(It was nice of Taylor to write a song about 15 years of blogging)
I started this week writing about how I felt the need to STFU, and have blogged every day since, so erm, feel free to pretend I didn’t post this. It was the 15th anniversary of this blog back in May but I was too busy to mark it. I blogged the 10 year anniversary, so why not the 15th (it’s good enough for the Bava after all)?
I’m not sure I have more to say on the role of blogging and academia that hasn’t already been covered. But what I have been aware of, as that STFU post indicates, is my relationship with the blog changes. This should not be a surprise I guess, your career doesn’t stay the same, the way you relate to your house, or music, or friends changes over time, so why wouldn’t your online identity?
This is perhaps a long-term blog’s best function to an individual. It provides an anchor for online identity which will vary and adapt as you change and your priorities and interests shift. In this I think I have been lucky to get into blogging when it was still relatively new (in academic terms) and experimental. Sava Singh has talked about a form of temporal privilege those of us who were into Twitter, say, early had in that we experienced it being fun and friendly. Now that blogs and social media are much more a part of a respected and professionalised communications portfolio, there is a tendency to construct them around very specific messages and target them at defined audiences. Writing about random shit is a privilege in many ways, because although everyone can do that, I was lucky enough to build up a reasonable readership when it was the only approach. I don’t think this blog would get many readers if I was starting out today. So, thank you ed tech timing Gods.
But even with no readership the blog is probably my main (only?) outlet for some element of creativity in working life. Like many people I’ve found the daily Teams meeting and urgent task grind to be demoralising at times. I’m not an especially creative type, but an outlet beyond a well crafted email is needed sometimes to retain some sense of self. Playing with the Ed Tech Pitch generator this week took about 15 minutes but was a sufficient creativity boost to keep me feeling sane. It didn’t need to perform, meet deadlines, generate impact or be reviewed. It was just fun.
Being able to pivot (pirouette, shamble) around a central identity that you own provides a useful anchor as we all negotiate our relationship with the online world. It’s ok that it’s not the same thing that it was, and that it will be something else in the future. So thank you blog, after about 5 people and my dogs, you’re my best friend.