“I’ll never read Don’s Blog”

I was speaking to someone today who had spoken to a colleague who had declared that they had never read my blog and certainly had no intention of doing so.

It’s interesting the response that some people are having to the blogging phenomenon. I think a key factor which is influencing some people is that blogging is seen as being connected with ego. I also think this particular response is connected in some way to how people respond to “management”.

I have four thoughts in response:

1. My blog is having a major influence upon what I do and think (particularly the comments I receive).

2. It provides one window on education from my point of view – in that way it’s no more – or no less important – than any other person who keeps a blog on Exc-el, but what it’s what they do collectively in shaping and providing a balanced perspective on the process of education that makes it such a powerful medium.

3. Don’t read  blogs it if you don’t want to – it will never become compulsory

4. We will communicate in other ways with people and will continue to do so. 

However, I still think that we must be aware that the term “blog” has the potential to be an obstacle and perhaps we should be exploring alternative names…………? If the word only serves to exclude – rather than include – then it becomes serious handicap.

16 thoughts on ““I’ll never read Don’s Blog”

  1. I’m not especially fond of the term blog but can’t offer an alternative at the moment. I see it as opening a window on my contribution to the service for those who want to look in. However, it’s not always the same window. Some days it’s a musical one, others a more generally educational one, occasionally a mere flagging up of a programme/website that might be of interest to others whose interest has got them as far as reading that particular post. The variety is in the job and not added in for the sake of colour.

    As for the ego criticism (which I’ve never actually had levelled at me personally) I only feel that the blog is about me in that I am describing my work and in no way presuming to describe the entire instrumental service.

    So why open a window in the first place? I feel that the public, who paid for the glazing in the first place, might like to see where some of their money goes. Those who don’t needn’t look in.

  2. If only it were the word that were the obstacle….. I read tonight on another blog (forgot where) that blogging is like dancing you have to join in to understand the benefits.

  3. I fear that if it is not the word then there will be another excuse (probably time). Vocabulary is certainly an issue, and one which the new eduBuzz service will take into account following concerns at the beginning of term open group meeting.

    However, we also have to present new ideas at the right time. That’s not in passing, it’s not on the cuff. The most effective means of introducing people to this way of working is to listen to them, find out what they are not having met and find a technology and/or a way of working which might make things easier for them. Sometimes blogging is an answer. Most of the time it is not. The answer, instead, lies somewhere deep inside their attitudes to work, to family, to play, to doing well and what their understanding of doing well is, to what they are looking for in their life, and, finally and most importantly, how much they are willing to share the goodness in their lives with others.

    This last point is the most important one since blogging, wikifying, podcasting…. it’s all about sharing and connecting. If you’re not someone who does that already in your trip to the pub, walk in the park or in the staffroom then a blog isn’t really going to change you.

    Don’t tell the dinosaurs the meteors are coming….

  4. Perhaps a lot of people don’t know what a blog is. I have a feeling that things like internet chatrooms with all their connotations and bad publicity have put a section of people – who perhaps don’t want to know anyway – right off any sort of social communication over the internet. They may use the web to find information they need but are frightened of deliberately sending bits of themselves out into the ether. As Ewan implies, they are happier to take than to share. I have colleagues who I have been trying to get onto Skype for sometime now (to get my phone bills down of course & for conference calls) but they won’t even do that. A blog is beyond the pale!

    I do think that Exc-el is a very well kept secret! Those of you working in education may know about it, but the wider public and users of education odn’t know of its existence. I was very reluctant at first to tell anyone about my efforts but since Christmas I’ve been handing out the link to all and sundry. I haven’t spoken to anyone yet who had even heard of Exc-el let alone looked at it. My posts may well have been very self oriented but I necessarily have a narrow perspective and limited knowledge of the education world. It has been so rewarding throwing out thoughts to a group of highly informed people to whom I would normally have no access at all and getting back a whole bunch of sympathetic and helpful comments. I’m quite sure that when you roll your eyes at my ignorance and really want to be rude, you simply don’t need to comment. Yes, it’s a very powerful medium with huge potential.

    These initiatives always start small and spread outwards, and there are always people who get left out as well as those who make an active decision to stay on the edge. These days, those without television have made a positive opt-out choice. It’s not that long ago since a proportion of the population simply didn’t bother with tv.

  5. Similar to others already, I’m not particularly fond of the term ‘blog’, but to me it seems the term is largely irrelevant next to the gain one receives from reading them. I find it curious that because of blogging (quite exclusively) I know more about the educational questions and issues being examined in your local authority than in mine. That to me speaks volumes about transparency and accountability.

  6. I had an interesting conversation about this recently at the BETT conference in London. When I was talking about some of the benefits of using this tool for collaboration, potentially for pupils too as we are beginning to see, I was challenged with ‘but doesn’t it still come down to egos’. I think there may be instances where that is the case, I don’t know, but I think that if you show good examples this and other tools being used to debate and work collaboratively, people will begin to see where the benefits lie.

  7. I think the comments above echo what most people who ‘blog’ would say on this issue. I have not had the ‘ego’ criticism levelled at me but I have been told that my blog was “F****** S****, pretentious and boring” (a direct quote)by another teacher. I’m not quite sure how to take it but suppose I should be glad in a way that it had such an impact on someone!

    I think when we see students using social media regularly in schools for learning as well as in their ‘social’ lives and the number of staff who blog or use other social media increases, the phenomenon of blogging will become an accepted and recognised tool in the learning process. I suppose criticism will always be levelled at new ideas that do not have easily measured benefits, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to generate data to back up what we feel we instinctively know.

  8. Personally I make a point of not telling anyone I work with, or used to work with, that I have a blog, and I make a reasonable effort to ensure some degree of anonymity.

    I don’t like the thought that anyone might recognise themselves.

  9. Maybe traditional Scottish culture has a particular problem with blogging? You’re supposed to keep your head down, get on with your job and not draw attention to yourself.

    Carol Craig is on to something, I think, with her book The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence (Key messages here). Here are some extracts:

    …Being Scottish comes with a fairly narrow set of attitudes about how a ‘true Scot’ should behave and what he or she should think and this stunts individuality, creativity and enterprise. Many Scots fear challenging these prevailing ideas in case they are criticised, denounced or ostracised…

    So what are the inhibiting beliefs, attitudes and general mindset which lead to conformity? Many arise from Scotland’s Calvinist past and have been reinforced in modern times by Labour movement values. They are so much part of the culture they affect everyone living here (including Catholics and atheists) and include some of the following:

    A prevailing belief that it is wrong to think highly of yourself and that you should just see yourself as the same as others. Americans share this strong belief in equality but in their culture it leads to the view that if we are all born equal then everyone is special whereas in Scotland the notion that we are all equal leads to the idea that no-one is special.

    A strong injunction to ‘know your place’ and not get above your station. This exhortation comes from Scotland’s egalitarian values but paradoxically, in a society where people do not set out in life equal all it does is reinforce class (and gender) inequality.

  10. Your blog is a wonderful medium! How else can a parent gain access to those higher up in education. Had I sent a formal letter into the Education Department I would have got the normal unimaginative bog standard reply. Your reply was from one human to another.

  11. When someone uses phrases such as ” I will never……..” etc I think it tells you more about that person than a blog ever could. It will also leave them feeling ever so silly when the inevitable happens and they read your blog at some point in their life.
    Personally the only thing I’ve ever publicly stated that I shall never do is Morris dancing.

  12. Pingback: Stuart Meldrum » Blog Archive » Support networks

  13. Dear Parent with Standards

    We are trying to establish a new way of communicating – but it will take time to embed it throughout education. A comment such as yours can be a powerful lever for change. Many thanks.

  14. You are welcome Don. In my conversations with parents I mention your blog. There is surprise on hearing this. We all know that performance of service institutions are not impressive. Citizens complain loudly of growing bureaucracy in local and government agencies. We view these local and government agencies as being run more for the convenience of its employees than for contribution and performance. There is a joy out there in realising that there is new management thinking in using technology to connect with its citizens. I look forward to learning more about what you are doing.

    Parent with Standards

Comments are closed.