197 – Blogging – some introspection and reflection.

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              550 words

blogging for learning

It has been an interesting 12 months of blogging. Many things have been learnt. What started out as an opportunity to get a few things out of heads and onto ‘paper’ has turned into a tremendous professional development process. The ideas being written about have generated a response that has informed practice.

So, what has been learnt?

The objective was to use the posts to tell a story, say what it really means or reveals, and then what could/should be done to make a difference. Some posts have been a bit darker and tended to show how ideas are progressively compromised or eroded until they are ineffective or counterproductive. Some posts have been persuasive in support of an opinion or course of action. Hopefully all have been entertaining and/or informative.

Readers’ interest in different topics has been evident though the number of views of each post (hence the ‘Most Popular Posts’ page). There were over 6000 views for the year. The ‘likes’ show which posts have particularly appealed to readers. ‘Comments’ indicate further interest and have led to posts being written in response to matters raised. The growth in ‘Followers’ indicates general interest in the ideas being posted. Overall, it has been a satisfying response and it has encouraged writing.

It has been surprising that readers have come from such a large number of countries (113 and counting). The majority are from English speaking countries with a similar system of local government (i.e. Australia, USA, UK and Canada).

The posts have changed over the course of the year in response to feedback. Images have been added, questions have been posed, there have been several series on a topic, and there have been the long reads. The idea has been to engage with the readership in different ways.

Multiple viewpoints have been presented – explanatory, teaching, positive critique, negative critique, the voice of reason – sometimes on the same topic. This has created a certain tension but has hopefully ‘rounded out’ thinking on the topic.

After the first 25 posts an ‘index post’ was created to briefly discuss each post and then to describe the various themes covered in the posts. Later a ‘syntopicon’ was created covering all posts to allow new readers to quickly find posts on different themes. Hopefully it has been useful.

The ideas for posts have come from daily work interactions, colleagues in networks, blog ‘supporters’ providing comments and feedback, newspapers, newsletters, other blogs – anywhere. The intention has been to link theory with practice from the viewpoint of middle managers.

The lack of interest in reading across the sector, especially top management, has limited posts (mostly) to 500 to 1000 words with the ‘long reads’ (2000 to 4000 words) for those with the fortitude for a deeper discussion of a topic. Posts discussing books of relevance have been popular and links to articles are often used. Some people are up for a good read.

The limit of 200 posts has been set to avoid blogging for the sake of blogging or becoming involved in the egotistical and delusional blogging evident on some sites where the author had something to say but after a while they seem to have just started writing to maintain their following.

There is only so much of your introspection and reflection that you can impose on the rest of the world.