Why add to the tumult of the world?
– Melissa Pritchard, A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write
Why are you being asked to add more drops into a vast sea of content in the hopes of making a splash? What can you add when one could drown in what already exists? The thought of building and peddling an online presence is enough to make some of us want to put in earplugs and sink out of sight.
Well, besides saturating you with bad puns and metaphors, let me try to wipe some of the sand out of your eyes to create a new panorama. If we start thinking about blogging as floating content the view changes. Being a creator and sharing content affords opportunity to experience rich, multi-lateral connections.
Hawaiian Floating Lantern Ceremony 2016 by Anthony Quintano (source)
There is untold value in the content that you create and or find being floated in public. Duncan Green offers the arguments that blogging builds up a handy online archive and that it’s a way of ensuring that someone reads your research.
Leila Walker notes that:
“In essence, what we’re (mostly) doing is producing open, public scholarship in or beyond our areas of expertise, and we’re creating dialogue in Twitter conversations or blog comments. We are publicly generating, reviewing, and revising the raw stuff of academic work.”
Macabelli and Richardson offer useful insight on the value of developing your personal learning network via blogging. They advocate the use of tools like Twitter to disseminate blog posts, to market them and to attract readers.
“There is nothing wrong with posts that are primarily reflection or narrative, sharing experiences that you feel are important in your own learning and that might be of interest to your readers. Even if you don’t have many readers at the outset, have faith that they will come if you are consistent in writing on your blog, and in using these other tools to grow your connections and, as a by-product share your blogging to a wider audience. Make sure you interact with your readers as they begin to comment on your posts; responding in the comment thread is a great way to deepen the conversation and connection.”
They also place importance on the notion that ideas spring from the things you read. As you read, reflect and learn from the flow, sharing and curating content that floated into your net adds to larger a conversation. Therefore, a key to creating connections while blogging is linking to others as well. This provides valuable context to what you are writing about and bloggers you link will get a trackback notification.
By writing, participating, curating and developing an online presence, you are not simply adding to a briny sea, you are engaging in your own personal learning practice.