If I were a student in Blog School, the parental note they send home from my blog teachers might bear the comment, “Alan writes a lot, but he does not blog well with others”.

What I hope to get at by the end of this ramble is how, to me, in my opinion, this is not a universal rule… the power and enticement of blogging is the sense of ownership of a place of your own making. You own it, it is a relfection, sometimes fun house mirror distorted, of yourself. It is what the storytellers refer to as “finding your voice” (and using it). You are an editorial board of one, and the review process is instantaneous.

But as your own place, you have a lot of investment in what is there or a lot of reason to focus your energy there. It is yours and yours alone.

This can change when you are invited to blog at someone else’s place. It’s quite an honor, but in my two experiments this year, I have found my interest thin in writing elsewhere. Earlier this year, I was invited to be a blogger in the Apple Digital Campus Exchange (ADCE) which was intended to be:

an online community””a meeting place and resource center open to all faculty, academic leaders, and other education professionals in higher education institutions

and the folks involved were people I read, know, and respect. And they were using WordPress, so no stretch indeed from what I do here.

But there were things that did not feel like home. The main objection I had, was everything was behind a username/password gate, and I found that to be an oxymoron and the word “community” to be at odds– mistaking a community for a place. That has since changed (although there is some sort of publishing review stage in place to make sure no one says anything bad about Apple?).

But even so, I found my own internal resistance about trying to put my voice over there. So my publishing dropped off to nil in the last three months, and this week, I gracefully took my exit strategy.

Likewise, I was invited to write on the Learning Circuits Blog asked to chime in an educational perspective. I tossed a few items out, some of them such as Digital Tools / Paper Mindsets or CNN Vs Education more or less repostings of what I blogged right here.

Again, good group of colleagues, but I have little at stake to write over there. It’s not my house and my heart is not there.

So here is where I sit. I use my blog here as my personal thinking space, and it is my home page, my calling card, for better or worse, and is what/where I am most invested in writing. I have little time as is to write elsewhere, and if some it feels like the same ideas in a different suit of clothes. I just don’t have that kinds of energy. It’s flattering that someone else wants you to write there, but its not the same parallel as a wanna be writer getting a spot at a magazine… I already have my own outlet.

It’s not that I think multi-author blogs and sites won’t work, and yeah, in my dreams I’d be among the first name bloggerati at Many To Many, but I need a really strong burning drive/reason to be writing elsewhere, and I need like an extra 3 days in a week to focus on it… and why not, how about a boat load of cash?

Just kidding. It’s just me, but I have at most enough energy to blog at one place, and it’s my own place. I think we should not overlook the value and power of ownership of personal spaces (if it were not so important, would we be hand wringing over MySpaces?

And in one more sidebar, there was an article in today’s paper about some crime committed somewhere. Someone was murdered. In the last paragraph, they added something biographical about both the victim and the perpetrator that was “found on their web sites” and it was in the vein of personal interests. This could mean that your last word, or what writers may use as biographical data, may be the stuff you blather on your blog.

Now that is going to keep me up late worrying.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Alan, I post at two blogs – my own Teaching Generation Z
    and one set up for my colleagues here at my school as we work through an IWB program. I am tending to agree with you because the team blog ActivBoarding which I post to regularly as a way of “trying” to encourage my fellow staff members is dominated by my content but is fairly shallow compared to what I explore on my own piece of webspace. It has been mistaken by other bloggers as being one of “my” blogs but actually I wanted ActivBoarding to be everyone putting in their own bits and pieces on a regular basis so you only had to look in one spot to see what was going on in our school. But the fact that they are not means they don’t have the ownership you’re talking about to be committed or even bothered to do so. And I will always “save” my most pressing / important posts for my own blog so you could argue, my commitment to the team thing is a bit superficial as well. Yet a part of me still wants to keep it going! Very though provoking.

  2. I don’t understand why they don’t just use RSS? You could write in your own space, but your group could have a special category tag used for posts that related to the online community. Combined with RSS, appropriate posts would be syndicated into the community space and therefore viewable on your blog AND in the community space. Posts not specially tagged would only appear in your own blog. (Or wherever your blog is syndicated, of course, like my own RSS reader). Surely this is a no-brainer?

    They’re just using you to get hits to their site?

  3. Hey Alan: Great post. Despite reading that it’s likely we’ve lost you on Learning Circuits Blog, I can totally understand and agree with your struggle both from a workload standpoint and team blogs not feeling as empowering.

    My take away from your post, and Graham’s comment, is that for a team blog to work there has to be a feeling of being a part of a team, an esprit de corp. Otherwise you’re just another random poster in a disconnected dialogue.

    Thanks for your insights over the past 6 months, Alan. You may not have felt a part of a team, but you did have positive impact.

    Dave
    Blogmiester
    Learning Circuits Blog

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