Sunday, 19 April 2009

Blogger's Guilt or Rediscovering My Reason for Blogging.

Ok so here I am after what appears to be a 6 month break! Life has a habit of getting in the way at times and something just has to give. Since my last post I have changed schools & year levels...what an awesome and daunting learning curve that has been. I know I could have found plenty to blog about... if I could just find the time.

Which brings me to the point of this post, I've discovered an interesting phenomenon which comes with maintaining a blog and developing an audience... 'Blogger's Guilt'. I have seriously spent the last 6 months feeling guilty that I haven't posted on my blog. I have felt terrible because I have abandoned the 2 people who even bother to read my blog in the first place.

Having an 'authentic audience' makes you feel compelled to engage with them. However, sometimes for the sake of sanity you just have to step back... it's an interesting quandary.

During this time I have been busy preparing for my new class, supporting my 6 and 7 year old charges as they take their own tentative steps into the world of blogging, staying in touch with my PLN via Twitter, visiting blogs... predominantly lurking, but occasionally leaving a comment on my own behalf, building an audience for my class blog by leaving multiple comments on behalf of my class, the list goes on and on.

There has also been the issue of what to blog about. Sometimes an idea will come to me or I'll have a play with something new in the world of web 2.0 and I think that maybe I could blog about that. What ends up happening though is that I'll log into my Google Reader and discover that several others have already done/written about the same thing... who wants to be told they're just jumping on the bandwagon - a comment I have seen out there in "Blog Land", put out there by some blogging notables. You start to wonder if your voice is worth sharing if you can't think of anything new to say. For a perfectionist like me this can be the perfect excuse not to try.

After thinking things through for a while and turning them over in my head I had a mini epiphany of sorts... I actually blog for the most important audience of all...Myself!

I originally started blogging as a means of processing through the many thoughts that tumble around in my head. My first blog ( and also sadly neglected at the moment) began as a space to record my daily thoughts and happenings as a form of online journalling. It was a place to post my scrapbooking pages (yes I'm a scrapbooker) and I was really doing it for myself and my family.

Then I discovered the world of the Edublogosphere and realised that I needed a space to process my thinking and learning in relation to my other passion...teaching. I had to start another blog as I really didn't want to bore my grandmother with my musing and pondering about ICT integration and the classroom. The Edublogosphere can be intimidating... you feel like you need to be deep and clever like other blogs you read in order to be relevant. You owe it to your audience to appear to know what you're talking about. You start to blog for the sake of others, instead of for your own sake and some of the original joy of blogging starts to disappear.

Side note - I wonder if there is a risk of this happening to our kids. Already this year I have seen the disappointment on the face of one little cherub in my class because his post on our class blog only received 7 comments when another child had received 17. In both cases I had tweeted several times to invite others to read and leave a comment for my kids. Maybe I just picked a good day for one of them, maybe people were too busy to stop and leave a comment that particular day. I know from my blog counter that both posts received many, many visitors, and yet one missed out on the comments. For one little boy the joy of having an audience was diminished when he saw that his comment tally was less than another's. I'm going to have to think on how to make a 6 year old understand that the number of comments isn't the most important thing... or is it? Hmmmm... I think I have the basis of another post there.

Returning to my mini epiphany, I decided to reclaim the joy, to reclaim my space on the net, to let my voice ring out again... even if I end up talking only to myself. I blog because I want to write, I love to write, I need to write. I blog because I have a lot to think about and process and this is a venue that allows me to do so. I am going to blog for myself. I enjoy having an audience and if you want to take part in my blogging journey, then you are most welcome my friends. However, I've decided I won't allow myself to feel guilty, or to avoid posting because I think my voice is less important then anyone else's.

If you have persevered to the end of this post, then I am most impressed. If you want to share your views I'd be interested to hear them.

Thank you for stopping by.



    Perhaps my 'must read' blogger right now is nothing to do with Edu, Seth Godin. For all those who wonder why would I bother - when there are people like Seth around, and why don't I get comments ... this video is just the tonic. Welcome back.


  2. I like the comment about blogging for yourself. Think of it as reflective practice - and not only for professional life - for your personal life too.

  3. I got there - to the end and I am sure there are more than two of us! LOL

    I tend to blog for myself and to share my learning and record something I think is noteworthy. The comments though are very gratifying to know that someone else is there and I am not just writing for myself. So I try and give as much as I receive in the way of feedback.

    I also blog because I try and model to my kids the sorts of behaviours on line that I want them to have- like not putting my surname on my posts. Someone in the US blogged about my blog recently and called me Allanah Kay cos the assumed that that was my surname!

    I don't think you should feel any sort of bloggers guilt- the day job that we get paid for has to take precedence.

    Keep up the great reflections.

    Allanah Kay

  4. I got there to the end too! You are not alone in your feelings about neglecting your blogging (I feel the same way too!). But you've hit the nail on the head, to do it for yourself.

    I often feel very inadequate about what I blog about, considering some in our PLN are more expert among us and may have tried the same thing, but what is important is how we found it and reflecting on that. There is no such thing as a stupid question,comment or blog. Heck at least we are attempting to have a space in the edusphere and giving it a go!

    The right time to blog is the right time for you. I've started several drafts and not got back to publish them and then because of the passing of time, not posted them at all! But it was useful for my own processing and reflecting to do this.
    I say: all for one, and one for all!
    Kia kaha Kirsten

  5. I'm with you. I, too, have a very neglected blog. I have to admit, it's not the first thing that enters my mind and I prefer reading all the wise words of others, endeavoring to leave a comment. So good on you for venturing back to your blog.

  6. Excellent post - thanks for sharing. There's a lot in here that rings true for me - and the comment re blogging for self is something that we often overlook as a legitimate reason. That's certainly why I began blogging, and remains a very important reason why I have continued. The discipline of reflecting on things I've seen, read or done remains fundamental to why I blog, followed by the fact that it provides me with an archive of those thoughts that I can refer back to when my memory lets me down (which is now a frequent occurrance :-) After that comes the delight in knowing others actually bother to read what I write, and that there may be things I share that contribute to their knowing and thinking in the way you've done in this post for those of us who've read it.
    So - thanks again!

  7. Yay for a super post. I'm fairly new to this blogging and started a personal blog last year as well as a class blog, both of which got sorley neglected.
    I find myself relating to many of your words. I enjoy reading other peoples blogs, and often wonder if what I have to say is of value to anybody!
    However, yes, I started blogging to explore it as a tool for classroom use. To try out the applications I discover and explore, to learn, and to relfect.

    Thanks for your post, I do enjoy reading it! I'm off to check out your classroom blog now.

    Cola :)

  8. Hi girl :+)

    Wow look at all your comments - you can see that we all experience the frustration or guilt of not blogging for a while.

    With that in mind I think it is importnat that we don't create another task to add to our list of "things to do". I say quailty over quantity!

  9. I really loved your theories on blogging and why we blog. I am also questioning the power of the authentic audience outside the immediate world that our students live in. Do they really care what a stranger thinks or does it matter more what their peers and immediate family and school community thinks?
    Do we place too much importance on that wider audience in these early years of learning or can it potentially disable the natural interests and enthusiasm in our students???

  10. Where do you get you little widgets?

  11. Hi all thanks for stopping by - at least I know someone is reading he he he.
    Dean - Thank you for the link, it certainly did provide me with plenty of food for thought.
    Jo - I agree, this is definitely my tool for reflection. I guess it doesn't need to be on line necessarily, but I guess in this way others can benefit from my musings if the wish to do so.
    Allanah - yup definitely more than 2 LOL! I guess really it's because we talk all the time about the importance of audience for kids and the need to maintain our blogs to keep the audience coming back. I certainly agree that the day job takes precedence though. I do a lot of reflecting in my head as I go - I guess it's just a case of jotting it down.
    Justine - I too have lots of drafts, both mental & physical. You're right though, even if others have been there & done that, what is important is how the process is/was for us.
    Barb- Thanks :) I try to visit & leave comments where I can. That sets up a new anxiety - are my comments ok...LOL! I must be a perfectionist.
    Derek - thank you. I think that I do need to look at it as something I do for myself - an audience is an added bonus. Although, it is nice to hear what others think and bounce ideas off them.
    Cola - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It's neat that you are having a go both for yourself and your kids. It's a lot of fun & having your own blog as a teacher is a good way to try things out before introducing them to your classroom blog.
    Hi Jamin - your comment is so true - this should be something we do for the love of it - if it becomes just another task I can see that it would strip the fun away and defeat the original purpose.

  12. Wise, insightful words! These mirror my thoughts amazingly well, and and them I also find the answers to my own doubts about starting my own blog. For me, the primary purpose would simply be a means of expressing thoughts and ideas; if someone else reads them - and goodness knows, even gets inspiration of some sort - well, that would be a bonus! Although I also hope that some ideas I might get to share on the topic of how to progress humankind forward, might find a sympathetic ear out there... if the idea's time has come, it will naturally catch on and spread... which I hope makes a difference somehow.

    Peace :-)