Monday, May 14, 2007

Blogging Policies for Extension Professionals

A friend of mine sent me this Inside Training article, "Blog Patrol". The article which is directed at the corporate world made me wonder if Extension organizations have developed policies specifically for employees who decide to blog.

There are no specific blogging policies at our university and Extension System. My guess, though, blogging falls under "appropriate use of computer resources." I am blogging as employee, using an blogger.com, and using university resources to connect to the blogging service.

Although blogging is a great way for Extension professionals to share their knowledge and expertise, only a few are blogging at that moment. Because we, as an organization (ACES), have not encouraged individual blogging, most people have not given any thought to blogging. Interestingly, we were one of the first Extension organizations to have a news blog. It is maintained by one individual in the Extension communications unit. Only a couple of different groups have begun blogging in specific topic areas (i.e. home horticulture).

I am wondering in other Extension services, is blogging encouraged, discouraged, or not even discussed? What kind of support is given to bloggers? Does your institution provide blogging services within your organization's web site? If there are policies on blogging, what are they?

4 comments:

Eli Sagor said...

Hi Anne.

Responding to your question about whether blogging is encouraged, discouraged, or not even discussed:

In my experience, blogging is coming up more and more in Extension, partly due, at least recently, to Beth Kanter's involvement in the eXtension webcasts.

But it's still new, and (as I commented on Larry Lippke's blog) there are very few models we can point to and say "Look: here's how THIS Extension program used web tools to a) more fully engage their audience; b) quickly aggregate information and make it available; c) reach new audiences; or...?"

Does EDEN use RSS to collect incident updates during local natural disasters? Do other programs do similar things?

We need clear examples of how these tools will help us do our work better. Otherwise it's just something else to learn and we're all too busy.

Thanks for the post! I love your blog.
-eli

Anne Adrian said...

I too think blogging is being introduced in Extension. Before now, not many Extension professionals have seen (or been aware of) blogging potential for individuals.

I find myself thinking we are in the chicken and egg syndrome when we are waiting to point to model Extension sites. There are a few. And, those few are at least showing other Extension professionals potential of blogging.

As you elude in your comment, I think that there are a conglomeration of tools that Extension (and research) could use to enhance our educational efforts and engage new audiences. The openness and unstructured environment is unsettling for many, though.

Thanks Eli for your comments and by the way, I noticed your bookmark in http://del.icio.us/esagor on the training slideset. I think I might share that slideset the next time I am starting a meeting. It’s a nice little slideshow to indicate the pervasiveness of electronic communications.
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