OK, I got a little passionate tonight, and thought I'd better share it. Here's my response to yet another post by a prominent edublogger
questioning the value of our Classroom 2.0 network...
This line of thinking continues to mystify me.
I spoke to a group of 200 educators on Saturday about web 2.0, and four of them raised their hands when I asked how many were blogging. The early adopters seem to forget 1) that the great bulk of educators aren't like them and aren't going to be so proactive to go out and do all the things you have done to get where you are, and 2) that most educators don't have the time to do all of that. So, if you really want them involved in the energizing effects of Web 2.0, it doesn't make sense to play the "when I started blogging I had to walk 2 miles each way uphill in the snow" game.
There's a reason that MySpace gets 375,000 sign-ups A DAY: it taps into the ability to get yourself up there and get attention and feedback quickly. It doesn't mean that you are stuck there. It doesn't mean that you can't start your own external blog someday. It's not a prison.
Please come to Classroom 2.0 and stay long enough to do more than just leave your URL and try to drive traffic to your blog, Miguel. I felt like that showed a real lack of respect to those who are there. Listen in on some of the conversations of educators who have NEVER EVER done anything like this and who have been AFRAID to put themselves out they, are now they reading and writing and are so excited by how they are feeling.
That the edublogger "old guard" has been publicly disdaining (too strong a word?) of the Ning network is a mystery to me. I have to imagine that those prominent bloggers who have audience and keep questioning the value of Ning, but not really exploring it and especially not even getting involved in the dialog, are actually making it harder for the thousands of non-blogging educators who read them to feel comfortable taking a baby step by going to Classroom 2.0.
The edubloggers keep saying that they wish there was a way that the edublogosphere wasn't such an echo chamber, with just a few edubloggers being read. I hate to say it, but it makes me wonder if the flat nature of the social network, which really doesn't seem to devolve into a hierarchy, isn't a little threatening to those voices that are most public. There are educators in Ning who are taking brave steps, speaking up a little, getting supported and encouraged, making connections, and finding new friends--and all in matter of a few days--that would never get that kind of mentoring in the regular edublogosphere.
Interesting that I feel so passionate about this. Hmmmm... It's the Tom Hoffman in me.