I am participating in the teacher professional PD on blogging and am enjoying it very much. The second challenge is to write about effective blog-posts. I have heard it said that reflective blogging and reading blogs are the best ways of learning anything - whether learning and teaching, gardening, photography or writing to name some of my areas of interest. I think that blogging is just another name for learning.
So I don't even need to ask: Why blog?
But in case you're not convinced - maybe you're a reader of blogs but wouldn't think that you could write one - here are some reflections garnered from some influential blog- posts on why blog.
One blog post nominated as most effective is from Shelly Blake-Plock. He says: "My blog represents me not as an edited professional voice, but as a human being struggling to express ideas, thoughts, reactions, dreams, and general b.s. via a means that uncompromisingly allows for the immediate feedback of strangers and fellow wanderers." This is the characteristic of transparency. He goes on: "Because real maturity is not about having the right answers, it's about having the audacity to have the wrong answers and re-address them in light of contemplation, self-argument, and experience." This is the characteristic of honesty.
Chris Lehmann has said: 'Blogging for me has to be about reflective practice. It's about putting ideas out there, exploring them, sharing them, and taking part in a larger community. Sometimes, yes, it's just about an announcement or two, but at its best, my blogging helps me think, brings others into my thought process and improves it because of their input and forces me to make sense of my thoughts -- which is why it's so damned hard sometimes." This is the characteristic of reflection
So now to my 5 steps of an effective blog post (or 5 steps to be an effective blogger)
I have to say that this is what, in theory, I aim to do. So often in practice I take the easy way out.
1. Find your voice
Whether it is cheeky, refreshing, serious, humorous or anything else it is uniquely yours and readers appreciate it. When I find it hardest to blog it is because I can't find the voice to write in. I have found the reading the blogs you enjoy is often a way to overcome this problem.
2. Write with honesty, transparency, compassion and reflection
As seen in the examples above, to write with these qualities is not easy. It takes time and it is a struggle. But it worth persisting.
3. Leave comments
Writers love to be read, and the best way to show you are reading what others have thought about and crafted is to leave comments.
4. Link to others
Link love, most important in a community. It is spreading the influence of those who write well.
5. Find out where your readers are from and read them, understand them and communicate
Who is your community? I remember putting in Sitemeter (free) and finding what percentage of my readers were from which different countries and what had referred them to my blog. I have discovered new blogs that had linked to me or the search terms on google that had led them there (very strange, some of them). You can find out what links in your post were clicked on or even what browser they were using. But mostly like blogging itself it is a way or tool of communicating.
So now what blogs am I enjoying at the moment:
A new discovery: Josie speaks up, a teacher musing about life
An oldie but a goodie: Lucacept – intercepting the Web A very inspiring blogger and educator
A infrequent poster but one I always learn from: The Fraudulent Teacher
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