Thursday, September 24, 2009

The art of blogging

Well confession time, I thought that I knew what blogging was and I am learning all the time. In my mind: If you are willing to expose yourself and you thoughts/opinions/ideas to public scrutiny you must be a confident person. Either that or have a great ego. Not sure about facilitation of blogs though. Right that off my mind, let’s get on with blogging. Does that make me a hypocrite or egotistical?

There are some great blogs out there, I was introduced to edublog by a colleague but that was a few years ago and I didn’t have the confidence to join. The first time I blogged was for the Graduate Certificate in eLearning course Evaluation of Best Practice for eLearning. I have just read the Problogger article twitter versus blogging. I have not used twitter so cannot comment. I use Facebook though, there’s a story behind my memberships of Facebook. I was moving from the UK to NZ so my children who were travelling/at uni at the time ‘allowed’ me to set Facebook up so I could keep track on them and they could keep up to date with what I was up to. They made it quite clear that it was only because I was moving to the other side of the world! Does this mean that Blogging is an age thing? Take a look at this one grumpy old people I do notice that the last post was 2005, make up your own punchline. Here’s an interesting article, on blogspot, regarding the changing facebook demographics or perhaps you would be more drawn to pensionbook. Bloggapedia has a similar format to youtube so other people’s blogs are ranked for most popular and new blogs.

As I was surfing through the blogs and reading the articles, I noted that spamming cam up as a downside of blogging and found a link to a wiki site only see an example of the spam in the form of lots of links on the opening page. So is this price of blogging? It’s the wild, wild wiki link Sarah, unless it’s an intentional demonstration!

Ok, so having re-read this blog I feel as though I have a narrative style and wonder if I would have such a narrative on a discussion forum. I do not know my audience so I am writing to the unknown and this probably affects my tone. On a discussion forum I know who I am talking to, well not really but, there is that online community of shared interest feeling that gives me focus.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

online forums

Online forums: I am a member of several online forums. The one that I wish to share with you is I joined the forum in March 2007. This is another forum that I am a member of.

Before I go on to relate online forums to theory etc I just wanted to note that it has taken me three days to get the first paragraph done because every time I went to either forum to look for examples of posts to show you, I got distracted ;) in fact I ended up posting a reply and sending a pm to someone who was in my shoes as of three years ago. I just couldn’t help myself, I empathised with the post for help and that assistance was my initial motivation for joining the forum. Has this brought about the realisation that I have graduated from the ‘anonymous lurker’ to the ‘expert advisor’? Not that I have any delusions of being an expert, it just seemed a fitting term for the transition in this context.

So using the example that I have just given, where does this fit into Downe’s theory? Is it a group or network, or both? What about Ettienne’s Community of Practice? These are two online communities that I am a member of. I originally joined the forum for the reasons of: Common purpose – I wanted to get to NZ and tapped into those who had already made the journey both physically and psychological negotiating the barriers of NZIS and transferability of employment skills. Sounds like a good example of Putnam’s social capital mixed with Tonnies Gesellschaft (for those seeking advice) and Gemeinschaft (for those who are advising and/or moderating/facilitating the forum. It includes the same elements and dynamics as the sense of community outlined in 1986 by McMillan and Chavis only this is the 21st century version.

I have noticed that the same people access both forums. I have noticed that many of the people who gave me advice are still there giving other people advice. I can’t speak for anyone else but I feel that it meets Rheingold’s definition of a virtual community.

A cautionary note:
There was a third forum which has sadly closed now. It was where I got most of my help in 2006. Participation by the owner went dormant. Two moderators carried on and someone eventually took it over but people had moved over, this is when I became a member of the other two. There was also something else gong on, someone started spamming the site and some of the discussions, well lets just say that they didn’t conform to netiquette.

I might try and interview the person who took over the forum………..more to follow……….

Slideshow of photographs