Is Connection Everything When It Comes to Blogging?
You've spend time whether minutes, hours or days crafting that post and although possibly insecure out the outcome, you went for it.
After bolstering that courage to think, write, and share it's time to hear what others say ... or not.
It is easy to become obsessed with metrics and data about who is reading your work and what perception that provides you about it.
Whether we are looking for connection, significance or validation, as long as we are clear with ourselves about the learning, it doesn't really matter what other people think.
There are many benefits to extending your reflection publicly as discussed throughout this book, but ultimately, your blogging experience is about you and your needs and the needs of your students. Look to fulfill those first, always, never seeking more than encouragement or dialogue from even the folks you admire most.
As a child, I was not the type to worry about what my peers thought of me. I was weird and I was okay with that. Marching to my own beat was kind of my thing and with blogging it has been no different. That doesn't mean I haven't sat wondering why some posts appeal so widely to my readers and others that I have poured my soul into have not resonated as well. The moments of insecurity that begin to dwell and linger like pools of infested water after a storm, sitting and attracting disease infested mosquitos don't serve me well. So I acknowledge them and I left them pass, opting more to focus on the outcome of the reflection.
There was a period where I visited Teach 100 (a website you should consider submitting your blog to) every day to check my ranking among the world of educational bloggers. I'm not quite sure where the need arose from, but I noticed that I became too wrapped up in the number. So I stopped checking. It doesn't matter where I rank, if I'm getting what I need from the blog. And I am.
Although connecting is a big part of why we write publicly, it isn't the only thing. We blog to connect with ourselves and our experiences. So it's okay if you don't get a lot of readers at first (I know I didn't). It took a lot of effort of putting myself out there to attract people to my blog. I changed the theme, and restructured my personal time so that I could dial into the community consciously. It was an effort.
With that effort came pros and cons and it's important we remain cognizant of the time we spend connecting and at what expense. Our virtual personas shouldn't be the ones we connect most with, but rather an extension of the human us that the ideas represent. It's easy to start losing track of time once you get involved with Twitter and blogging, but moderation is key. These powerful tools are here to facilitate our growth as professional educators, but not with the trade off of letting our actual lives become less important.
Recently I was at a conference in another state and I finally got to meet a long time virtual friend with whom I co-moderate #sunchat with. It felt like we knew each other although we had never seen each other in person. She told me that I was exactly the same in person as I am online. This was a great compliment as this is always something I aspire to. No reason to create a second personal account, because I'm just me, authentic, flawed, imperfect and proud both online and off. Who I am doesn't change, although I'm much shyer in person, an introvert, online through the blogs and Twitter, I can amplify my voice without the complications of social anxiety.
As you push forward in this journey of connection, always remember balance. It's okay to take time off when you need it and it is also okay to escape to it in challenging moments seeking answers or space. The best advice, is just be aware and never let yourself get too involved at the demise of something else.
What are some pieces of advice you would share about how you balance work and life?
You can read more about everything blogging in my book Blogging for Educators which is a part of the Corwin Connected Educators Series