I consider myself to be a "newbie" when it comes to blogging and quite honestly, don't really understand what the main purpose or need it addresses. However, after spending a week at NECC and EduBlogger, I realized that these "bloggers" were creating a network of shared learning experiences and collaborative discussions. It seemed to me that this group of bloggers were like some type of "click" or group of folks that knew each other and were simply connecting with one another. Honestly, I felt like an outsider and that something was going on that I never knew existed. I asked a person in the group, "how did you get to know all these folks?" Her answer, "I'm meeting them here for the first time. I follow their blogs and feel like I've know them for a while."
Since then, I've learned that there are two types of bloggers: FB (Famous Bloggers) and NYFB (Not Yet Famous Bloggers). And then there are LRs (Loyal Readers). You see one thing I learned from my new online friend is the way she got started was by way of following RSS Feeds using a "reader" such as Google Reader or any of the others. So these folks that were so connected and seemed to have their inner circle were probably meeting for the first or second time in person but had probably been meeting virtually practically everyday. This begged the question - "Where do you find the time?"
As I embarked on this new world of following FBs and NYFBs with my reader, I gathered up a collection of more than forty-five bloggers that I try to follow. That in itself was time consuming. I found myself staying up till 2AM reading blogs and threaded discussions that kept taking me on further tangents. But more importantly, the further I read, the more I began to feel like I knew the blogger - his tone, his demeanor, his values (somewhat) and his quirkiness. Nonetheless, it was and can be very time consuming.
Next came the actual blogging part. Where, when, what, how do I get started? Initially, I found myself waisting an entire afternoon thinking, "what do I have to say that anyone cares to read about?" And of course, the further I got into it, no one was or is reading about it so why am I doing it? I still don't have the answer to that yet, but I do it because it allows me to express my thoughts and capture key learning from posts I have learned from others. As I read blogs from other FBs and NYFBs, I realize that I think these folks blog to do the following:
- Share insights and their own perspectives
- Capture events as they happen
- Spark discussions
- Dialog with others in a way that is unique
- Provide reviews to some new learnings or resources
- Collaborate with others to come up with new ideas
I guess the list could go on and folks have their own reasons for blogging, maybe just to become famous.
So first I created this presence using blogger.com. It was pretty straight forward with not a lot of major work to get it up and going. Then came the content. What do I write about - family, work and play. I came upon a blog post as I got started on my path to blogging - Simply Said... How to Blog.
This "Dumb Little Man," (that's what he/they call themselves) gave great insights for getting started and all things considered. Here are just a few...
1. Name - Blog under your name and ignore the harassment
2. Time - Don't put your primary income in jeopardy; set a blogging schedule
3. Dynamic - Vary the site, incorporate feeds, twitter updates, etc.
4. Schedule - Create a schedule or routine and "get up early
5. Honesty - Understand your restraints and be forthcoming with your readers
5. Topics - Use life to give you ideas
6. Sharing data - Sharing proprietary company data - not good
7. Are you even into it? - Start a blog and work at it
8. Do it right - Choose a topic that you are seriously in love with
9. When beginning, read Problogger religiously
10. Widgets - A distraction; a blog is about your readers
11. Images - Grabbing images from Flickr, elsewhere, give credit
These are just a few of the ones that I captured read more on this excellent post from Jay.
So task number one for me. Create a schedule. This is mine and it is helpful to me and my job. I do have work too you know...
This is my schedule posted right in front of me. I check it and try to follow every morning.
7:00AM - bike ride
8:00AM - Get ready for the day
8:30AM - RSS Feeds / emails, etc.
9:00AM - Project reviews
10:00AM - Community Development / Blog posts
11:00AM - Reporting, data collection, bus. dev activities
12:00PM - Got to eat some time
1:00 - 3:00PM - Marketing activities / project lists
3:00 - 5:00PM - Review, debrief, ongoing projects and updates
So far this seems to work for me and helps me manage my time without spending all day blogging or reading feeds from others.
I actually have it good. My job at WeAreTeachers.com is a social community for teachers and part of what we do is provide a community for teachers to share and collaborate with other teachers of all types. That being said, part of my role is to help foster community and drink the koolaid. For now, I am enjoying this new found skill of blogging and hope to some day be at least a NYFB. If you are an FB, NYFB or an LR or none just thinking about getting started with a blog, I look forward to meeting you virtually and continuing on my path - wherever it leads me.