Now we are 2

Spider on a wet morning
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

December 11th marked Spinning a Learning Web‘s second birthday.  I’d used blogs before I created this one, but they were learning tools and marketing devices to publicise an event that I was working on … as such, they were time-limited and topic-focussed. What I found I wanted was something more personal – a blog that would develop along with my own life’s adventures. I guess I was looking for a digital diary that I could experiment with.

This is what I wrote on the day Spinning a Learning Web first drew breath:

This is a blog I have been promising myself for a while. A blog where I can simply chart the happenings of each day, the curiosities that emerge, the lovely things and the sad, the intriguing and the rolling pattern of the seasons of my life. The blogs I keep apart from this one are more like casebook entries in work projects. I needed somewhere else, as in a trusty old journal, where I could keep thoughts along with images and links. This is the first entry of what I hope I can keep for at least a year. We’ll see. Creative Stirrings, Dec 2007

Spinning … has gone beyond the one-year life span I set myself at the outset. Whilst it is not my sole blog, it remains my eldest and therefore, special in its own way. It’s had a couple of lives, first as a WordPress.com hosted blog, then a self-hosted grown-up, WordPress.org publication … ooh how tense it was changing over to the world of php files and CSS stuff. It’s also had a couple of face-washes as far as themes go. We moved from Cutline by the terrific web designer Chris Pearson to his lovely Thesis which is the current look. Widgets and plugins have come and gone, and we’ve upgraded WordPress more times than we can recall. We survived these changes of course, thanks in part to the kind of support I’ve received from my terrific web-hosting service (A2) and friends made along the way. All part of the adventure of course.

But what of the content in the two years since I began? Whilst I’ve remained true to my wanting to chart the happenings of each day, the curiosities that emerge etc etc., I did focus down eventually on e-learning as the ‘chief happening and curiosity’. I had tried to cover a whole lot more for a while, but it became very clear that the resulting sprawling, amorphous grab bag was neither compelling  for me nor anyone else who happened along. I wanted conversation, so I had to find a topic to talk about. My natural curiosity led me to write about what I was working with … the web itself and its potential in learning and teaching in higher education. There was the whole business of blogging itself … how it was the same as or different from other forms of writing. And then there was my interest in the aesthetics and workability of good design, and my continuing affair with Apple Macintosh. These threads managed to spin themselves into the blog I keep today.

And I guess that is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in a year. Find what you want to write about, focus on it, resist the urge to bloat, and work on establishing a readership. It takes time. I’m always wary about the ‘Get 1000 subscribers in a week’ promises of some blogs; they seem suspiciously like get rich quick schemes. I don’t want or need 1,000 subscribers with this blog. As with Twitter, I like to keep my ‘follows’ manageable, and to have a meaningful relationship with them. It’s not a business but an avocation. That will do me for now.

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2 responses to “Now we are 2”

  1. kallan Avatar
    kallan

    Tenei to mihi ki a koe, Kate!

    Many happy returns! I have enjoyed visiting Spinning a Learning Web, and I'm not likely to stop visiting, at least not for the next year. Keep these thoughtful posts rolling!

    Catchya later
    from Middle-earth

  2. Sue Waters Avatar

    Your Second Birthday? WOW what happened to the birthday cake? Or the chocolates for the party 🙁

    Oh well I will have to wait for you to post them to get some to eat. Congratulations and bet of luck to the year ahead.

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