Naturally these types of intense periods of blogging attract some discussion about the relevance of the blogging format. As well as the habit forming / repelling nature of writing every day for 28 days.
I enjoyed hearing from Aaron Davis as he shared some ideas about this in his post Sustainable Blogging. It is also good to read through the comments from Kathleen Morris and Bill Ferriter as they contribute some further thoughts.
In his audio post Aaron questions the purpose of blogging everyday and how this might be setting people up for failure.
It depends of what we all count as success I suppose.
I have no expectation that this month will lead to some miraculous daily writing habit. Far from it. I have already been successful as I have been able to share a few blog posts that were half baked ideas or languishing links on my computer.
Davis ponders on whether we should [still] be promoting blogging as a way to connect with an engaged community of thoughtful contributors.
The halcyon days of education blogging has long gone and I think those still running a blog have shifted their expectations. Including me.
I used to enjoy the way ideas I shared on my blog were regularly built upon in the comments and new ideas emerged. It was a great example of asynchronous collaboration. [Take a look at Aaron’s post for a good example that crosses platforms too]
But those types of experiences are just not around anymore and I think my own expectations have shifted accordingly.
I write about my ideas to process them and to help others.
Those two goals have always been there. It is just over the last five years, maybe more, that it has become harder to understand the impact your blog posts have on your audience.
All we are left with is the temporary traces of visits and the fleeting analytics of micro-engagement.
Bill Ferriter raises an interesting aspect about the way that highly polished content and professional writing has narrowed what the community thinks is acceptable, or even what a “blog” is anymore.
It used to be that quick, transparent reflection that wasn’t perfect was the norm rather than the exception to the rule. Now, the people with the biggest followings — and therefore the biggest influence on our notions of what a blog should look like — are almost universally creating stuff that is beyond even my ability to create.
He continues his train of thought further on his own blog:
Have we gotten to the point where “blogging” no longer means messy reflection in the minds of most people? Is there now an expectation that blogs have to be filled with content that has been carefully created and “spit-shined?”And if so, does that discourage new bloggers from ever getting started?
I agree with Bill that the sands have shifted beneath us. The definition of the blog post is no longer the same and new contenders for benefiting greatly from running their own education blog, have experienced a very different diet of articles and published content than we did even five years ago. And definitely ten years ago.
I would still say that a blog is primarily a space for a person to process their thinking and do the messy reflection Ferriter suggests.
We might be inundated with the polished self-help style articles that panders to a dependent audience but that doesn’t stop every writer forging their own rationale for creating their own digital space.
It might be harder to define that messy space than before but it is just as important for our education colleagues to have them. I will always advocate for people finding their own path, crafting their own rationale and not to dance to someone else’s tune or writing format.