How to Engage (and Write) A Good Blog

This exchange of comments took place on one of my demo workshop posts and I thought it would be worth sharing here as a post in and of itself. I may share it with beginning bloggers in workshops in the future, and I’d love it if any other bloggers would leave any comments with their answers to Sally’s questions, too.

# Sally Says: September 26th, 2007 at 11:24 pm

I am new to blogging – I am interested in finding out more about how blogging is used for teaching and learning and also what the potential future is for this medium.
I have looked at a lot of blogs today, but often find that they are hard to engage with because of the chronological order of postings ? is this a common problem with blogs. What makes a great blog site ?
Appreciate any comments
Sally

# Mark Wagner Says: September 27th, 2007 at 10:56 am

Hi, Sally. Some teachers in my workshops do seem to be initially put off by the chronological nature of blogs. You might be sure to explore any links that say “about” or “welcome” or “bio” (or something like that) at the top of the page or in the side column. There are usually a few links to static pages that can introduce you to the blog and it’s author(s). Other than that, getting to know a blog is like joining a conversation – or getting to know a person; just read a few recent posts and then if you like what you see, check back (or subscribe) to see what that person writes about over time. Start leaving comments if you are engaged by what they are writing, especially if you’ve been reading for a while and are starting to get a sense for what that person is writing about.As for what makes a great blog site, there are lots of (differing) opinions on that. I’m in the camp that believes there are few rules, but that it needs to be more than an online journal of what happened when – or unsupported opinions. After a lot of exposure to edubloggers like Will Richardson, I like to say that blogging begins with reading or doing something, then reflecting on it, then writing about it, and finally receiving feedback on what you’ve written. (Of course, giving feedback to others is equally important). Also, I like to focus my efforts on two things: making a contribution (by posting original thinking – not necessarily profound or even unique, but from my perspective) and making connections (by including others in my blogging – by writing about them or for them, by linking to them, and by inviting comments). Beyond that, developing your own voice is as important (and natural) a part of blogging as it is with any kind of writing.

I hope this helps. And if you’ve got a blog going, let me know the address so I can follow along. :)

UPDATE: I just realized you included your blog address when you commented. Subscribing now… sadly, there’s no posts.

One Response to “How to Engage (and Write) A Good Blog”

  1. Christy Tucker Says:

    Welcome to the blogosphere, Sally!

    If the reverse chronological order is a hard place for you to start, check out the list of categories instead. Most blogs have a collection of tags or categories that shows the subjects they write about. On Mark’s blog, you can see that he has written a lot about games and education (443 posts as of right now), plus educational technology (150). That gives you some insight about what Mark’s all about.

    Building on Mark’s comments, I think what makes a good blog is that it helps you learn. If you’re blogging for your professional reflective practice, then whatever helps you learn is the right thing to do. When you start out, you probably won’t have many readers, but the number of views or comments isn’t your main goal. It’s figuring out how you can use this as a tool for your own learning.

    Good luck!

    Christy