Developing a Blog


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Will Richardson recently reflected on his journey in regards to blogging. He spoke about the changes that have occurred over time and how these have impacted his writing. In another post, he discussed how his authorial voice has morphed from being a ‘tools guy’ to a focus on system change. What is interesting are the actual changes to his writing. Whereas in the halcyon days of blogging he would publish 50 odd posts a month, there came a time when things changed and he wrote less.  A part of this was the change in audience and environment. More recently, he has returned to daily writing as a habit to clarify his own thinking. The lesson that stands out through all of this is that there is no single way to blog.

It can be easy to view a blog as being a set of hierarchical processes. A product organised around a series of clearly defined steps, whether it be creating a space, writing a post, organising around categories and inserting content. This is how blogging is often often spoken about, something simply to be learnt, rather than why and for what purpose.

Another similar such approach is a focus on search engine optimization (SEO). This often leads to worrying about a desired structure of the content, as opposed to the content itself.

A more useful way of appreciating a blog is as a continual act of change and development. This is not a focus on improvements towards some impossible ideal, but rather something that is continually morphing and evolving. Adapting to both the content and intent. On the one hand, the platforms and practises change. Something that Martin Weller has touched upon. However, this development is also personal and more nuanced.

When I think about this blog, there have been many iterations over time. Initially, I started out with the intent to record some of my thoughts and reflections. As I became more connected online, I started engaging in different communities through my blog, such as #Rhizo14 or #CCourses. In addition to this, I began exploring ways to involve different voices, whether it be highlighting comments in a post or curating perspectives, as well as experimenting with modes of expression, including narrativesreviews and an openness to process. On the flipside, my use of different platforms has changed overtime as I have made more sense of the various niches. After beginning with Blogger, I have since moved my main website to WordPress via Reclaim, as well as explored various other platforms.

I was recently asked by someone online how they could get their blog up and running again, beyond simply posting more often. My initial ideas were to tell a story about what you are learning right now, make something new, be the connection that gives other’s a voice or return to why. However, what matters most is where you are at right now. For example, look at the personal blog of Bec Spink. In the past she has included posts exploring classroom habits, uses of Evernote and work associated with her Masters study. Bec Spink does not necessarily post that often on personal blog anymore, but she regularly posts on the Code the Future site. Although she could dual post, sometimes development involves new spaces and new projects. As our focuses change, so to does what we write and post.

In the end, I agree with Bill Ferriter that blogging is about “reflection and making contributions and learning through thinking.” However, what this actually means in action is dependant on context. Although lists of ideas can be useful in providing inspiration, it is always best to start with your own situation and go from there.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

Developing a Blog by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

19 thoughts on “Developing a Blog”

  1. Thank you Aaron. The evolution I have seen in your blogs has prompted my evolution. I try to add substance through quotes and research data. I have become better about applying attribution to media. I have toned down the visual as to not drown out the words. I am writing more, but publishing less, often combining ideas into single posts. I agree with Bill, blogging has changed my personal learning like nothing else. Keep writing and sharing everyone!
    Bob

    1. Thanks Robert. I really could have added more, but just wanted to touch upon some of the changes. I must admit that you have influenced me in regards to listing further resources.
      It is interesting that you talk about writing longer posts. I remember being told that my posts would be better if they were four paragraphs. Although I use this as something of a guide when developing reviews. I find it hard to focus too much on structure.
      In respect to images, I have actually found myself adding more and it is only time which prevents me doing so. I am always inspired by writers such as Marianne Funes and Amy Burvall who find a balance.
      In the end, I think it comes back to your own context and intent. There is never a simple right and wrong.
      Thank you as always for commenting and I am thankful to be connected.

  2. One characteristic of blogging is semi-regular blogging about blogging 😉

    One pillar for me that is old but I came across more recently it Dave Winer’s description of blogging as the unedited voice of a person http://scripting.com/2015/02/07/theUneditedVoiceOfAPerson.html

    The other has always been Cory Doctorow’s My Blog My Outboard Brain (2002!) http://archive.oreilly.com/pub/a/javascript/2002/01/01/cory.html

    Also from a recent blog conversation with Laura Gogia on the concept of audience, but also, she makes a great case for writing in public https://googleguacamole.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/a-few-thoughts-on-audience/#comment-318

    keep on blogging….

Continue the conversation here ...