One of the elements I have noticed that has changed in out edublogging community is the number of comments that are added to blog posts. The lack of discussion and further conversation is something I have missed from the blogging experience. Writing and reflecting upon my own practice is great in itself, but the ensuing discussions that occurred as a result of sharing often helped deepen my understanding or challenge how I was thinking. This depth of engagement seems to be a fading part of our writing community.
Since starting #28daysofwriting I have been able to re-ignite my reading and consumption of other people’s thinking through the blog posts that have been shared. I have been grateful for the few comments that have been added to my own blog posts so far this month, but am relatively surprised by the lack commenting and engagement I see around the education blogging community.
As my colleague and friend Ewan puts it in his latest post:
given the number of comments left on the first 14 days of this 2015 writing adventure compared to the flowing discussions one might have seen 10 years ago, I’m not sure anyone cares about many blog posts any more.
The engagement from over 110 educational bloggers for #28daysofwriting would suggest that it is still a viable format for reflection. But whether we care enough about other blogs is another thing.
Perhaps this is to do with the growing number of blogs that are active and the quality and breadth of blogging tools we have at our disposal. It would stand that an increase in the amount of posts that are shared and the number of educational blogs, would challenge the number of discussions that can be started. Maybe it is not that people do not care about blog posts but they are much more likely to be using that energy on their own blog.
I made the following diagram to help me think this through.
There is nothing wrong with the amber lit retweeting and sharing, but for many people we are sharing in an attempt to have the most impact on others. The micro engagement that occurs as people share without reading and, reposting content without engaging any further, is much more prevalent than the more in depth discussions of 10 years ago.
Aaron mentioned in a comment on a post the other day that the rise of the mobile browsing experience is also another reason why people do not comment as much anymore.
At the macro level, the full realisation of a blog post’s impact, teachers think differently after reading something and act differently as a result (with their colleagues or with their class). I have been fortunate enough to be able to share ideas that have had such an impact. The usual way I have learned about such an effect is by reading other blog posts, as teachers reflect on their version of things and how they have adapted my original idea.
Of course we need content to inspire and challenge us, so we need educators writing about their experiences in the classroom. I want more and more people using blogging as a reflective tool and practice. Perhaps what we need is a focus on discussion, on building on each other’s ideas and then reflecting ourselves. And maybe it is this closing of the loop that is the most powerful.
What do you think? Is this micro engagement something that is eroding the discussions present in the community or are they simply happening elsewhere? What’s your take on it?
On a post lamenting the lack of commenting it is of course now mandatory to leave a comment 😉