Once a week, a new to-do pops up on my productivity software client that alerts me that it’s time to do a blog entry. Most of the time I admire the line and proceed to complete a dozen other tasks that, if not completed, will affect my job performance. Yet, I am fully aware that I am a part-time Web 2.0 evangelist like many of you. Here are a few reasons why educators should blog:
1. Writing requires reflection and greater understanding.
I completed a very non-scientific experiment the last two weeks. In asking people I know how they’re doing, the most common answer is: busy! To write effectively, one must separate themselves from the noise of life and think deeply about important issues. This leads to reflection and usually greater understanding about pedagogical issues.
2. Blogging begins the cycle of collaboration.
At the heart of Web 2.0 is collaboration; a chance to not simply shout one’s thoughts but be held accountable by colleagues via blog comments just below the post. Unlike online newspapers with their ability to create a non-descript username, blogs are honest and open. And, for the most part, blogging participants are pretty respectful toward each other.
3. Blogging allows the writer a chance to have a digital home.
With the explosion of social media, a blog can be a portal for a social media aficionado. If you point everyone to your blog, they can find you on Twitter, Facebook, other blogs, Diigo, Tumblr, Podcasts…
4. A blog can help to brand the writer and build your platform.
Michael Hyatt, a former CEO of a publishing company, recently wrote Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World and I was privileged to be on his Launch Team, a group of 100 people who received the book in advance. Michael’s growth as a blogger is powerful. His book provides ideas on how to use one’s blog (among other tools) to grow a business, product, or brand. Educators are not generally comfortable with self-promotion but if we see growing our brand as supporting our students through our own words and actions online, then it’s justifiable.
5. Blogging encourages students to do the same.
Will Richardson argues that students aren’t really digital natives. In reality, while they may have little fear in using digital technology, they don’t really know how to appropriately utilize those tools. We can model blogging for our students so they can write for a purpose and for an audience.