If you take a moment to read Dr. Scott McLeod's (Dangerously Irrelevant) "I misunderstood the technology" and Doug Johnson (Blue Skunk Blog), you may give up blogging altogether, if you even bothered to start. And, lots of folks don't even have a clue about their digital footprint, whatever that is.

Doug writes:
One hazard is the negative impact of a public voice on one's career. I'll maintain that if you are a boat-rocker, a change agent, a questioner, a rabble-rouser, a radical in your online writings about your profession, your chances of getting a job and advancing in your career is jeopardized. In education especially, the people doing the hiring are conservative*. They may want someone who can remodel their home; they don't want someone who will burn it down and rebuild it.
I have often considered blogging as a learning conversation, sometimes with others, often by myself, and have found the act of blogging--writing privately in public space--to be incredibly beneficial. While I've enjoyed close scrapes regarding what I've written--usually, a misunderstanding about the disclaimer that now appears at the bottom of every blog entry--I would consider NOT blogging a detriment to my own learning.

I no longer care what conclusions others--including future employers--may draw from my published work. With over 8000 entries under my belt, it's immaterial at this point. Even if I wanted to take it all back, I couldn't. If I could, I wouldn't. There's nothing quite so satisfying as doing a Google search "mguhlin topic of choice" and being able to pull up something I wrote months, years ago that I knew I wrote but had forgotten exactly what I wrote. It's like rediscovering yourself but in the context of a conversation with others.

While I don't want to be considered a troublemaker, I have found that discussing some topics usually ruffle feathers of those who fear free speech, openness and transparency. It's as if by silencing others, they will eliminate the threat represented. Yet, if sharing ideas and information is the threat, then human beings will never be safe.

Perhaps the best measure of an organization’s commitment to transparency is to see what it does when things go wrong. Does it clam up and dribble out useless, incomplete information? Or will it embrace the brutal side of being open, warts and all? It’s much easier to be transparent with information that seems neutral or positive; true transparency is all about what you do when things go awry. Will you hold the line or retreat into the shadows?  (Source: Radical Transparency at Daily Kos)

I often see my blog as a place to share what I'm learning as I'm learning it. For that reason alone, most of my blog entries are valuable to me. Each entry is a page in my journal. I write about what I choose...why should anyone in their right mind fear that?

As I reflect on my blogging over the last month, I have to ask myself, which of my blog entries may bring down the wrath of employers, political parties, etc.? A more important question is, why aren't I writing blog entries that enrage/engage?
The very process of developing ideas, products, and messages is changing - from musing about it in a room with your top people to throwing it out on the Web and asking the global smartmob for a little help. (Source: The See-Through CEO)

When I'm learning, I do not pretend to be impervious. If I get called on the carpet for a blog entry I've written, I still get excited, my palms get sweaty. But blogging has given me a way to learn, connect with others that has provided me with a powerful stabilizing a tail on a critter that balances.

While I don't disagree with Doug on his points of what's wanted in education, the question that pops into my head is...What if what we need in education are more bloggers, unafraid to ask the hard questions and ruffle the feathers of those who, like career politicians, appear smooth as an oil slick in the Gulf?

Update: Re-reading this blog entry, I can't help but notice it's so darn serious. Blogging is PLAYING with ideas, your own ideas. If you can't do that, what business have you in education?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Joel Adkins said…
I have wondered about this idea and censorship in districts. I wonder if anyone has been asked to remove something they said by their superiors?

Personally, staff members have made direct comments to me about the contents in posts I have made. Sometimes they are negative comments and some are positive. But it shows me that people are reading the content on my blog and makes me aware of who in my district is reading it.

Only once has someone in my district told me to "be careful" about what I say about the district in a blog.

I have made edits when I felt I went too specific and I didn't want to get in trouble. But for the most part, I usually keep the comments in and just go through the day stressing about it.

In the past, Miguel, you have helped me blog by encouraging me not to edit myself or to delete posts. While this has strengthened my resolve to write from the heart and speak my mind, I do get antsy after I post something that I feel may be perceived as negative.

Actually, I try not to post about my own job or district only because I know who is reading what I write and what they are doing with that information.

All in all, I think it depends on what your blog is about. If you are using it as a work diary, then you should be careful for future and present employers because tone is never appreciated in written word.

Reading my blog with a heavy dose of sarcasm in tone will help anyone trudge through it. That and the fact that I post only on the occasions when I remember I even have a blog. ;)

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