Monday, February 06, 2006

Technology: my pathway into blogging

Tomorrow we have a seminar in IICD with Chris Addison on blogs and RSS and I'm asked to present my 'pathway into blogging' . So I thought of preparing it in my blog (to get away from powerpoint). A lot of 'how tos' already deal with the technical part- but that's the easiest.

I think there are 4 elements which contributed to the start of my blog
1. When working as an advisor in Ghana I got into the habit of documenting my experiences and I started liking the process of documenting systematically and formulating explicit lessons.
2. I saw a few topical and professional blogs that I liked and inspired me as an example.
3. I read a lot about communities of practice for development and thought there were not many good cases and materials available, so I had a clear topic I was eager to dig into.
4. I discussed with various bloggers who encouraged me to start.

After starting, it is kind of scary and you have to find your own voice, topics and blogging rhythm for instance you have to consider:
- Do I write about myself (lifeblogger) or I refer to materials (linkblogger)?
- Do I blog daily, weekly, monthly or whenever I feel like it?
- Do I only write for myself or do I focus on some kind of audience?
- How do you write about people you met, the job you have (after all it's very public).
- Do I focus on the lay-out and features, add audio, pictures or videos or not?
- Do I stick to my topic or wander off?

In my case, I felt very encouraged (and sometimes embarrassed) when I started to connect to other people by eg.:
1. receiving a comment from people I know on MY blog.
2. getting positive feedback by e-mail.
3. receiving comments from a stranger.
4. sending a link to a book author I blogged and receiving a positive reply.
5. meeting someone who knows your blog but doesn't know you.
6. installing a sitemeter and seeing people from Japan, India, Russian Federation are visiting my blog.
7. being announced/pointed to/quoted in a virtual place.
8. meeting a friend f2f and having a conversation on something you wrote on your blog.

Blogging works for me because:
* I installed a blogreader (bloglines) and starting to read other blogs systematically. Having my own blog made it more sensible to read other's blogs. It is a different way of building a network and learning from others, especially about good resources on the web but also about their lives and thoughts.
* It encourages and supports my own learning process, eg. blogging an article forces me to think through the main points, and I have a good and solid archive of what I read.
* It is a personal, dynamic and easily accessible way of writing/reading. Faster, easier to read and less polished than articles in journals and more personal/deeper than discussion boards or e-mails.


Beth Kanter said...

Thanks for sharing this! good luck with the presentation and also happy birthday.

I'm also testing a little utility to track comments

Nancy White said...


Your story rings very close to mine. I have to say, if Seb Paquent hadn't "welcomed me" to blogging with a welcome post and pointer on his blog, I'm not sure I would have made it through that first bit. My current blog was my third try. I guess three times is the charm. So persistence still is part of it for many of us.

Over time, having people tell me they gain value from my blog is what keeps me going now. :-)

Joitske said...

Happy birthday? uhm, little bit early, let me enjoy being under 40 for a few more month!!

Albert van Grondelle said...

I like blogging very much. I am a linkblogger or broker. The only negative point is that I have lost my blog three times, without a traceble cause. So I started over and over again. I don't know ways to prevent the loss of blogs. I was able to start over again, as if nothing had happened, but still it was very disappointing.

Joitske said...

Albert, that must be a terrible experience, was it with blogger as well? I must admit that I print my posts every few weeks, because if it would happen, I'd like to be able to read it still (probably making a backup would be possible as well?)