I've been thinking this weekend about why I've started blogging more and podcasting less. And I thought I'd post my reasons here.
First and foremost... I started out keeping a blog to document things I wanted to remember. I have one blog where I write about things pertaining to my kids. It's an quick and easy way to jot done observations, funny things that they have said, etc. I have not password protected it, but I don't make it particularly public. It's mostly for me. When I started this, I naively didn't realize how public blogs are until a marketing director for a public space landscaping company found one of my posts and called me. She planned to use my written observations about a neat park in Chicago in one of her trade publications.
Another blog I started and I haven't really been contributing much to is one that documents the fun things I do with my family. We love to visit kid friendly places, and I thought a travel blog for families might be helpful to others. Which leds me to my second reason for blogging... not only do I want to remember things I've done, but I believe in the power of passing helpful information along. I have learned so much from interactions over the Internet and I think contributing the ever growing body of content out there is a service to everyone.
In addition to these blogs and my professional one (this one), I made one that has not taken off at all. I'm part of a small study group at work that is supposed to take a look at all things educationally innovative. Since we have found it virtually impossible to meet in person, I thought a blog might be a way we could interact on our own time. Frankly, I haven't put much effort into it, and I think the learning curve might be too much for some members of this group.
And.... my latest blog (TypePad Pro accounts let you make multiple blogs with multiple authors btw) is for my email friends. When my now 7 year old daughter was an infant, I joined a parenting group online and became virtual friends with a small group of women scattered about the country. I've since left AOL, but I still email regularly with these incredibly supportive group and I've even met three of them in person. We're always making recommendations to each other for toys, books, activities, etc. and I thought again that a blog might make a good forum for documenting all the wisdom we've floated around over the years. We've used a bit, but again, I think for most of my friends, it's a bit of a hassle.
I did three podcasts to support a listserv that I manage, and while I enjoyed the process of creating one, I lost motivation to create more as I found myself not particularly enjoying listening to myself talk. It was painful to hear the reality of my voice. Until doing this, I hadn't really developed an appreciation for broadcasters and the probable training they go through in order to sound as professional as they do. Because of time constraints and because I am not sure if my Friday 5 podcasts were particularly compelling, I decided to take a break from this until I could find better reasons to publish audio files. I'd really love to be able to interview people rather than hear myself talking constantly.
The bottom line with my blogging and podcasting efforts is that I have not done these things to be necessarily self-promotional. I've created blogs and podcasts to explore new technologies, to share information, and to document items important to me. I've only been dabbling in web 2.0 stuff for about a year now, and I've been amazed by how I can glean quality info and learn from others. That's the real power behind all of this and that's why I am into blogging now.
On that note.... I looked at a blog this week and would like to share it with others. I found Creating Passionate Users via the 9 Rules Network. 9 Rules is a great site to browse as they provide an umbrella for weblogs of high caliber. Most are also very well designed, too.
Anyway, three posts really struck me in the Creating Passtionate Users blog. I think they are essential readings for teachers. In chronological order:
Can I just say AMEN to all of this? I especially agree with the comments about meaness and about helping to educate others via blogging. Exactly my sentiments. I will revisit this post often to remind myself of these principles.
3) Crash Course in Learning Summary (I particularly love the design of this post... great example of how to use graphics effectively in a blog post. )
I'm going to end this long ramble with a 2006 blog resolution for myself... and that will be to add more of my own thoughts and ideas to this blog. Instead of just posting links, perhaps I can elaborate and build on what I find.