Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Ten years of blogging

I just realised that this blog celebrated its tenth birthday at the start of April and I completely forgot to buy the birthday cake. It all started on Saturday 5 April 2008 with this hesitant post, Why? I was busy investigating all the exciting new social media that were being launched (remember Web 2.0?) and enjoyed reading the blogs of leading researchers and experts in the field. I was unsure about blogging myself on the grounds that no one would be interested in my half-baked ideas but I persuaded myself that maybe the best reason was to use the blog as a place to write my reflections and notes. If anyone else found them useful then that would be nice but the main point was to try blogging for myself and see where it took me. So I started writing short posts about things I thought were interesting and it was fun to have a voice, however faint. I began to realise that the real power of social media lay in making connections across different platforms and to get the most out of this exciting new world I needed to work out my own private communication plan. So I decided that I would use my blog for certain purposes, Twitter for other reasons, Facebook in another way and so on. They all fitted together somehow and still do, at least in my head.

The stats for this blog may not be impressive among major bloggers, but for someone like me with only modest academic credentials I'm amazed at how far I have come. My 792 posts so far (this one makes it 793) have a total of just under 700,000 views according to Google. If someone had said ten years ago that I would have figures like that I would have laughed. In 2009 I added my Swedish blog, Flexspan, with shorter news items about educational technology and it also fitted nicely into my social media ecosystem. That blog has very recently passed one million page views so there's another landmark I am recognising belatedly. So over the past ten years I don't think I have more than a handful of blog-free weeks. Blogging has become a way of life.

At first I was concerned that there were very few comments on my posts even if there were plenty of visitors. I saw how the major bloggers had intensive and absorbing debates on their blogs and thought that was the norm. However, I now realise that most people read and then leave without commenting and I behave similarly. I seldom comment on other blogs even if I read many posts every day. If I find something really interesting I reply in kind by writing about the post on my own blog and referring to the original. What has been rewarding is when the original author of an article I wrote about then comments on my blog. I remember the thrill when one of the major edtech bloggers tweeted about one of my posts and I saw my page view figures spike! That's a great feeling and one that all educators and students should experience. Recognition from a leading figure in the field is an extremely strong motivator.

After a while I began to get e-mails from people who had read my posts and wanted to invite me to speak at a conference or take part in a project and then one activity lead to others. As a result I have had the privilege of travelling to many fascinating places and meeting with so many inspiring people. I have been part of initiatives way above my formal academic level and I am continually amazed that this has been possible. Maybe not only because of the blogging but it has played a large part. The blog has almost replaced my CV since if anyone wants to see what I work with this is where to go.

I will continue to blog as long as there's someone out there who finds it interesting and useful. I thank all of you for your interest.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post Alastair, I had a look at “Why” and I remember writing something very similar called “Sense and nonsense.” Over 8 years of blogging, I have revealed an idiosyncratic voice with which I was unfamiliar... if only for that I am grateful. I often think this is the last time I do this nonsense and then I find more emerges.

    No idea Why :-)