Welcome to Blogging

Welcome to my new friends and colleagues in the Western New York – Powerful Learning Practices (WNY-PLP) group!

Undoubtedly, Web 2.0 tools, including the infamous blog, may be completely new to many of you. This post is designed to give you a sense for the blogging experience. I’d like you (both WNY-PLP participants and you other readers out there in the blogosphere) to comment on the following:

  • What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
  • Do you currently read blogs?
  • Do you have a blog?
  • Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
  • What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)

Thanks for your input folks. I’ll hope to be seeing you in the blogosphere (a mystical place where conversations go to be connected).

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28 thoughts on “Welcome to Blogging

  1. * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    I was interested but didn’t see myself fitting in at first. I just lurked for a long time. But ssoner than later I began getting a charge from posts and had to jump in the comment ppol. Soon after that i decided to create my own blog.

    * Do you currently read blogs?
    Far too many and i’m too embarrassed to say how many. Just know its a lot. But I equate it to reading a magazine and a newspaper each evening through my reader of choice (Bloglines.)

    * Do you have a blog?

    * Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    Blogging has been the best professional development I’ve had in the 22 years Ive worked in education. I can’t even begin to describe what I’ve learned about MANY web 2.0 tools. But blogging has been the vehicle of choice for learning,
    particularly about web 2.0 tools and their role in the classroom.

    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)
    Begin by reading a few blogs. Ask around for some popular ones. Try for a local one, a national one, and an international one. See who is commenting, and visit their blogs to see if they reflect your feelings or interests. Add them to the reader as you find them. Don’t feel guilty for dropping some that lose your interests–that will happen. Read through a reader like googlereader or bloglines to help manage it.

    Best of luck in your endeavor to join the blogosphere!!

  2. * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    Open expression, easy publishing tools, Instant gratification
    * Do you currently read blogs?
    Yes. MAybe 20 in a day ( google Reader)
    * Do you have a blog?
    Main one is at http://shashi.name ( others are restaurant reviews, book reviews)
    * Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    its is important to be concius of your readers time. be interesting, nothing is shoskcing ( watch winelibrary,tv- it is like a NFL game show but on wines)
    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)

    REad nice blog article in washpost http://tinyurl.com/33llst

  3. * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    You said to “let it out”, so here goes… At first, I thought blogs were self-indulgent personal diaries, and that bloggers were self-absorbed people who thought all the world really cared what they had to say.
    * Do you currently read blogs?
    Yep, a bunch of them, via my rss aggregator – contrary to my initial perception, blog reading has become enormous for my development as an educator and a building principal.
    * Do you have a blog?
    Yep to that, too. Some would say I’ve become a self-absorbed person who thinks all the world really cares what I have to say. I’ve realized that blogging helps me to refine and expand my own thinking – and if someone else can benefit from my thinking, or can help me with mine by posting a comment, then that’s gravy!
    * Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    I think everyone should get an rss and *read* blogs of relevance to them – I’ve been exposed to more new information, via blogs, in 8 months than I otherwise would have encountered in 8 years. I do think that *writing* a blog probably won’t feel right for everyone – but I encourage you to try it, at least. It’s likely to be a very different experience than you expect it to be.
    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)
    Know that it will feel awkward at first – and promise yourself you’ll stick with it for at least 3-4 months. Set a time each week to blog regularly. Find some blogs you enjoy, and post comments – this will give you ideas about what to blog about, and will also help people “find” your blog. If you really want people to find your blog, post your blog url in your automated email signature. And know that more people will read it than you think – the number of comments you get is not an accurate indicator.

  4. Ok, here it goes πŸ™‚

    What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    I started reading noneducational blogs a long time ago, and gradually realized there were also some excellent educational ones.

    Do you currently read blogs? Yes, in fact, I read blogs probably more often than I read anything else, including newspapers or magazines. They are convenient(online) and inspiring.

    Do you have a blog? Yes, my blog is “Not So distant Future”–www.futura.edublogs.org. It started out as a way to share websites and ideas with teachers, but it’s become a way for me to really think through ideas aloud, focus my own thoughts, connect with other educators, and share some of the projects going on at our campus with others.

    Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    I personally love blogs and love blogging. I know some people don’t like to write lengthy posts(or read them!) but there are blogs where people just use photos to publicize what is going on in their classrooms or libraries–those are fun too, and involve students. But I think at a deeper level, blogs really can engage us in an important conversation–which is, where is education going, and what can each of us do to inspire our students to their fullest potential?

    What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)

    The number one thing that I think prevents teachers from blogging(other than time) is that sometimes teachers don’t think they have anything to say that people will want to hear.
    Actually most teachers I know have plenty to say, and know a lot about education, about what works and doesn’t work, and have great lesson ideas to share. So I would say that have faith that you do have something of value to share with “the world.”

  5. * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    I was initially quite scared to write my thought for other to read. Blogging is a bit more open than email. Anyone can read what you post.

    * Do you currently read blogs?

    I read blogs all the time. They’ve become my primary source of information. Huffington Post, Dilbert Blog, Bob Sutor, Bob Sutton et al are far more interesting than reading the newspaper. Reading the comments of other readers is often quite instructive too.

    * Do you have a blog?

    I got a couple of them. One is professional and the other is more philosophical. I started on blogger actually with my first blog a couple of years ago and have since moved to WordPress.

    * Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)

    I think blogging is a great way to encourage student writing. I recently set up Drupal for our students to use. They love it and their work quality is improving as they write more. Our Drupal setup has a forward facing address so the students can write at home or at school.

    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)

    Start small. Don’t get too focused. Let your writing take you on a journey.

  6. I don’t have preconceived notions about blogs, because I think they are as diverse as the people who create them. I love the Buffalo Rising blog. I tried one of my own, but I found I had trouble updating it. It’s exciting to think about how we will be able to use them at our school. I love the ideas of giving student work wings and also discovering latent teachers from around the globe. I hope to learn more about blogging shortcuts.

  7. I don’t currently read blogs, but am finally seeing how they may be useful for me. I was also thinking that bloggers were weirdos but since I’m thinking of joining the blogfest, they couldn’t possibly be weirdos : ) I’ve previously created a blog at edublogs but haven’t used it yet. Guess I’ll be working on changing that!

  8. The whole blog thing is… over my head? Not really, but I question how useful this will be to me.

    Spinning that a bit, I bet it would be–could be– QUITE useful. There are so many people from whom I could learn.

    TO me, it all comes down to time. Time. Time for me. Time for my family. Down time. Getting into blogging, am I committing myself to ONE MORE THING that will draw my time away from those who I love? From what I need to do to recharge?

    All the same, I won’t know until I try it. So here I go…..

  9. * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?

    My first perception was of someone with WAY too much time on their hands.

    * Do you currently read blogs?

    Actually, rarely because I haven’t made an opportunity to do so. Now that I’m learning more about them, I’m looking forward to lurk around and read some. I have been on librarian listservs in the past, which were very helpful, but also very time consuming.

  10. My first perception of blogs is that they were listservs. The listservs that I subscribed to were not as helpful as they were a place to blowing off steam. I do not have a blog or respond to any blogs. My concern is how to keep up with the reading of one than one blog.

  11. I do not yet have the habit or discipline to post to a blog regularly yet. How do you carve out the time? A stale blog is not appealing.

  12. What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    My first perception of blogs was that they were a place to openly write about your life or topics you are interested.
    Do you currently read blogs?
    I read one blog.
    Do you have a blog?
    I do have a blog.
    Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    I am interested in blogging some more.
    What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)
    Blogging is very easy and fun. Try creating a blog about something light and interesting. Your blog doesn’t have to be a deep and interesting disection of your being…just a great place to comment about gardening, running, teaching, cooking, etc….or it can be a deep disection of your being. : : ) Rachel Ciesluk

  13. can’t wait to give it a try. as the others have said, there is the time issue. but no one knows until they try.

  14. hi!

    I am going to answer q1 differently – I hope this is allowed! I want to comment on what others are saying about blogs being a bit ‘self-indulgent’… Apart from one of my blogs which I created as a ‘service’ for teachers at my school to teach them about the latest ‘cool’ stuff on the web – http://www.tonitwiss.com/newmediatech – I write my blogs for me only as a form of reflective practice. If others are interested in what I have to say then that is great – but my primary reason for writing is for me!

    Yes blogging does take time – but I take it from somewhere else – instead of sitting with my husband and telling him about school I write it down – and then we talk about other stuff. Or I make 10 minutes at the end of the day one day a week to do it. It takes as much time as you want it to.

    For me the best thing about blogging is the AMAZING networks of truly inspiring people that you meet on-line. The level of professional dialog is simply outstanding – and you are only working with those YOU choose and who inspire you in the field you are interested in.

    My favourite networking site at the moment is twitter! Which is how I found the link to this site and this post.

    OK so I didn’t answer the questions at all but hopefully something I said ties in with what you were asking!

  15. Toni, no problem answering my prompt in your own way. I count on you all to make things better here. As you can see the comments here have much more content than the actual post. That’s what I love about this stuff. Thanks for your comments!

  16. Hi Brian

    This post is brilliant! I love how you used it to encourage your participants to express their
    thoughts and to examine where it all fit for them. And congratulations to your participants for sharing their thoughts because reading it has been very informative. Would love to see you follow up with a post?

    So since you have asked your readers to add their thoughts here are mine:

    * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    Well I was first introduced to blogs in March, 2006 but did not really get what blogs were about. Looking back part of the issue probably related to the fact that the people showing me
    blogs did not recongise themselves the power of blogs so I was only shown a limited selection of blogs and also was not shown the true key to blogging which is how to locate blogs worth reading and how to subscribe to blogs. It was not until this year when I was shown how to subscribe to blogs and why blogs are important that I finally got it. After awhile of reading other people’s blogs I then began to appreciate the value of blogging myself. One thing that did help me relate to blogging was a great video that explains the importance of blogging (have the longer version on my wiki).

    * Do you currently read blogs?
    Yes πŸ™‚ and constantly feel sorry for the lonely blogs so can’t help myself and keep adding more.

    * Do you have a blog?
    πŸ™‚ http://aquaculturepda.edublogs.org/

    * Other thoughts/feelings (it’s okay, let it out)
    ROFL — ulitmately blogging is not about readers (although that is nice) but is part of your learning process. Whatever works for you do it – I started out as a podcaster because I could relate to it better – then I added a wiki because not everything I did fitted into a podcast – then a blog (been blogging since April 2007)

    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)

    Start by subscribing to blogs and as you get confortable commenting on people’s posts. I
    find co-mment a great tool for tracking my comments on other peoples post – if the blogger responds can then choose to comment back.

    Based on the number of blogs I read you need to make my job simple – I am a speed reader. Make
    your post well laid out. Short paragraphs. Line between each paragraph. Make the first sentence of each paragraph grab my attention and make me want to read the entire post. Insert a picture in each post when possible. If you add any embeds such as videos, slideshares etc make sure that you make it very clear you have added them (ideally embed and add a link back to the original video) as most Feed Readers do not show the embedded items so it looks like the post is empty.

    Most of all enjoy – fit it in with your lifestyle and what you want to do πŸ™‚

  17. Thanks a lot, Sue. You got me feeling guilty for posting my cop-out “I endorse Brian’s efforts” response. I guess if I play by the rules just this once, it won’t kill me. πŸ™‚

    * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?

    I used to think that bloggers were fanatics, self-absorbed, and a few bars short of a full signal – if you know what I mean. Only in actually becoming a blogger have I realized that I was correct. πŸ™‚

    * Do you currently read blogs?

    Yes. I currently read about 150 blogs. I’ve managed to keep up fairly well (and have learned a ton) but may need to put my aggregator on a diet soon.

    * Do you have a blog?

    Yes. http://drapestakes.blogspot.com/

    * Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)

    I think that every teacher should blog. OK, I said it.

    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.)

    1. Don’t let your blog rule your life. Maintain a schedule, yes, but don’t go out of control. Doing so will only mean you’ll probably fizzle out shortly.

    2. Read, don’t just write.

    3. Comment everywhere.

    4. Learn and have fun.

    Peace out.


  18. I can always count on Drapes. Thanks for the comment. I love the simplicity of his suggestions. 4 simple steps to successful blogging.


  19. Pingback: Mobile Technology in TAFE » Blog Archive » My Advice On Being A More Effective Blogger!

  20. Me made Darren feel guilty? πŸ™‚ That would have to be a first! Is there an award for this? Freaking out at the thought that Darren may play by the rules πŸ™‚

    And at least Darren has not least us down — as he is his normal witty self! That makes us all laugh. I also think every teacher should read Darren’s posts on why teachers should blog; they are excellent posts. With Darren’s schedule of one post for each day in November which is totally out of his normal schedule I think we should be laying beats on how he copes? πŸ™‚ Peace πŸ™‚

    I have expanded on my comments for advice to new bloggers in my latest post because it was really hard to give a lot of advice in a short comment – aquaculturepda.edublogs.org/2007/11/11/my-advice-on-being-a-more-effective-blogger – perhaps now Darren feels inspired he might like to do a similar post of his tips (as he needs to write ?20 more posts for the month).


  21. Hi Brian
    nice to discover your blog. Here’s my 2c worth.

    * What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    Very excited. I enjoy conversations, writing, fresh ideas and great design. I started finding all of this in blogs. I think I may have come across the notion of blogging in the middle of 2006. I also love podcasts and podcasting, and a couple I was subscribed to had companion blogs. That’s when I put the 2 and 2 together and came up with my own.

    * Do you currently read blogs?
    Oh yes. Lots. Thank you Google Reader.

    * Do you have a blog?
    Uh huh. Two on the go. My current challenge is to network these two blogs into difference niches I guess I want to maintain the individual ‘voice’ or tone of each blog and allow each one to grow in its own way into its particular community.

    * Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    Blogging really, really has almost entirely eliminated my former time-poor academic whining. It’s paradoxical really. Blogging means not just writing your own thing, but reading others, communicating and reflecting back in your blog(s) … conversation right? I blog daily, though I don’t often post as frequently. So the academic formerly known as ‘too busy’ now has a body of writing which is reflective of practice and indicative of some pretty good research, if I say so myself. I’m developing a profile in the niche, and I’m getting invited to contribute and present at gatherings and conferences. That’s nice.
    * What are your suggestions for those new to blogging and looking to get started soon? (For those already blogging.) Learn how to write a great opening sentence whether or not it contains tags that search engines will find. Tag your posts, so get a del.icio.us account. Check out other blogs in your niche area and comment. Get known, and play nicely with your fellow bloggers. Enjoy the journey.

  22. My first experience blogging was when I set up a summer reading blog for a middle school through Blogger. I found many kids were hesitant to use it because they felt they were going to be graded on their grammar. Since then, I have been gradually familiarizing myself with blogging and other Web 2.0 tools. I have learned a lot about 2.0 and school librarianship from other bloggers. I currently have a NetVibes pages where I compile all my various feeds. Where is this taking me? I am not really sure. This whole social/virtual interaction thing is cool and I have had fun getting acclimated with it.

  23. First perception – I actually sent Anne Davis an email back in Jan. 2005 asking for suggestions on blogging with students. She replied with a wealth of resources for me to explore. I saw incredible potential, wanted to, wasn’t sure how…

    Do I read blogs – yes, but not on a regular basis. It’s kind of like exercise. If I get in the habit it’s great. When I don’t do it for awhile, it’s hard to get started and caught up again.

    Do I have a blog – Yes, 2. MST PORTAL is my blog I use at work and MST Literacy is a blog I use for a grad class I teach at SJFC .

    Other thoughts – I’m still trying to figure out “how to” blog. This is definitely a learning process for me and I’m in the beginning stages.

    Suggestions – Start with the end in mind. What is your goal for blogging? How can the blog help reach the goal? Find someone good who can help you out. I did!

  24. What was your first perception of blogs or bloggers?
    At first I thought blogs allowed individuals to share their experiences and find like minded individuals on the Net. (I think that is somewhat accurate in some ways)
    Do you currently read blogs?
    Not really…I have started to read some that deal with sports because the information in the “news” tends to be boring and the newspaper has some horrible writers and I like getting the information when I want to. Recently, I have moved from entertainment to trying to acquire knowledge from blogs and I hope to get to the point in which I can add to the discussion.
    Do you have a blog?
    No (I don’t count the one I started on my teacher page because it was just first stab and not really what I want out of a blog)
    Other thoughts/feelings? (it’s okay, let it out)
    I think I have started to see that blogs have evolved (or my perception has changed some)to a place in which people are now trying to engage in some important discussions and using these collaborative sites in a way to reflect and solve problems. How this will at some point be applied in a class with students? I am not sure and I think others share this question. I think one of the biggest obstacles deals with the fundamental concept of a blog and that is being transparent and open in your discussions – a scary thing for kids at times (self-conscience) and for teachers – liability of having student information for the world to see.

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