Writing to Grow – an Introduction to Blogging

This is the fifteenth post in the Professional Development 2.0 series. If you have not already, I would encourage you to start with the first fourteen posts:

Social bookmarking and social networking, as powerful as they are, can both have a tendency to be somewhat superficial in isolation. You can share a link or a short idea, but where is the authentic interaction? Sometimes, people need to post their thoughts or share tools and ideas in more than 140 characters. So, how can people do this? The answer, for most, lies in reflective writing and responding, usually done on a blog.

A good approximation is difficult, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90 percent of teachers who I follow on Twitter have their own blog. There are several reasons to write a blog.

Many people’s thoughts become crystallized as they write. Blogging does not only help people to express what they think; it gives them a viable method to determine what they actually feel. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to reflect on personal practice.

Learning does not occur in isolation. Interaction is vital and comments are the lifeblood of any blog. There is no limit on what you can say in a comment, so you have the space to fully develop your thoughts and reactions. Commenting is what allows interaction on a private blog. It helps to create a sense of community when educators who network on Twitter help each other by commenting on blogs. Self-reflection, the reason for a lot of blogging, is very helpful, but sometimes it helps to have a more objective perspective on a situation. Feedback is what helps us grow.

Blogging also helps you to learn how to write responsibly as there is the potential of a worldwide audience. In the 7 months that I have kept a blog, I have been able to reach people in every continent except Antarctica. It is incredibly humbling to realize that people in so many different countries took the time to specifically look at what I had to say on different issues. I feel honored and it is my hope that I was able to help the educators that have come to look at my blog and their students. The primary reason for my blog was originally a place where I could reflect on my profession, but it has grown into a more dynamic environment where I am able to interact with others from all over the world. Growing a blog audience takes a significant amount of time, so the primary reason to start a blog needs to be personal. If what you care about is only the statistics page that shows you how many people looked at your blog, you will be sadly disappointed and lose motivation. Below is a picture of the visitors to my blog from the last 30 days. As you can see, there is one awesome day, many mediocre days, and many bad days. Thankfully, making money and tracking visitors are not why I started writing. Write for yourself and focus on publishing only quality content and your visitors will increase naturally.

  • http://didactylos.posterous.com Roger Neilson

    Excellently well put. Succinct and hits the nail on the head – its a form of reflective practice is blogging.
    Roger Neilson´s last blog post ..HIts and misses

  • Cecilia Lemos Coelho

    Hi Jason!

    I have to say that your post was just the push I needed to start my blog. Ever since I joined twitter and started building a PLN I have been reading so many wonderful, insightful blogs from my PLN. Posts that made me reflect upon my practice (I’m an EFL teacher at a BNC in Brazil), my beliefs; that made me laugh, that gave me great ideas for activities. posts that made me learn more about my area, where we come from and where we are going… So, I’ve been reading all these blogs and I always felt I had to give something back, but… well, I didn’t have the courage. And what I read here gave me that nudge I needed. So thank you :-) And by the way, I read your post on where to start and I took your advice…gonna go with wordpress. So it’s actually a double thank you!!

    Greetings from Brazil!

  • http://jasontbedell.com Jason Bedell

    Thank you Roger.

    Cecilia, that is wonderful! I am honored that I was able to help. Please let me know when you start your blog and I will add it to my Google Reader. Also, there are a lot of great EFL blogs I can send your way if you need it.
    Jason Bedell´s last blog post ..Comments – the Currency of Blogs

  • http://ilearntechnology.com ktenkely

    Yes indeed, write for yourself, statistics go up and down.
    ktenkely´s last blog post ..Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Lesson

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