This is a ‘Mike Bogle’ phrase which tripped off his tongue in his response to my last post. It was so great to receive Mike and Matthias‘ and Robin’s responses, which have stimulated my thinking and encouraged me to dig deeper into why I blog. It also encouraged me, Mike, to have a go at producing a video response to your video, but having tried it, I don’t think it does me any favours :-)! So here are my thoughts in text.
I suppose the big question for me is, how many people would continue blogging if their blog was private rather than public? Can blogging be sustained without an audience? For this post I am definitely talking to Mike, Matthias and Robin and to anybody else who ventures here. I am also talking to myself in the sense that I am thinking aloud, but I am very conscious that I may have ‘listeners’ or an audience. So whilst I may be ‘scratching my own itch’, I am looking around to see who is watching. I feel that this can’t not affect what I write.
Mike, Matthias’ and Robin’s responses prompted me to read a journal article which I recently received from a colleague, about blogging in higher education.
Kerawalla, L., Minocha, S., Kirkup, G. & Conole, G. (2008) An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging in higher education. J. Computer Assisted Learning.
These authors studied the factors which influenced their students’ blogging and ‘identified six factors that influenced their blogging: perceptions of, and need for an audience; perceptions of, and need for community; the utility of, and need for comments; presentational style of the blog content; overarching factors related to the technological context; and the pedagogical context of the course.’
Students had different reasons for keeping a blog. They might be carrying out course directed activities and sharing them, carrying out course directed activities and blogging for themselves, blogging as a reflective learning activity, blogging to keep themselves motivated, or blogging as a way of recording and storing information.
It seems from the research that everyone blogs for a different reason, and so it is not wise to be didactic in expectations of students’ blogging. For myself, I think I have a multitude of reasons for blogging. My current focus on why I blog, has arisen from the fact that it’s one thing to blog for a course (i.e. the connectivism course), and quite another to sustain a blog that is no longer stimulated by a course. So I feel that this blog and my writing to it are undergoing an identity crisis which I will have to work through if I am to sustain my blog writing.
The primary reason I blog is, as discussed before, to mark my thinking about my learning, i.e. to actively engage in reflective learning. But I can’t dismiss, in a public blog, the audience. So I also think about who might be reading, will they understand what I am ‘saying’, will what I am ‘saying’ be of interest, am I sufficiently articulate, is my presentation clear, have I checked my spelling and grammar, should I add photos etc. All these audience-related questions give the writing a slightly different ‘flavour’ than may otherwise have been the case.
I will have to think about Mike’s comment that if my posts are relevant to me they will be to some others. The interesting thing is that I won’t necessarily know. If the audience chooses not to respond or comment, it may not be because the post is not relevant, but simply because it’s enough to read it – a bit like enjoying a play at the theatre but not necessarily wanting to applause.
I did very much like your comment Mike about posts contributing to a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. That is something to hold on to.