This is my 5th year blogging. For most of my time blogging, blogging has been a way for me to share what is going on in class with my students and their parents. My goals in blogging were really not to share great ideas or information to the world. Blogging was just a convenient, efficient and organized way to keep students and parents in my classes up to date and informed. I have also blogged to report on specific events like the blog I created to share our team journal from the Heifer Educator's Study Tour to Honduras or my blogs sharing about various sessions at conferences written mainly to inform the people who sent me that I had indeed used their resources wisely and the conference was well worth the time and effort. Last year, I started the Opening Doors To Digital Learning blog out of a deep desire to share what I learn from my online Professional Learning Network with those teachers in my own district. I was so excited about what I was learning, but felt frustrated with the fact that I didn't really have a place to share with those working in room next to me or the school across the district. I was collaborating and sharing with people on the other side of the world, but didn't really feel that I had a voice in my local community. This has changed a bit with my new position as Technology Professional Development Specialist for the district, but not really that much. I have comments on my blog from the other side of the world, but not one comment from someone working within my district even though that was the original focus of my blog. So as my audience has been defined, I have changed who I write my blog for. I now think about my online PLN when I share and not just about my local community even though, at some point, I hope that they will be a part of my audience as well.
As a part of the 30 Days to Being a Better Blogger Challenge that Steve Dembo is leading, I was challenged to write a thank you note to someone who encouraged me to blog or to someone who has encouraged me by linking to my site or commenting on my blog. The first people who came to mind were Dawn Mahler and Wendy Ragusa. Both of these ladies had children in my classroom. Every day, I was faithful to blog about our day in class and share important news. The blog went out as both an e-mail and a post to the blog. I could count on both of these ladies just when I would be questioning whether anyone ever read what I had taken the time to write, I would receive an e-mail commenting on the blog or asking a question that made me know that yes indeed, someone was reading. I would also find myself in conversations with parents in other classes or from other schools. When I would tell them my name, they would say "oh! you are the teacher who blogs! I wish all teachers would do that." So not only were these ladies and others actually reading my blogs, they were sharing the blogs with their friends. I have shared many times to both of these ladies what an encouragement they were to me.
I still don't receive many comments on my professional blog, but each one encourages me to keep on blogging. During the summer, I did a blog entry on Twitter vs. Plurk. I got 9 commnets on that one. (a record for me) Each from someone I really admire. The highlight for me was when Steve Dembo actually linked to that blog in something he was writing. Very exciting.
So, yes, maybe we start out blogging for different reasons, but knowing that someone is out there reading your blogs, commenting and participating in the conversation with you makes it all that much more meaningful and valuable.
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