When I started blogging last year I was hesitant to publicly post for a variety of reasons but I expect they all related to my lack of confidence with the medium, and also with my lack of awareness of the 'rules', of blogging. I didn't want to write something that might be considered 'innapropriate' in a blog post, because anyone might read it. Little did I know at that stage that attracting an audience to read your blog is one of the challenges of blogging, otherwise it sits out in the blogosphere (perhaps waiting to bite you at a later date).
Participation on FO2010 has really allowed me to become comfortable with blogging, even though I am not blogging regularly I am often thinking about how I would say/convey what I am thinking in my blog, so my thoughts are developing into the 'next stage'. I am told that I will build an audience if I keep blogging because it does take time to build up a network of people who I am interested in communicating with, & vice versa.
I have come to realise that blogging takes work, not work like running a marathon but like tinkering on a vintage car, it is enjoyable work and it needs to be consistent & constant to build and maintain a network. I need to get myself out there, read & post comments on other blogs, then refer them to my blog (trackback).
The more blogging & blog reading I do the more I realise it is a very convenient method of communication, you can really dig deep into thoughts of others and as a result develop your own thoughts & opinions. Previously these in depth thoughts would have been written (and hidden) in personal journals, we would have needed to really get to know a person before they revealed their thoughts - or perhaps attend one of their lectures or read one of their publications - I don't know about you but there is no way I was going to be 'published' if it wasn't for blogging. Blogging (and all social media) allows the everyday person to convey 'their' message, regardless of how insightful or banal the message may be.
Who is the audience
Social networking sites allow you to develop an audience (friends??) who will listen to (read) your daily gripes and messages of celebration but what if they don't read it, if they don't make a comment on your status, you have still done your job by putting it out there, if you really want people to comment make it more...sappy, funny, controversial. I can guarantee that there are many of my FB friends??? who would not even consider reading my blog, let alone be interested in the content but they are still interested in how I am feeling after a busy day. I can appreciate the distinction between my social network and my blog audience, or what I would consider my professional online identity.
There are some students who backlash against allowing their lecturers into their social networks which has resulted in the coining of the phrase 'Creepy Treehouse' to describe the use of a place where adults attempt to entice children to play, this is the focus of an interesting blog post written by Jared Stein. Interestingly Sarah referred us to this article via FB and it has got me thinking about the distinction between learners; from uni students who don't want lecturers to know what they got up to on the weekend to professional online learners/facilitators who are keen to build an audience with whatever tools they have at their disposal. Yet again there is always more to think about.