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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Learning and Networking with a Blog (Deleted Scenes)

My article in Training + Development Magazine was just published - Learning and Networking with a Blog. You must launch the reader and then go to page 20 to find the article.

Unfortunately, a couple of things got cut between the final edits from T+D and when it was published. So here are two associated pieces of content that are the article's "deleted scenes":

Getting Started with Blogging

Probably the first step in blogging is learning about blogging for yourself before you try to use it for your organization. To help with this, it might be worth looking at a discussion in October 2006 on the question – “Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?” You can find a somewhat tongue-in-cheek summary - Top Ten Reasons to Blog and Not to Blog.

Assuming you decide that it’s something worth trying, then you should first sign up with an RSS Reader such as Bloglines or Google Reader. Then subscribe to blogs. Two good lists of related blogs can be found at:

Then you will want to sign up on a blogging system such as Blogger, and begin to write blog posts. To help you get connected with other bloggers, it’s good practice to link your posts to their posts and leave comments on their blog. Another way to get connected is to contribute to ASTD’s Learning Circuits Monthly Big Question. You can find this on the Learning Circuit’s Blog.

Once you are comfortable with blogging, you can begin to focus on where and how it should be used in your organization. IBM, well-known for fostering blogs and Wikis, has established guidelines that provide a good model:

Common Questions and Issues around Blogging
There are a few questions that commonly come up around blogging:

What should I write about?

The best advice here is to write about what interests you. By being interested, you will be interesting. Most workplace learning professionals write about topics such as projects, challenges, answers to questions they see on other blogs, answers to questions they get asked at work or by peers, and links to interesting content or documents.

How much time does it take?

Blogging can consume a large amount of time so it’s a good idea to start small and work up. Most bloggers will tell you that it has replaced other learning activities and that they seamlessly work it into their day. As they research a new topic, they find they can write a blog post that will help them capture their thoughts. Typical specific answers range from 30 minutes per day to an hour per week.

Can I write about confidential matters?

Some companies, such as Motorola and IBM, greatly encourage their staff to blog. They have established policies about what is acceptable or not to write in a blog post. The basic answer is that unless it is a private blog, everything you write is public and will exist forever. No confidential information should ever be put in a blog post. Most bloggers find that it is rather easy to turn specific questions or issues on a project into generic discussions that contain no confidential information.

1 comment:

bschlenker said...

I hope you mentioned the MOST important part of Blearning(copy right BS)...beerbloggersbash when ever possible.
I'm looking forward to reading the article.