Bill Gaskins (author of Creating a Path for Learning in the 21st Century) asked me to talk to his Digital Writing class about my Personal Learning Network and Blogging. I jotted some notes down in case I ran out of things to say (You can stop laughing now!)
I first got on Twitter in January 2008 and found Bill on there. I was so excited to find someone from SC. I started accumulating educator friends and then adding their educator friends. From Twitter I started finding educational blogs to read and adding them to my Google Reader. Right now I subscribe to 317 blogs.
Reading other people’s blogs made me itch to try my own hand at it. At first I thought “I know nothing about blogging! What am I thinking?” I started this blog 3 years ago in 2007 when I retired. I told myself that I would give it a try because I had nothing to lose. I decided to use blogger which is free and I already had a laptop with an internet connection so why not? As of today, I’ve had over 212, 000 page views! I’m still truly amazed that anyone would want to read something I write!
When I retired, I decided that I had all these wonderful experiences and knowledge about teaching that I wanted to share with others. Of course, my hubby says I would talk to the wall about teaching if no one else listened! I thought that others could learn from things that I learned the hard way. Maybe I could help others in ways that I wish someone had helped me. So, I started my blog. I did a lot of reading other blogs to decide how I wanted to develop my blog. I noticed the ones that I liked and why so that I could mimic the same style. I also noticed the ones I didn’t like so that I didn’t write the same way. I’m not saying those are wrong, but they just aren’t the ones that I like to read but others might like them.
I have learned so much through blogging. I learned more about myself and what I believe in. This made me climb off the fence and state my opinion. Sometimes I’ve had to defend it which is good too. I also learned by reading others and writing how it affected me.
One of the people in class asked me what I was afraid of. I was afraid that I would say something wrong or have people disagree with me. One way that really helps me that instead of telling people what they should do, I tell people what I do in my own classroom and what works for me. They might disagree with me but I can say that I know it works for me in my own situation and it might not work for them. This actually made me feel more comfortable with my writing.
If I had to give them suggestions, here are some suggestions I would give:
Know why you are blogging. What is your purpose? This may help you narrow down your writing.
Know your audience. Who are you writing for? How will you get your message to them?
Make it interesting. If you are bored writing it, more than likely, someone will be bored reading it.
Quote other blogs and write about them. Share your feelings. This opens up conversations about different topics and through the conversations, we all can learn from each other. (I also feel so honored and thrilled when someone refers to me in their blog so I bet others feel the same way.)
Let others know that you posted a new post. Self promotion is good! At first I felt uncomfortable doing this but then I realized how much I wanted to know when others posted. I needed to do the same. Now I post on Plurk, Twitter, and Facebook when I have a new post.
Have I left anything out? What other advice would you give to new bloggers? Please share.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'Oh no, here come the Bloggers'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035767928@N01/68953352 by: Brett L.