Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Recapping a year of blogging

It is time to reflect on my first year of blogging (January 24, 2007). My second post laid out specific reasons for my blogging. Have I accomplished my goals? Has my blog made a difference? What do my blog statistics look like? What have I missed? And, what's next?

The most important questions are: Have I, through blogging, made an impact and a difference? Have I influenced someone, even in a small way?

The next several posts will evaluate my blog progress. In this post, I am going to evaluate each of the reasons for which I began blogging:

1. express myself.

Some of my favorite posts do not have a direct relationship with technology. Most of my favorite posts have to do with people who do what is right and having influence. My favorite posts are not the most popular posts. Nevertheless, these are my favorites (in no particular order).

2. maybe teach someone something.
My favorite instructional posts are:

3. teach myself something new.
By blogging, I have learned about writing in templates (Blogger templates) and what works and what does not. I have learned to not focus on the format so much--let the software work.

I have also learned (and still learning) to write for a broader audience. Although my target audience is Extension professionals, and lately, I have broaden that all land-grant educators, I am learning to write for the broader audience. Keeping the target audience in mind helps, but choosing more general words and sometimes general techniques expand the reach to others.

Blogging means that I have to learn and dig deeper than what I actually write. It is like when I am teaching; I have to know more than what I present or teach. I have to know concepts, theory, and facts that don't necessarily get reflected in my writing.

Blogging, in part, has expanded and developed my professional relationships. Other social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, del.icio.us have also contributed to developing relationships.

Though blogging itself did not teach me other applications, it has helped lead me to applications like Twitter and social bookmarking, specifically del.icio.us.

4. determine if blogging is something I should encourage as a viable technology for some of my friends and colleagues.

When I first started blogging, I was not sure how blogging would prove to be a good tool for Extension professionals. I conceptually knew that blogging made sense. I did not understand the process of blogging--finding content to discuss, writing for the web, staying current, and consistently updating the blog. I wanted to understand how difficult this would be for typical Extension professionals.

I had to try it to understand it. I am convinced more now that blogging makes sense for enhancing our existing land-grant educational programs and building trust in online communities. These posts describe the fit:
5. learn to blog so I can help others in my organization is using and writing for blogs.

I've written several posts directed at helping Extension professionals learn the processes of blogging.

From the perspective of meeting my personal goals of blogging, I have met those goals. I want to do more, though.

Watch for the next few posts for more evaluation and future goals.

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