Another of my annual goals was to write one blog post a week. Unlike the books and film challenge, I fell short with this one, with 48 posts (including this one, may do another one yet). But I definitely upped my blogging game this year. It had rather drifted the past couple of years, and making myself write a post a week got me back into the habit. And I relearnt all the things I had discovered in those early years of blogging, such as the small, incidental thoughts are worth getting out there, that once you’re in the habit it becomes easier, that you can’t predict what will connect with people and, most importantly, this is where the fun stuff happens. Still.
I think there is a mixture of feelings about blogging, and edublogging in particular. These include nostalgia (it’s not as good as it used to be), disappointment (it didn’t revolutionise the world like we thought it would), fatigue (this austerity, work hard all the time, continually monitored stuff has just taken it all out of me), and embarrassment (who does blogging now, Grandad?).
There is something in all of these. I know blogging isn’t like it used to be. It isn’t 2005 anymore, and those early years were very exciting, full of possibility and novelty. But just because it isn’t what it was, doesn’t mean it isn’t what it is. And that is interesting in its own way, some of the old flush is still there, plus a new set of possibilities. Blogging is both like it used to be, and a completely different thing. For example, it’s like it used to be in that you can still post a half-baked thought and get supportive, thought-provoking comments. See my personality of education post for a good example of this. It wasn’t very well written or thought through, but the quality of the comments (71 of them!) was exceptional. An example of how it’s different is that it has a greater respectability now, and being a blogger isn’t just something for Canadians with too much time on their hands to indulge in.
I have more reservations about this online space, and encouraging others to engage in it, than I used to. One can no longer claim it is necessarily a friendly, supportive space. But I still find the edublogosphere the place to explore thoughts, and to engage in conversations that are more meaningful, intelligent and challenging than any other place, including physical venues such as conferences. One significant impact of the maturity of the edublogosphere is that those initial online friendships have grown into working collaborations, friendships, community. This year I met up with lots of great people, some I knew through other means, but the following are people who I all met online initially: Brian Lamb, Alan Levine, Audrey Watters, Jim Groom, Josie Fraser, Joyce Setzinger, David Wiley, Maha Bali, Tom Woodward, Clint Lalonde, Catherine Cronin, Stephen Downes, George Veletsianos… I could go on. That is an influential group of practitioners.
So, no the edublogosphere isn’t what it was. And that’s just great. Becoming a blogger is still the best academic decision I ever made.