Blogs and forums

There has been some discussion about whether blogs or forums are better for connecting. I expect there is no right or wrong answer here – it will be a matter of personal choice. Personally I see the function of each as different.

As I see it, the forums are for asynchronous discussion between large or small groups of people. There is a sense of ‘people in a room’ in a forum, coming in and going out, but gathering in one place.

For me a blog is for personal reflection, although I know that blogs, like Stephen Downes’ for example, can be used to collate information and comment for others. Some people, like Stephen, write their blogs with their audience in mind and certainly making a blog public (which it doesn’t need to be) has an affect on the way in which it is authored. We can receive comments on our blogs and we can post on others’ blogs, but the opportunities for following through on conversation are limited.

I find blogs helpful as a place where I can articulate for myself my own thoughts by writing them down – what John Mason in his book ‘The Discipline of Noticing’ called ‘marking’. He claims that only by marking our reflections will we be able to act on them in the future. For me a blog is a reflective learning tool to enable me to do just this. If people comment on my blog I welcome their comments, am interested and grateful, but I do not expect it nor do I seek it. I think there are other more effective ways to communicate and connect with people, such as through the forums or other group settings.

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