Why I blog

I have been blogging for a long, prescription long time now. Yes I go through phases of inactivity but on the whole I post on a fairly regular basis. My motivation for starting came from Martin Weller. I asked his advice about starting a blog. He said post on a fairly regular basis and follow other bloggers with similar interests. Well I can honestly say that blogging has transformed my practice. I blog about a whole range of things; half-baked ideas I am trying to work up, cheap summaries of interesting conference presentations or publications, or updates on project work. I love being part of the blogging community, and find it great when people post comments. Blogging during the writing of my recent book, Designing for Learning in an Open World, was particularly useful. It motivated me to get on with writing chapters. The thought of writing a single authored book was daunting, whereas writing a 500 word seemed more manageable and once done was the start of a chapter. I would love to hear why others blog and what they value about it!

14 Responses to “Why I blog”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Hi Gráinne
    Really interesting question! I have been blogging about once a week as part of a group blog for just over a year now and have found it invaluable. It really helps me clarify and flesh out rough ideas, and since I started blogging I now find it incredibly easy to write. I think nothing of putting together 500 words or so when previously it would have been a challenge or at the very least, far more time consuming. Now I can write a 500 word draft in around 30 minutes (although this may not be of any quality lol!). I think writing regularly also makes me far more reflective and conscious of my day to day practice. I also think blogging get s a lot easier the more you do it which is why many people may abandon it after a short while; if you persevere and get through the early days it really pays off! I might steal your idea and blog about why I blog myself :)

  2. Sarah Says:

    I started blogging as a way of sorting out my thoughts, but my PhD supervisor has told me to stop as she worries that it will cause me a problem because I will have published stuff I use in my thesis :-(

  3. Gráinne Says:

    Hi Michelle and Sarah thanks for these comments and I totally agree! Sarah that is very short sighted of your supervisor imho… Blogging is date stamped and can be referenced. For my recent book in the proposal I said I would live blog drafts and Springer accepted this. And they are as conservative as it gets! So tell your supervisor to get up to speed!! Blogging is a very valuable part of doing a PhD!

  4. Sylvia Currie Says:

    It appears that I’m only an occasional blogger, but the truth is I have a zillion draft posts. This habit of mine used to frustrate me — that I just can’t seem to find the time to finish and publish posts. I’m always moving on to the next thing. But at some point along the way I began to realize that I still get enormous benefit, and accepted the fact that the draft folder will always be bigger than the published folder. It’s my journal, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to hit ‘publish’ more often!

    p.s. Sarah, remember it’s YOUR work!

  5. Clint Lalonde Says:

    Sarah, that is terrible advice from your supervisor! When I was working on my Masters thesis, blogging my reflections of the research data was a critical component to the validity my research. It helped me see my own biases more clearly, and allowed me to get feedback from peers whose opinions I respect. Keep on blogging and promoting open scholarship!

    For me, I first started blogging about 10 years ago for a very personal reason - I was about to have my first child and blogging made it possible to connect with other Dads in a way that provided me a lot of support as I suddenly found myself struggling with (among other things) work/life balance. I don’t Dad blog as much these days (the whole parent blogging space got strange and became a business model a few years ago - thanks Dooce!), but the blog still lives and I go back and read what I wrote many years ago and see the echoes of my life. I am _so_ happy I captured those moments because they reflect who I was and how I felt at the time - the joys, struggles, humour - it is all there in a format that - for me - is much much richer than photos and videos.

    Professionally, blogging has allowed me to connect with so many wonderful people whose ideas have inspired and informed me in ways no other professional activity has.

  6. Emma Says:

    Like Sylvia, I’m great at draft posts … I started blogging when we decided that we’d get students to blog on a new MSc we were just starting - and I thought I’d better practice what I intended to preach …
    That MSc is no more, my blogging waxes & wanes. I’ve have to move it a few times, due to changes in servers at work; I’ve recently mirrored it on my personal webspace, with the intention of starting to use that one as the main location; though I have yet to actually do it!

    At the moment, twitter seems to be more useful for quick things, we’ve now got G+ campus wide for staff as well as students, so starting to put more in there, but feel that ultimately, I prefer the blog. Just need to grasp the draft devil by the horns & do something about it.

  7. Emma Says:

    P.S Just checked, first blog post was August 2004. I really can’t let it die now!

  8. Gráinne Says:

    Sylvia I don’t think you are alone in this, and maybe it is ok - kind of a private personal blog ;-)

  9. Gráinne Says:

    Totally agree with you Clint - I always recommend blogging to my PhD students!

  10. Gráinne Says:

    Twitter is great Emma, but blogging better for more detailed reflective thinking imho. Haven’t really got on with Google+, doesn’t seem to add anything to what I get through blogging, Twitter and fb!

  11. Emma Says:

    Oh, I fully agree that blogging’s much better for more reflective posts - indeed, it’s the reason why I had a Twitter account for 15 months before I wrote more than “Just testing” - and, it’s why I feel I ought to get back to it & start to move the drafts to full posts.

    G+ … yes, I agree, in many ways it doesn’t add anything, but as I’m getting my students to use it, I felt I ought to use it too.

    What I really need to do is to start to see different uses for all 3; so, blog for reflective work type stuff, G+ more for sharing links etc., that are of interest to the students I’m currently teaching & twitter for quick stuff.
    (Not to mention Flickr & the personal blog I set up over a year ago to document my photography experiments & never got beyond about 3 posts!)

  12. Gráinne Says:

    Yep Flickr is great this Photo a day challenge has enabled me to explore how it can be used as a community space. Nice use of Google+ with students btw

  13. Norman Says:

    Hi Gráinne,

    Blogging seems to be the black sheep of student practice. How would you characterize the relationship academia has with blogs and bloggers? It seems to nodded to, smiled upon and quietly forgotten. Student sniff, have a go and seldom return, yet it is being continually pushed during H800.
    I have it fairly clear in my brain, but hasn’t the time come to acknowledge that it is an activity that happens in the margins and retains the affections normally assigned to the Brussels Sprout in the students mind.

  14. Gráinne Says:

    Yes shame blogging isn’t recognised as a valid form of academic discourse… maybe in time it will be…

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