did your grandmother produce a script for television show?
sounds silly, doesn’t it? but there’s this notion going around today that all learning professionals should be blogging. as well as all their learners. wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone was blogging? or podcasting? or mashing up all kinds of content to make online cookbooks that google maps where the ingredients were harvested and packaged, photos of the dishes from flickr and/or photobucket, in a wiki environment that tracks the variations on the recipes and lets all visitors vote on the variations of course with an rss/atom feed to your mobile phone.
that all learning professionals should be blogging is about as likely that your ancestors all wrote a novel when the printing press was created or wrote a tv script when the telly was introduced.
now i’ll be the first to go on for as long as you will let me about what a great experience blogging as been for me, but i know it’s not for everyone. some headaches of blogging that almost stop me from continuing this silliness:
- remembering to post something (you’d think i’d have something else to be doing)
- finding a topic that means something at least to me (and what about my readers? hi mom!)
- or a topic that hasn’t already been blogged to death by the great blogosphere (how often have you heard of someone doing a google blog search and they come up with zero matches!?!?)
- being able to articulate it in a fashion that isn’t embarrassing to me (like writing without capital letters isn’t weird enough!)
- find the time to write (it’s a beautiful evening outside while I’m writing this – what am i doing sitting at the computer – again!)
what is it about us humans that when we latch on to a new innovation we have to get everyone else to use it too. it happens over and over again. i remember some english as a second language instructors saying that with the advent of the internet, back in the stone age (circa 1987-ish), that all we had to do was put the library of congress online and students would be able to learn english on their own. yeah, right. and if I drop you out of plane with out a parachute on, you’ll learn how to fly. sheesh!
back in august, i reported on the future of media conference. one of the bits of data they included in their report was from the pew internet and American life project which found that 8% of the adult americans have posted to a blog. my reaction was “that’s about right.” 8-10% of the american adults would be roughly 20 million people.
blogs are great for some people and a total nightmare for others. aren’t we learning professionals for the most part promoting more independent learner strategies like constructivism and informal learning? if so, why would anyone expect everyone to enjoy the same means of creating content?
beyond a simplistic response of “if everybody is authoring, who’s reading?” there are two reasons we should let go of this idea that blogging is the solution.
first, web 2.0 has created all sorts of ways for people to share content and create new meaning alone and together. blogs, wikis, lists, voting, rss feeds, timelines, photo sites, podcasts, vlogs, plogs, mashups, etc. let everyone find their own way of making meaning. we as learning professionals should be familiar with as many of the tools as possible, but that doesn’t mean we have to use them all regularly. the same pew report found that 1/3 of all americans had created some sort of content on the web. now that’s cool.
second, the technology may just be getting too much attention today over the content. an interesting statistic from a yahoo! white paper – 27% of americans use content which is served to the site they are using by an rss feed. yet only 4% of americans know what rss is. that means only 1 in 7 know how their my yahoo! or msn pages are being assembled and that’s the way it should be.
as innovations move from the inventers and the early adopters, they most often become embedded into or combine with other topics. i’ll dare to predict that blog usage will continue to climb well into the stratosphere as a percentage of humans on the planet, but it’ll be every once in a while and likely as a part of a word processor or a email system at work. but most won’t be “bloggers.”
just like you don’t have to know how your tivo marks the digital video files so that you can skip commercials to enjoy the benefits of forgoing ads, people will be sharing ideas and arguing about fine points of nothingness on the internet well after i’m long gone. So, if the argument is every learning professional should be writing, reflecting, creating meaning with others, then I’ll agree with you. But every one should be blogging. Nah.
(but my great-great-great-great grandniece will have this blog as a remembrance of what was happening back here in the frontier of the web!)