Seven Years of Blogging

It seems fitting somehow that my blog turns seven years old as I am currently attending my first ever ISTE conference. I am also starting a new job 1,000 miles away from the place where I have lived and worked for the entire time I have written this blog. I started this blog because I thought I had something to say about education, and I was impressed with what I was seeing in the edublogosphere (which was much smaller at that time). I didn’t try to analyze what I would focus on or what my audience would be. I just decided I would write about the things that interested me, and if they also interested others, so much the better. I still think that was a smart move because even when months go by without a post on this blog, I know that I am writing here still because I want to share something, not because of any expectation I set for myself. I have seen so many good bloggers quit over the years, and I think that they are partly crushed by unrealistic expectations:

  • They feel pressure to build a huge audience really quickly. I know how it feels to think no one is reading your posts. You don’t see comments. It feels like an echo chamber. But over the years, I have heard from lurkers who might never leave a comment but still get something out of what I post. There are a lot of bloggers with wider audiences, and there are all kinds of reasons for that, but I feel blessed to have a supportive readership.
  • They feel they need to focus on one thing. It’s true that niche blogs seem to do well—just a focus on math or technology or educational policy. But I think sometimes folks put themselves in the position of feeling like they can’t comment on other things because their audience expects them to write about one subject only. It’s your blog, and you should explore topics that interest you.
  • They set up a posting schedule and/or feel they must write every day. Write when the spirit moves you, I say. If you force yourself to write every day or to write according to a posting schedule, you are going to wind up treating your blog as work instead of your own reflective space. I am guilty of this, too. I have a posting schedule set up in my calendar. I was worried about how little I was posting, not realizing that part of my silence was due to some real unhappiness on the job. I determined that a posting schedule would solve my problems. I couldn’t follow it. I started feeling guilty, and I worried no one would stick with my blog. It didn’t turn out to be true, and putting that pressure on myself only made me want to blog less. Blogging when I want to about what I want to made me love my blog again.

This conference has been amazing so far, and I am sure that once I have had time to think, decompress, and reflect, I will have plenty of posts about it.

Image via Martin Thomas

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7 thoughts on “Seven Years of Blogging

  1. Thanks for posting this. I've only been blogging about 3 months, but getting followers is harder than I thought! Your words are encouraging! I decided not to write about education, but about the things I see — it's an ever-changing landscape and I love living my life!

  2. Thank you for this post. I started blogging with my students five years ago, but gave up after two, then switched to Ning, only to abandon that after a year. My classes have been without blogs for the last two years and I have recently decided to try again. While considering what changes I will need to make in order to be successful this time around, I had already decided that I should set a schedule for my students. I think your point about a schedule turning a blog into work is true with high school students, as well. Although I still need to set some type of criteria and requirements, I may have to reconsider exactly how I will incorporate and schedule blogging. Thanks for the insight.

    • Heather, if you want to see an example of a student blog done well, you might check out Worcester Academy's WA English 8 Blog. I think their teacher really gets it in terms of creating a blog based on student interest. I can put you in touch with her if you like. She will be one of my new colleagues at Worcester Academy.

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I've avoided blogging because someone told me I needed a focus and couldn't be diversified. I know I don't have time to maintain more than one blog so it would need to include everything. You're right – it should simply be my own reflective space. If someone else is interested – great, if not, there is still value for me.

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