods for Collecting and Filtering Sources

Introductory Questions

When did you begin blogging? What were your reasons?

Has your blogging changed over this time? How? (topics, focus, frequency, etc.)

How has blogging helped you with learning?

What are the main reasons you have persisted in blogging?

How do you think your blogging activity will change in future?

Reflection/Discussion Activity:

I have categorized bloggers into various types. I have also included a podcast discussing the different types of edublogggers. What type of blogger do you think you are? What types of bloggers are many of your students? Do you think one's blogging type impacts how one provides instruction and feedback about blogging?

Podcast: Transformative Learning Cycle - Rough Version 1 (right-click on link to open new tab, then download to listen.)

Here is the original blog post about with text notes: thumbnail.php?file_guid=7713&size=large

Blogging Activity:

You can try a berry-picking post either within your twitter account as a tweet (micro-blogging) or within your blog (for the lengthier example), and add a comment to this post with a link to your blog post or tweet.

Over the next few days, I would like to invite participants to review the suggestions for different types of blogging activities.



Blog Posts

"Significant Learning"


"Demonstrating Berry-Picking"


Social Networking, Micro-Blogging and Activity Streams


I have aggregated the individual blogs of participants onto one at

If you have other blog URLs you want added, just let me know in this forum, and I can add them as flakes to the aggregation. I have also added bookmarks and a blog search flake.

Wire Feature Within ELGG

Within ELGG, I use the wire feature frequently to announce shifts in my blogging activty, and announce new content published with the Academic Blogging Circle, a group I maintain to focus on academic blogging issues and strategies. It is a lot like Twitter, but I need to distinguish between the two, as they serve different needs, and are intended for the most part for different audiences.

I have made this differentiation largely because of my own personal preferences of what I find useful/distracting as content within ELGG. Everyone's preferences differ, and so here are my views:

use the ELGG Wire for 'Internal Community' business

If I find a cool link related to my topic, I add it to my bookmarks; if I know it is of use to a few of my colleagues, I post it to the group as a bookmark. If it is a link of possible interest to a larger audience, I blog it, and set it to a public access setting. The Wire posts relate to shifts in direction, such as a new photo portfolio, or a new series of blog posts, or a new set of files uploaded,or a new poll, all intended to promote the academic blogging group. I sometimes use the Wire to re-promote older content, or promote a link to a research presentation of potential interest to the ELGG community.


I don't use the Twitter in the same way as the Wire. I don't, for example, post interesting links I may find in passing to the Wire; instead, I post it to Twitter only if I do not have the time to analyze the content and I am on the go. Twitter, to me, is a mobile (micro-blogging) app, useful for capturing resources quickly (I cannot help but think of skimming) .

I also send out a general announcement to larger audiences of some of my new blog posts using Twitter, and feed-forward the link to other learning communities external to AU landing. This is done sparingly, as every single Tweet is archived, and viewable by anyone searching using your twitter name (in my case, @ggroulx).

I cannot help thinking about the use of twitter as the more advanced app that builds upon the strengths of both USENET newsgroups and IRC. For this reason, I consider it an extension of the networking capacity that spreads out my social web. On the other hand, I consider the blogs as the information hubs, the repositories, so to speak, to which other content is connected.

In effect, for me, the Wire is a tool within ELGG to announce events relating to the group, or to announce the publishing of significant new content such as my own published papers, presentations, interviews, links to my academic portfolio and the recording of the academic portfolio defence.

Twitter, for me, is intended as both an announcement tool, like the Wire, as well as a mobile blog, to drop content while on the go. I have been watching the ways in which others have been using twitter, and this, for me, seems a reasonable way to add value for those who follow the tweets you create. Like the use of the Wire, the Twitter tweets can potentially benefit others, and so the announcements need to reflect that.

Jigging is an increasingly crucial blogging skill which involves tapping into data streams and extracting useful data bits, and adding relevant meta-commentary. This type of post differs slightly from berry-picking as it focuses more on extraction of cues, or data-bits for further exploration.

Suggestions for Composing Jigging Posts:

A post involving jigging would begin with a preamble, perhaps describing personal context, motivation, etc. There might be a few different posts, with short notes about each, such as key words, quotes, significant learning, definitions, inferences,impressions, etc.

1. Twitter

Here is an informative, deep analysis from Tom Barret about Twitter and its usefulness as a networking tool.

Data Bits:

  • Twitter described as a "...platform that can fluidly handle both synchronous and asynchronous messaging".
  • importance of retweets to aid others to keep up with torrent

Twitter - A Teaching and Learning Tool

My favourite metaphor for how we use Twitter is the idea that it is a river that is constantly flowing. And that when we open up the Twitter site in our browser or start up Twhirl we are at the banks looking on. Some of us stay on the banks, roll out our picnic rug or unfold that favourite chair and settle in to watch the information stream pass by. Others quietly observe from the banks for a short time but have their trunks on underneath their clothes, and were always going to jump in and contribute.

Significance for my own learning:

The author mentions it is sometimes important to post re-tweets to ensure followers capture the tweet - interesting parallel to jigging metaphor, the re-casting again and again into the data streams. Could the jigging process be expanded to include both the act of passive collection of data, as well as active search activity in the form of requests from others on Twitter, for example?

2. Activity Streams:

I regularly tap into my Google Reader blog feeds to follow blog posts from various edubloggers, and enjoyed the post about George Siemens about activity streams.

Data bits I collected from this post:

information streams, Danah Boyd, EDUCAUSE article, Jon Dron, context-switching, George Siemens, information splicing

Intrerpretations I inferred from this post:

  • avoid centralizing your network centre in twitter using hashtags
  • avoid developing metanode-activity streams are temporary

Significance for my own learning:

The following two terms are highly relevant to my own ongoing analysis of micro-blogging processes; in this case, jigging.

Defined Terms:

context-switching – i.e. the ability to shape and adjust the information stream based on context and interest at the time.

information splicing – selecting the type of information and social interaction streams that are needed to address a particular topic or area of interest at a particular time.