Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blogging: how to make it work: My Take on This

Blogging: how to make it work

Here is a good, short piece on why it's worthwhile to blog and how to make it work.  It also provides links to other helpful pieces.

Why people blog is a very good question.  Prior to this blog, I ran an educational listserv for approximately 7 years, then a colleague, Dr. Susan Empson, who subscribed to my listserv suggested that what I needed was a blog.  So I looked into it and got immediately hooked. 

I could do a deep introspective analysis of this, but I'd rather point to the power of the First Amendment (free speech) and its importance to democracy, on the one hand, and the power of blogging for extending voice, presence, and power, on the other.  For researchers and academics, our value-added, I would think, is that bring the best of what we know to bear on important issues of the day.  As academics, if I may generalize, we're a different kind of political actor when we blog.  We're always trying to educate our audiences through a weighing of evidence that within our areas of expertise, in particular, seems to be the least that we can do for a public that is continually bombarded with so many messages, interests, and ideologies that lurk beneath.  So blogging presents itself as an ethical counter-weight to the commercialization of so much information today that masquerades as "knowledge."  This is so important to free, open, and democratic societies.

I'm actually somewhat mystified by many academics' fear or resistance to social media when our practice, in my mind, should always be one of raising silent voices and broadening and deepening perspectives in a democracy.  Borrowing from the late Brazilian educator Paolo Freire, while our students should ideally learn and command the skills and tools of democratic citizenship, I fear that too often their instruction is more for their domestication, than their liberation.  

That said, I totally empathize with the difficulties of "finding one's voice" in the blogosphere.  It's not easy for anyone, but it is a practice that for everyone evolves and unfolds, sometimes painfully, myself included.  There are risks involved, but the benefits of developing and ultimately "having a voice" in the public sphere overwhelm any negatives.  

Personally, I'm grateful for this opportunity to blog and additionally see it as my digital footprint, my legacy.  What digital footprint will you leave behind?  Now that's something to consider.

Angela Valenzuela

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