In the last several weeks, I’ve found myself searching by blog posts for comments that I’ve made on issues that have come up on online discussions in several of the courses I teach. As I started to write a comment in a Blackboard-based discussion, it occurred to me that I had already documented the point I wanted to make in my blog. It was easy to copy a portion of my old entry or link the students to the entire post.
In some arenas, quoting one’s self can be considered a little obnoxious. But that possibility aside, these instances reminded me that one of the points of keeping this lately-too-neglected blog is to process my experiences and learning into coherent summaries and opinions. As I have noted before, 🙂 writing really helps to crystallize my thinking. And thinking out loud opens the door for collaboration as well.
In his new book, Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson points out that as a whole, people are writing more than perhaps they ever have in the history of the world – Thompson’s rough estimate is that we produce 3.6 trillion words, the equivalent of 36 million books every day. And while not everything posted on the internet is a gem, a substantial bit of it represents real thought and – more importantly – allows us to learn from and with one another – an important activity in a world of ever-emerging ideas and practices.
I know my own thinking has been influenced by both well-known bloggers and everyday professionals who have shared their experiences and frameworks. I have received a number of comments in this forum that pushed me to rethink positions and expand my perspective, and I count that as a gift. While of late, I have noticed that people are not posting comments and cross-referencing blogs as much as when I first started blogging over five years ago, it’s great when posts generate online discussion and prompt debate.
I would also like to offer thanks to the blogging community that keeps me well-informed about the latest ideas and practices. Knowing about other professionals’ work and theories-in-development enables me to be a better professional and teacher myself. I track blogs on all sorts of topics of interest, and they give me real insight into what others are thinking and doing. I quote and link back to them, too. If you’re interested, a portion of my blog roll can be found on my public Netvibes page. (Please use the comments section here to recommend others if you like.)
So, recent experiences and conversations prompt a renewed commitment to blogging for me. I’ve already made note of several ideas that I need to think through more carefully, and writing a blog post about them should do the trick. I hope you’ll check in – and comment along the way.