Creating My Own Social Network (Blog Response 1)

on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Over the past two years, I’ve noticed myself spending more time online reading the opinions, reflections, and ideas that others post. Often, I have a personal response to what somebody writes: “That’s so true!” “What a great idea!” or “I’m not sure I agree with that…” But because I learned literacy as a one-direction skill (you read, think about it, and move on), I hardly ever post a reply to the blogs or discussion boards I read. I haven’t fully embraced the conversational, read-WRITE aspect of the internet yet.

In part, I think some of the reason I’m a silent participant in the internet is I’m worried about people judging my ideas and posts. A few years ago, I joined the PA Keystones Technology Integrators program. One part of this program is a listserv. During the first few years, people didn’t understand how to properly send messages on the listserv, and other members quickly grew annoyed, responded harshly, and nitpicked over the message content.

This made me never want to post anything. In the last year or two, things have calmed down, and the listserv has once again become a productive, healthy learning environment. Still, I’ve only posted 1 message in 3 ½ years! However, having spent more and more time reading blogs, discussion boards, and wikis, I’m learning that the whole purpose of the read-write web is to evaluate (not judge) and respond to the ideas of others.

I have been taking small steps over the past few months, however. From time to time, I’ll reply to my favorite blog, Teachers Love Smart Boards. Although it’s more of a practical teaching blog (it gives ideas and challenges for how to use the Smart Board to enhance instruction) instead of the philosophical or debate-like blogs that are gaining popularity, the occasional post here and there was a rewarding and growing experience—especially since Jim Hollis (the blogger) always responds to you through email.

I’ve also participated in the Smart Board forum.
SMART Exchange
This has been a great way for me to troubleshoot problems I’m having with my Smart Board, hear what other teachers are doing, and share my ideas. The practical application of these two communities has kept me hooked.

Even though I haven’t yet found my voice in my personal learning network, I have developed a strong (though one-sided) network of blogs, Diigo and Delicious bookmarks, twitter feeds, and discussion boards. I’m noticing that many of the same people participate in the different environments I visit—which makes it feel more personal, and less clinical.

I think it’s time for me to speak up, and start communicating through my personal learning network. I expect my students to blog, post in discussion boards, and respond to others, so it’s probably time for me to do the same. I’m ready (and excited) to take the next step—I just need a little push.


Megan Fritz said...

Interesting, Carrie! Do you think part of this has to do with "owning" the technology? YOu've spent a lot of time in the past few months writing blogs and reading others' blogs. It may just be that you feel part of the community now and are more comfortable with it! You have a strong voice with great ideas. Go for it!

Anonymous said...


I couldn't agree with you more about nervous feelings towards others' responses to your blogs. I hope the next few weeks help us feel more confident and comfortable in our growing participation online.

T/EMS Music said...


I agree with your apprehension toward posting on blogs and forums. For me, part of it is that I know there are many people who know more about technology than I do. It is always a risk to put an idea out there because you never know if you were last person to learn about it! I assume this feeling will fade as we continue to become more comfortable with the members of our social network.

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