His post are good to look at as an example of some of the common questions that people new to the world of blogs have. I thought it was a great spark for some discussion:
Why do "the blogs look like a random collection of ideas, rather than a discussion around a particular topic"?
I think that one thing a lot of people miss at first is that most blogs are really an on-going conversation that the blogger is having with other people in the blogosphere. It's not unlike a conversation you would have at conference in that it covers all sorts of topics. Most people who write blogs do not feel they are "publishing" or "presenting" ... instead they are conversing.
Why do they sometimes include things about their personal life?Just like any conversation, some people are going to include more stuff about their personal life, some people less. Readers are likely the same. Some people (like me) skip most personal stuff (unless I know them pretty well).
"How to do share your thoughts/lessons learnt without seeming to be the expert"?Great question. And the answer is that you are free to express your opinions and you should help people by saying they are opinions (but we know that's almost always true already). What I look to get from blogs is lots of perspectives. Personal perspectives.
Why aren't there "more substantial discussion" of the "big issues facing eLearning"?In some ways, I have the same question, but partly I've come to realize that the the big issues are not well defined. That's also where personal perspectives and personal challenges come in. If you look at the LCB Big Question in December, it's a great exercise because it forces you to define your challenges.
Interestingly, he later said ...
"blogs are about sharing best practices, lessons learned and learning from others"
We agree on this!
But he also said ...
"the main challenge with blogs is to make them entertaining while at the same time sharing something that may be beneficial to a participant in the eLearning industry"Actually, making it "entertaining" is not really what you are normally going for. Are you trying to be entertaining when you are talking to someone. Not normally.
Finally he says ...
I have noticed that many of the current corporate/business blogs try to cover all the bases i.e. covering news, books, tools, articles, best practices, personal news etc. Sometimes this comes across as a little disorganized and it is hard to filter through all the information to get to the meat. Although I like the idea of a blog, I am not sure that it will be that helpful to people unless there is some sort of structure. A collection of unassociated thoughts and ideas is great if you have a lot of time to filter through the posts, but most people don’t have the time to do this. I guess my struggle at the moment is to come to grips with the blogging format and trying to decide what value I can provide to my audience. The ultimate value of a blog is to get people to engage with you and to share their ideas, rather than it being a static medium. I would love to have your thoughts on how you managed to achieve this.
Fantastic! Yes, blogs are disorganized. Conversations are disorganized.
How do you filter? Lots of ways. Skim quickly to look for interesting things. Use aggregators (human or automatted) who are scanning lots of sources and giving you what they deem relevant.
Overall, I think the expectation about blogging and blogs is way to high from Quintus' viewpoint. If you think of them in terms of "entertainment", "audience", "value I can provide" ... that's way too much pressure. Instead, think of it as conversation and tell us about:
- Your biggest challenges in eLearning?
- A recent problem you've faced?
- A meeting you went to and what you ran into?
- Or "speed dating" at a business function (which he did)?