Reader Appreciation Day: it’s the blogger not the blog

Thank You

It’s (late) on blog reader appreciation day, and I wanted to say thanks to everyone out there for your part in making my adventures in e-learning such a rewarding experience. The ‘Dear Reader’ was often acknowledged in those great 19th century novels; the Misses Bronte and others knew how powerful an incentive the readerly eyes out there are to the writer. You’ve kept me focussed and on the job. Today I wanted to share a couple of the staging posts, and changes in the journey with you … by way of appreciation.

I’ve been writing this blog in various guises for over a year now. In fact its first post is dated December 11 2006 and begins with the lines

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.

Well after this lofty and romantic-sounding aim, the blog’s focus changed a bit over the following months. I found myself charting so much, so many angles, that the blog became unfocussed, rambling, and let’s face it, of less interest to others than to my own indulgent tendency … a little like a lady’s diary for reading ‘something sensational on the train’ (thanks Oscar Wilde).

What gradually emerged was an emphasis on new media, especially the potential of the platform of blogging itself for what I came to call e-learning. And so by this time last year, I noticed that many of my posts were talking about how I was using blogging in education … mine and my own students. A focus had emerged; time for a change of title and by-line and an active engagement with the e-learning community through blog searches. In rolled the social media bandwagon in its wake: Facebook and My Space, Twitter, Jing, and Tumblr. I’ve tried them all. A new phrase entered my consciousness: Web 2.0. It opened up the giddy world of open-source, free and flexible education, design, blogging platforms (hello WordPress) as well as opening up the whole box and dice of online communication. I was hooked!

This new engagement with blogging revealed a treasure trove of similar adventurers, and so began what I like to think of as ‘my’ ongoing global community of practice (CoP). As an academic I am mindful of the necessity to continue one’s scholarship and research; blogging has become a way for me to keep writing, and to get feedback and peer-reviews (aka comments). Last year, and as a result of this developing interest in the field of e-learning, I trialled new Mac hardware and software, wrote several papers, gave as many conference presentations, and extended the CoP even further.

However, the seminal event in my life as a blogger so far was the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge which Problogger Darren Rowse initiated last August. I wrote about this intensive learning experience in Building a New Blog as I emerged blinking into a new day on the road. Thanks Darren. During August and the challenge, I met blogger colleagues who remain part of my circle of inspiring writers and fellow travellers. I want to thank especially Michele Martin of The Bamboo Project; the amazingly energetic Sue Waters of Edublogger and web-developer Laura Whitehead of Laura’s Notebook.

Blogging is about conversation …and whilst content is king, it’s the blogger behind the blog that is the driving energy, voice and hook.

Other discoveries included the fabulous Merlin Mann of 43 Folders whose wit, erudition and all round savvy as far as productivity and working online has kept me laughing and sane. I also can’t live without my weekly fix of geekery with the guys on the Macbreak Weekly podcast; they don’t know it, but they’ve driven many miles with me and opened up the potential of podcasting in ways I hadn’t thought about. I love it when guys get passionate about bandwidth, backups and stuff!

Oh I could go on … and it would become probably an unmanageable post and certainly, if you have read to this point … can I say sincere thanks. Please stick with me, dear reader … the journey and our conversations will continnue, but in other posts. Hasta la vista!


5 responses to “Reader Appreciation Day: it’s the blogger not the blog”

  1. Robin Avatar

    Enjoyed your post, Kate!

  2. Colin Avatar

    Thanks for articulating your journey/experience with/through blogging Kate (I’ve had my head down and missed ‘appreciation day’ completely!). My reasons for recently starting a new professional blog resonate with your story as I see the blog as becoming something of an e-portfolio. I suppose it is a little bit about blowing my own trumpet, but mainly it will become the record of my journey (along with annotations/comments :-)) and what I’ve experienced and been thinking about. It will also reflect on my growth as an academic in learning about the use of technology for learning (and teaching). Blogs provide us with the opportunity to tell a story (in installments – chapters if you will), and I believe that it’s this narrative that we share with our readers that adds value to whatever CoP you belong too.

  3. Michele Martin Avatar

    Kate, you’re one of my favorite people! Thank you for being so generous with your time and ideas and for helping to create this wonderful community of practice we’re all living in.

  4. Sue Waters Avatar

    It felt like so many cool things happened while I was away for a week as I would have loved to participate in Reader Appreciation Day — oh well there is always next year. The quote you have used about Blogging is about the conversation — is that by Merlin Mann?

  5. Kate Foy Avatar

    Sue, the pullquote is all my own!

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