Monday, October 27, 2008

Blogging supports other forms of sharing

As described in an earlier post on the educational purposes of blogging, I really do use this blog for reflecting on my own practice and as an ideation sketchbook of my ideas. It is a place to formulate stuff, share formative and summative versions of my thinking about teaching. It has also helped me with other forms of professional sharing. For example, I had a recent piece published in the International Society for Performance Improvement's (ISPI) monthly newsletter, PerformanceXpress. Before blogging, I hadn't considered alternative outlets for my focus was strictly on contributing to refereed journals, with an occasional book chapter and non-refereed journal article thrown in for good measure. [Note: I am a faculty member in a system that highly values refereed journal articles, so my focus isn't unusual. But, the university also cares about professional reach...and let's face it, refereed articles are not always the best way to reach the professional community of practice.] Through the practice of blogging, I have come to value shorter, to-the-point how-tos, commentaries, and missives. A short, clearly presented how-to on a specific teaching strategy, for example, can have immediate influence on practice if widely made available to the folks who have an interest. A blog can serve that purpose, but so can an online newsletter such as PerformanceXpress.

Another reinforced "a-ha" for me is how the content of one's blog can find, with revision and enhancement, a life via some other forum. The content for my short commentary on the educational value of blogging published in the ISPI newsletter -- Contributing to the Thousands of Invisible Threads -- originated in this blog. And, another piece also published in the newsletter about the Pecha Kucha format for presentations originated in this blog. So, this blog is helping my writing, helping me build a habit of writing, helping me develop ideas that have an audience beyond the blog.

This overall positive experience has me now examining what I want to share, why I want to share it, and where I want to share it. And, this is helping me to be more open to all sorts of forums for my ideas. I think this is a fruitful examination for anyone, not only in terms of considering alternative delivery formats and publication avenues but in terms of audience. Consider how you can reach the audience that is interested in your topic, and be willing to share your ideas and work via forums outside of your discipline publications. I'm still working on this one...I almost exclusively publish in instructional design and technology forums. But, I am now excited about connecting with folks outside of my discipline who may be interested in my ideas too. [Note: Hear what Seth Godin and Tom Peters say about the power of blogging.]

As my five-year-old daughter said, "Sharing is hard, but it works out to be pretty good." My response, "Yep, sharing is cool. Let's do it some more."

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