Category Archives: blogging

Blog Off!

So what happened?!  This blog started (reasonably) well… but then no new posts for well over a year!  :-S I’m not sure I know the exact answer, but it lies somewhere between me, my personality type, the changing nature of my job and the not insignificant emergence of Twitter.  When starting out this workblog, I attempted to set myself some groundrules… and typically I broke them! It was meant to be a trial, and, as with most trials, some things worked but others didn’t.

So, what worked?  First, getting into the habit of reflecting and writing was a positive experience (and one that i’ve continued in a more private space).  However, writing posts needs time, and I soon found that I didn’t have much of that.  This is a common reaction people have when asked to blog, “When do I find the time?”, and despite my attempt to “make time” my experience was that it got eaten into by other tasks deemed to be of a higher priority.  Actually, thinking back, the majority of my posts were written on train journeys, taking advantage of time when travelling around the country. Indeed I find the train a good place to get stuck into more creative work and brainstorming ideas.  Perhaps it’s the feeling of grabbing opportunities for peripheral tasks, or perhaps it’s simply my positive reaction to the changing landscape out the window, i’m not sure. (My back is to the window at my desk in the office, btw. Not an inspiring place to work unfortunately!) And yes, i’m writing this on a return journey from London!

So, what now? Well, i’m keen to return to my workblog and endeavour to post to it again. The good ship Netskills moves on and there is now a general acceptance that personal blogging is an important and positive communication activity and, most importantly, that time can be booked out to write posts. Indeed that leads onto a statement I made recently along the lines of, “I spent so much time typing… but so little actually writing.”  How many people can relate to this?  Alarm bells should be going off for anyone who spends their day suffocating underneath an avalanche of email, not quite getting onto the report, book chapter or blog post that needs writing.  Twitter (which I think is a fabulous communicative tool that’s being used in all sorts of innovative ways!) is also partly to blame…  Very quickly we’ve got used to writing and consuming 140 character tweets.  I ask myself, how many of the 700 odd tweets i’ve written over the last year could have been developed from a quick idea or reaction into a fuller, short blog post?

Laying down the rules

So i’m up and running… my workblog is live and I have my first comment – thanks Hector!

I’ve been thinking about setting up this workblog for a while; I started thinking about it more seriously after the JISC Services Skills Day in Oxford in September, where I was finally convinced of the professional merit of blogging.

I’ve been mulling over the possibilities since and have planned the types of posts i’d like to write and considered my reasons for doing so. Partly it’s experimental, partly it’s to record my thoughts, and partly it’s to amplify my work at Netskills. I know that my personality thrives on interaction and collaboration and that my most lucid thoughts are in response to the insights of others, and if my workblog can provide the platform for joint endeavour (in a very CoP kind of way!) then great.

However, in order to take the plunge and get my workblog started, i’ve decided upon a couple of groundrules. Please berate me if I break them!

  • In the first instance, this workblog is a 30-day trial. I’ve read a number of articles on lifehack.org over the last six months and one tip I particularly like is that anyone can do anything for 30 days. This is enough time for practice to become habit, be it walking to work twice a week, learning 5 new words every day or writing a workblog. After such a period one ought to be able to make a sound judgement of the effectiveness of the adopted task. So, 30 days is my initial commitment to this workblog, during which i’ll post at least twice a week. At the end i’ll publish my reflections. Could that pre-Xmas posting be my last?
  • No messing with style. Anyone who’s suffered my on our Writing for the Web workshop (including 7 of you in Dublin today!) will know that i’m passionate about web copy. Text, text, text is the most important content on any webpage. So, all my energies are going into the actual writing of this blog … at least during my 30-day trial period. I have, of course, already messed around with the various templates available, and i’m dying to work out how to access the CSS files… but for now, it’s staying visually simple!

So, i’m a blogger now … Why?!

Hello all … well, only me actually right now! 😉

Before I dive headfirst into the world of blogging, here’s my reasoning for setting up a workblog.

I definitely have concerns… concerns shared by lots of new bloggers i’m sure. Am I diligent enough to keep up a blog? Will anyone read it? Do I have anything interesting to write?

But how will I know unless I try! I read a number of blogs and am interested in the opinion of others – it’s often far easier to make a judgement about something by either agreeing or disagreeing with a stance or opinion. It’s difficult to make a judgement in response to factually presented information, whether it’s printed or online, textual or spoken. To me, the added value of blogs is the access to other people’s opinion and one’s emotive response to such opinion. However, of course, opinion on its own is useles – it has to be well formed, credible, valued and respected … but definitely doesn’t have to be agreed with.

Is anyone interested in my opinion? Hmmmm, well, I hope so … I am a trainer after all and over the last two and a half years i’ve delivered workshops and sessions for around 1000 people. Blimey!

But I don’t intend to use my workblog as a personal soapbox … I intend it to be reflective, and to supplement and support my work at Netskills. I’m aware that we generally only have a transient relationship with our workshop attendees, but often wonder how people get on after they’ve attended one of our workshops. Also, our workshops are constantly evolving as the web develops, new technologies emerge and modified working and learning practices are adopted. I hope to keep people who’ve attended my workshops “in the know” via my workblog – please let me know if you find my postings useful!