Tuesday, June 03, 2014

To Blog or Not to Blog?

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Many advise against blogging. Why tell your story? They ask. Putting yourself out there creates disruption and invites criticism. Or the idea that blogging is bragging--who gives you the right to tell your ideas and stories? 

I will admit blogging is a process, a process that has benefits and detriments. For example, it's not always easy to say what you mean with words on a page, hence at times your words will be misconstrued. Similarly, it's not always easy to share your thoughts--both positive and constructive as you have to decide which points are worth sharing, and which are better left quiet. Also, as you move forward, many of your ideas will change and grow, hence a blog needs regular weeding and pruning--sometimes I cringe when I notice someone is reading an old post, a post that no longer reflects my think and practice. Though, on the other hand, I like the way that looking back at old posts shows me how my practice and thought, as well as the tools and share, have changed and developed over time.

Yet blogging is a terrific way to share your story, and the transparency has the potential of inviting multiple voices when it comes to improving your craft and growing your work to serve children better. The act of publicly sharing your ideas, plans, successes, and room for growth helps to create a commitment to better work, share, and effort. Also engaging in blogging and social media gives you a front row seat to what it feels like, and the processes involved in this 21st century medium--a medium we are, in part, preparing our students for. Engaging in this medium sensitizes us to the challenges, efforts, and work our children do each day as they learn to write and share their voices too.

So, to blog or not to blog?  I've wrestled with this question in the past few days after experiencing a giant challenge in my professional career.  Do I really want to be this transparent, and why do I do this? 

For now, the positive aspects of blogging outweigh the negative aspects.  Positively, people who I serve know what I'm doing. They also know that I'm open to growing my program, and they have a good idea of the exact elements that make up the work I do each day.  Further, people in my PLN real time and online have a ready chance to contribute to my program, and many do.  I have gained countless terrific ideas from blogging out questions and plans. In addition, by blogging, I have the chance to become part of an online community committed to teaching well, and that community share has strengthened my work. I hope that telling my stories can help others too including new teachers or educators who are asking the same questions as me. My work has grown, my students are happier and more engaged, and I am more challenged and invested because of the blogging I do.

As far as the downsides of blogging, I want to read more about this medium. I want to think about voice and share noting which topics lead to growth, and which topics are better for face-to-face discussion and communication.  I'll look for posts about this from those who readily blog, read about it, and I'll seek out this discussion at edcamps and other professional conferences too.  I'm about to engage in a book study of Eric Sheninger's book, Digital Leadership, and I'll bring that question to the reading and Twitter book talk which starts on 6/10 as well.

To blog or not to blog?  What are your thoughts?

Godin's post today adds a most important reflection with regard to whether "To Blog or Not to Blog."

Also, Justin Tarte sent me his incredible post describing 10 Reasons Why Educators Should Blog  Thanks Justin.