Live and Let Blog

I've been reading Scott McLeod's post over at Dangerously Irrelevant, “Reclaiming My Blog, Reclaiming Myself.

Scott says:

“My posting rate here at Dangerously Irrelevant waned considerably over the past two months…

The interesting thing to me is that I’ve missed it, that I actually have felt sad that I haven’t been posting more. I think that speaks to the power of blogging for many of us – that we have the very human needs to express ourselves, to get feedback on our ideas, and to be connected with others. Of course blogs can be an excellent way to do that, particularly those of us who don’t have anyone around us locally who understand or care about our interests and our passions.”

For those not blogging, perhaps this blogging discourse is tiresome, but I think for those just starting out, understanding expectations is important.

There is a whole emotional side that no one has really been talking about as those of us who have been islands become connected. When the lone wolves join a pack… I guess we all still are a bit of a … lone wolf in some regards?

Thankfully, Scott goes on to say:

“This is something I have to do. So I’m back in the game.”

I know just how he feels as I reflect in my own comments over on his blog:

“Scott, I went through this as well. I think it was at a time when I was internally rebelling at what I thought people wanted me to be. I just want to be myself and when I hear people talk about me in a certain way, it is intimidating.

Do I want to blog? Do I want to share so much? Is there anything left for me? Is there anything left for my family? These are things I've thought about and gone through.

But I feel like that the people that read me… and read you… read because of the person. That is why I've really stayed away from the guest blogging thing unless it is to encourage and bring in a newcomer.

If you read about personal brands, that is really what a blogger has… a personal brand. You ARE “Dangerously Irrelevant.” And if we're in this for the long haul, sometimes we'll blog and sometimes we won't… but as long as YOU are there, many of us will be reading because we're here for you.

The popularity thing is a losing ballgame — for some time now the technorati thing has become more and more, well, irrelevant, as mass market blogs move into the blogosphere, the daily, hourly blogs are just going to edge out the individual blogger. At some point, I'll probably drop out of the top 10,000 — I've not changed and have more links than ever… what has changed is that more people are blogging. (Will Richarson is at 3,000 something — for some reason, I thought he WAS in the 2,000's but I could be wrong.)

For that reason, it is so important just to do as you're doing… sit back, examine motives and if this whole blogging thing is really adding something to our lives. Then, just relax and live with it.

I for one, cannot live with the stress of feeling I'm in a perpetual horse race, I'm just going to live and let blog.”

And I love the response to yesterday's conversation by Stephen Downes, perpetual godfather of the edublog, when he says:

“I'm sympathetic; I often feel, as Vicki Davis does, that I'm on the outside.”

I think that the discussion that has spun into the edublogosphere from Jon Becker's blog (uhm, Jon, lets see those stats now!?) is a good thing, albeit on Monday, we'll all be focused back on the classroom.

However, I truly feel the emotional aspect of this whole thing is what our kids are going through! We see this playing out in the desire of teenagers to be Youtube stars. We see it everywhere.

When we experience it, we begin to recognize it in others.

Perhaps that is why many edubloggers report that they relate so well to their students. We are experiencing what they are experiencing. I see a lot of truth in this.

Ok, gotta run to take some food to a funeral and go to a baby shower. Ah, the joys of living in a small town… fresh air, lots of family, and lots of good long stories over coffee!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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ms-teacher April 12, 2008 - 7:06 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and wanted to comment on this post. This is something I’ve struggled with in my own blog. While my numbers show that I have a pretty good core of people who read my blog personally, usually it is only a handful of people who comment on a post. So then I start wondering if I should be doing something different.

My blog originally started as an educational blog, but let’s face it, being a teacher is not my only persona, so I have shared other things about my life outside of the classroom. This is something I’ve struggled with because then I worry if people have an expectation that I should only write about educational issues. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that my blog should be a reflection of who I am, both personally and professionally.

The numbers have become less relevant to me. I figure that as long as I have people who are reading my blog then that’s a good thing.

Kate Olson April 12, 2008 - 7:24 pm

Vicki –

I think you’ve really hit on something when you say, “However, I truly feel the emotional aspect of this whole thing is what our kids are going through! We see this playing out in the desire of teenagers to be Youtube stars. We see it everywhere. When we experience it, we begin to recognize it in others.”
This rings so true for me and is one of the reasons I immerse myself in social networking (although I do love it, I somewhat treat it as research). I’ve posted several times on trying to understand this entirely new social dimension that our students are experiencing and I have to admit that it’s entirely different than anything I experienced as a kid. You’re right, some of the emotions being shared over Jon’s post reflect a bit of the experience of our students have on a daily basis – having something written about them and responding. What happens sometimes (and I’ve done this myself a few times) is even adults respond too quickly in the heat of the moment and don’t practice the “wait until you cool down” method of response. In the extremely civil world of the edublogosphere, this never becomes hurtful or hateful, but unfortunately it can elsewhere. Sorry to get off on a tangent, but what I’m trying to say is that participating in this world makes all of us better teachers. We’re learning the lessons that we need to share with our students, thanks for bringing that point up.

And not sure if you got my dm’s on twitter, but thanks for taking the time to use diigo annotations to comment on my post – I’ve since reconsidered and edited to open comments.
I also included your annotations, since only diigo readers are able to see them otherwise.

Vicki A. Davis April 12, 2008 - 7:45 pm

@ms-teacher – I actually have several blogs with different content — one for business people and idea people and another for my christian blog — I even have one w/ kid appropriate content.

If you have wordpress, people can subscribe by tag and if you don’t blog prolifically, people may be happy w/ all together — but for someone like me who blogs a lot, I find that dividing content is sometimes a good idea. Part of me is considering creating a blog just for bloggers to put that content over there, but I’m not convinced I should do that… yet.

Kate — great post — and thanks for sharing the annotations — b/c comments were closed that was the only way to share them on the page!!! I will say that I went through all of these emotions when I started and my beginning is alot more recent than for a lot of bloggers who are widely read… I remember thinking about “control” and “he started that” and feeling a little guilty for “stealing” comments. However, remember, most people want to comment when the urge hits… and won’t click over anyway.

Let them comment!

Graham Wegner April 13, 2008 - 12:53 am

Hey, Vicki – here’s a little bit of push-back (wow, that really is a North American phrase) on the subject of truly not caring about rankings etc. If you really want to let go, you’ll have to stop making passing references to “I’ll probably drop out of the top 10,000” because that shows that you are taking notice of that sort of thing. And if you truly want to liberate yourself, scrap technorati tags on your post! They truly do not make a difference … if your stuff is good enough, people find you.

Vicki A. Davis April 13, 2008 - 1:32 am

@Graham — Spoken with true Aussie down-to-earth-edness!

Just because I don’t focus on it doesn’t mean I don’t notice it. I use technorati to follow my trackbacks. I also use it to find tags and keywords and find it very useful.

Just because the rankings are flawed doesn’t mean they don’t have a use. I go in there to see trackbacks & tags and I do see my rating every time I do. It is right there.

So, to not use something useful would not make sense to me.

Good thought though. If it every loses its use, then perhaps my rating will fade into foggy memory!

IMC Guy April 14, 2008 - 4:18 am

Vicki, this really made me think about my blogging and how I do miss getting my thoughts down when I go too long without a post. It also made me think about the relationship Twitter has to blogging. Thanks for sharing.

Fred April 14, 2008 - 3:10 pm

Dear Vicki:

I’m not sure if it was plain good luck or maybe God working in my life, but somehow I found my way to your blog and I believe I’m a better person as a result! I starting blogging a few months ago and really had no clues. In fact, after someone suggested blogging to me, I didn’t begin until I read one of those dummies books (in this case, Blogging for Dummies), and even then I often felt lost – not just due to technical incompetence, but also trying to discover my voice – to understand who I was communicating to, and why – as well as the whole emotional gambit of investing my time and personhood into communicating without hardly anyone responding. Your instruction . . . your wisdom . . . your gentleness . . . and your graciousness are so welcome, refreshing, and right-on. You are a gifted person. Clearly, your district and the especially the children are lucky to have you.

I’m sure given enough time I’ll eventually come to understand important techie things like trackbacks, pings, nings and zings (and other Dr. Seuss words) — but for now I’m comfortable just sharing. It’s possible that my lack of response is because the bloggosphere hasn’t yet fully extended to include South Dakota (we’re behind the times in may things), but more likely it’s because people find what I say boring, or simply haven’t found me yet!

It seems to me the name of your blog is too limiting, instead of cool cat teacher, it really should be cool cat lady, or perhaps more accurately, cool cat human-being. Thank you for investing yourself in such a transparent and passionate manner into your blog. You are making a difference.

Fred Deutsch
Watertown, SD

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