Friday, August 26, 2016

Working on Self: Responding to Who Reads Blogs @jeguhlin @teach42

The Dembo (that's Steve Dembo, of course) poses the question, Who even reads blogs anymore? To be honest, I do! But reading blogs is only one half of the equation...the other half, perhaps more important, is writing a blog. Let's reflect on the benefits.

#1-Blog Authors are Empowered.
Read The Savvy Gamer
Just like anyone who seizes the stage in a podcast, a vidcast, writing a blog empowers you. Starting a blog is an act of hope in a desperate world (wouldn't you say that a bazillion people desperate for your attention on a multitude of issues, well, desperate?), and the benefits remain powerful.

I learned that from my son, James, who began his Savvy Gamer blog just a short time ago. Here's an excerpt from his blog entry on Video Games and Storytelling:
Some of the best stories come from TV shows and videogames and they can be incredible influences on the mind of a young child. We will talk about some videogames best storylines in future posts so beware spoilers(I’ll let you know) and as always, stay Savvy folks.
 He writes on his new experience, writing his blog and this remark on his mobile phone:
I never thought I'd start a blog, and here I am, it's been a fun experience because I feel like I'm writing tons of articles (I love reading basketball articles) and honestly, I'm just doing something I enjoy and I encourage everyone to find something they enjoy in life for it will bring them true happiness. #blogger
Get AND write a blog! (or start a podcast, vidcast, etc.)

#2 - Build your reading stamina.
Now, before you pooh-pooh the concept of reading stamina as a made up idea, please be aware that it IS a valid, research-supported concept:
Reading stamina is a child's ability to focus and read independently for long-ish periods of time without being distracted or without distracting others. Reading stamina is something that parents can help students develop. (Source: Building Reading Stamina)
Check out this additional point:
The reason for this challenge is not—as pundits and observers of education frequently suggest—that American students cannot read. Indeed, most American students can read. What many cannot do is independently maintain reading focus over long periods of time. The proficiency they lack is stamina—the ability to sustain mental effort without the scaffolds or adult supports. (Source: Hiebert, 2014, The Forgotten Reading Proficiency)
Having trouble reading something longer than tweets and social media (e.g. Facebook posts)? You may be setting yourself up failure. Read blogs, read Medium, read longer entries. These can be a bridge to longer texts, like books and textbooks.

#3 - Maintain Input Discipline.
Listening to Arisen zombie series (absolutely awesome series on Audible, but also books you can read, too), I'm thrilled to adapt a term from them called "fire discipline."  If you haven't had the benefit of pseudo-military terminology course via zombies tales (tongue planted firmly in cheek here), then you can read up on it:
In order to avoid running out of ammunition at the wrong time in a firefight, fire discipline is critical. Fire discipline is firing the least amount of bullets to get the job done. Any and all weapons should exercise fire discipline. (Source: Military SF)
For fun, let's flip this concept upside down. "Input discipline" might be a way of allowing the least amount of social media input to get the job done. The job? Finding ideas that expand and stimulate intellectual, emotional, and/or spiritual growth as a blogger. Practicing input discipline means that you read some short stuff, some longer pieces of writing to achieve a specific mission objective--working on the self.

And, finally, yes, Google killed of Google Reader but why aren't you using Feedly?

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


Aaron Davis said...

This is a fantastic post. People often ask about why I write so much and I often state it is because I read so much. Feedly is definitely my friend. I recently sorted through all the blogs I read
In addition to this, I really like how you touched on the individuality of blogging. Your son develops a blog which is specific to him. I think that we too often overlook this aspect and instead think that blogging equals x

Anonymous said...

Blogging is not dead:-) My blogging leans heavily on number one if never considered number 2 thanks.
Btw I am not using feedly because I am using inoreader. The death of google reader was good for RSS reader innovation, I wish it had happened sooner.

Teach42 said...

Points 2 and 3 really resonate with me. #2 is something I'm working on with my son. And I never quite made the connection that I stopped writing blogs right around the same time that I stopped reading them. I blamed the fact that I was sharing via presentations so much more as the reason. But alternately, it might be because I avoided reading anything with depth because I knew I wasn't going to take the time to respond with depth...

As for #3, that's a fascinating idea as applied to literacy. With finite time, how do you prioritize what to dig into and what to leave as a light touch? I think about the political battles going on in particular. Which issues do you choose to do thorough research and respond to, and which do you just trust the spin on and move on?

That said, I think we're in the midst of an identity crisis for blogs. I wouldn't go in front of a group of educators and say "everyone should blog" anymore. But at the same time, I do think everyone should have a way to document and share. And blogs may be a good medium for that, even without one blogging in the traditional format. You mentioned podcasts and video blogs, there are so many flavors.

The Courage to Lead