I love this follow up to Om from Brent Simmons:"to read a good blog is to watch a writer get a little bit better, day after day, at writing the truth."
A wonderful mentor recently advised me to write for the job that I wanted. I liked this advice a bit more than the classic “dress for the position you want”, but wasn’t quite sure where to start. Writing anything began to feel like an intense endeavor that would map out the path my life would follow singularly, no wandering adventures. A tad dramatic, right? My previous writing had touched on a number of things: graffiti and street art, women’s history, 3D modeling, and workshops. But lately I have felt stuck and I have made all of the excuses: I’m too busy. There’s other tasks that need to be completed first. I’m tired of staring at a computer screen. I’m not a very good writer. When I finally logged into my blog, I found a hacked mess. Another excuse not to write as I focused on rebuilding.
I too spend an inordinate amount of time monkeying around with my website/writing platform, but I also find that by using it as a regular commonplace book, I’m rarely at a loss for something to write about…
I’ve written quite a bit about blogging, and my creation of open education resources over the past on this website. A lot has changed in my blogging habits, and general digital identity construction since those posts. Most of the response that I get from colleagues, students, and tenure committees is “why in the world would you share that stuff openly online?” As such, I’ve been meaning to write up a post documenting my thinking about why I do…what I do.
One of these days I’ll get around to writing up my larger thesis about using a personal website for an all-in academic samizdat experience to rid academia of the siloed mindset its been stuck in for ages… This post comes relatively close to laying the underlying groundwork for some motivation.
As an academic, I need to regularly have empirical research publications in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals. Nothing else matters. Many senior colleagues bemoan the fact that I need to play double duty…yet the system still exists.
And why can’t your own blog count as a top-tier, peer-reviewed journal?
and serve as pre-prints to work that may live later on, or always exist in their current format
Thinking of a personal site as a pre-print server is an interesting concept and somewhat similar to the idea of a commonplace book.
We're two senior IndieWeb participants talking about owning your own content.
I can see why several folks in the IndieWeb community love this discussion. Jeena and Marjtin have a wide-ranging conversation that hits almost all of the high points and most of the discussion is very accessible. There are some places in the second half of the episode where those who aren’t developers may feel like they’re in some higher weeds particularly with some jargon, but much of it is well defined and discussed. In solid journalistic fashion, they start from the most basic (with lots of attention to definitions and detail) and ramp up to the more advanced and detailed. If you’re a blogger, journalist, librarian, educator, other who is relatively web savvy and wants to supplement your knowledge of what is going on in this area, this is a great place to help fill in some gaps before delving into additional help and documentation.
In particular, I love that they do an excellent job of helping to communicate the intentional work, craft, morality, ethics, and love which most of the community approaches the topic.
As I suspect that Jeena doesn’t receive many “listen” posts, I’ll webmention his post here with an experimental microformat class
like-of. Perhaps he’ll join some of the podcasting community who supports this and make it a stronger standard.
Perhaps in the vein of what you might be looking for, I’ve got a multi-user site built on WithKnown. It functions much like a stand-alone-Facebook-like service where users have their own accounts and can interact with each other on the service. It also has an OAuth server which allows users to use their own websites to log in and be able to post or syndicate content from their own websites into it, that way they have a choice of owning all of the content they post to it or not.
Note: this particular test site is meant more for folks to do quick test drives of the Known platform rather than serving as a platform in the way you’re describing. As an example of what you may be looking for though, here’s an original post on my own website (note the “also on” link at the bottom) and here’s the copy that was syndicated into the separate “community service” on an entirely different domain.
I suspect you could use other sites/services like WordPress to do something like this as well.
I take a look at some tips, plus an infographic, on how to handle older blog posts, as part of regular blog maintenance duties.
Nothing new or brilliant here for me. A lot of the focus is on anti-archival methods as well as improving SEO without necessarily mentioning SEO.
If you had asked me years ago when I started my website/blog if I’d ever have over a few hundred comments or reactions to the content on it, I would have said you were crazy. Today, with the help of Webmention and tools like Brid.gy, I’ve just passed the 9,000 reactions mark (and added many new friends in the process)!
I’ll send along special thanks to simple open web standards and the IndieWeb community for vastly improving my online communication.
More often than not, I write articles for this site after reading something someone else wrote. I browse the web for articles and tweets that I find interesting, and the ones that make me think are very often the ones that inspire me to write something myself. This leads to a funny situation as a w...
How many levels deep could the link blogging on these posts go? Is it linkblogging all the way down?
Incidentally, this seems to be another post about people who use their websites for thinking and writing, which I seem to be coming across many of lately. I ought to collect them all into a group and write a piece about them and the general phenomenon.
Similar to several other mantras I’ve seen recently by various bloggers. Most of them have essentially said that they write to test out ideas, to stretch their thinking, to try to find additional clarity in what they’re contemplating. This takes a slightly different tack, but is roughly the same thesis.
I was just thinking I would blog more if I had an app like Tweetdeck, but for WordPress where I can open a simple text edit window. Drag over one image, and boom. Blog post. And then I realized, Oh! There are MacOS WordPress apps!
Lately I’ve been inspired by some of the web’s best bloggers.
I didn’t know I was doing so well to be included with some of the biggest heavy hitters in the space! Thanks for the kind words Matt!
I’ve apparently just posted my 3,000th public post on my personal website! It feels good to be owning more and more of the data I post online instead of just giving it to social media silos.
Why I'd like to find a way to combine longer blog posts with shorter updates and cover a larger variety of topics.
Although I'm not a practicing Catholic anymore, old habits are hard to die. I plan to reduce my time on social media this Lenten season. Less time here and more on my blogs: Personal Blog: http://bryanruby.com/ Fifty-Two Posts a Year: http://fiftytwoposts.com
I like the concept of this. Lent done #IndieWeb style.
Comparing two different approaches that help you take control back over your own data on the web.
This is certainly an intriguing way to look at it, but there’s another way to frame it as well. Students are on sites like Instagram and Snapchat because they’re connecting with their friends there. I doubt many (any?) are using those platforms for learning or engagement purposes, so attempting to engage with them there may not translate for educators. It may have the colloquial effect of “I’m on Snapchat because my parents aren’t; if my parents join I’m either going to block them or move to another platform they’re not on.” Something similar to this was seen in cultural teen use of Facebook as parents swarmed to the platform over the past decade. To slightly reframe it, how many high school teachers in the past have seen students in the hallways between classes socializing and thought to themselves, “I should go out and teach in the hallway, because that’s where the students are and they seem alert?”
It might also shed some light on our perspectives to look at what happens at the end of a quarter or semester in most colleges. I always remember book sellback time and a large proportion of my friends and colleagues rushed to the bookstore to sell their textbooks back. (I’ll stipulate the book market has changed drastically in the past two decades since I was in University, but I think the cultural effect is still roughly equivalent.) As a bibliophile I could never bring myself to sell books back because I felt the books were a significant part of what I learned and I always kept them in my personal collection to refer back to later. Some friends I knew would keep occasional textbooks for their particular area of concentration knowing that they might refer back to them in later parts of their study. But generalizing to the whole, most students dumped their notes, notebooks, and even textbooks that they felt no longer had value to them. I highly suspect that something similar is happening to students who are “forced” to keep online presences for coursework. They look at it as a temporary online notebook which is disposable when the class is over and probably even more so if it’s a course they didn’t feel will greatly impact their future coursework.
I personally find a huge amount of value in using my personal website as an ongoing commonplace book and refer back to it regularly as I collect more information and reshape my thoughts and perspectives on what I’ve read and learned over the years. Importantly, I have a lot of content that isn’t shared publicly on it as well. For me it’s become a daily tool for thinking and collecting as well as for searching. I suspect that this is also how Aaron is using his site as well. My use of it has also reached a fever pitch with my discovery of IndieWeb philosophies and technologies which greatly modify and extend how I’m now able to use my site compared to the thousands of others. I can do almost all of the things I could do on Facebook, Twitter, etc. including interacting with them directly and this makes it hugely more valuable to me.
The other difference is that I use my personal site for almost everything including a wide variety of topics I’m working on. Most students are introduced to having (read: forced to maintain) a site for a single class. This means they can throw it all overboard once that single class is over. What happens if or when they’re induced to use such a thing in all of their classes? Perhaps this may be when the proverbial quarter drops? Eventually by using such a tool(s) they’ll figure out a way to make it actively add the value they’re seeking. This kernel may be part of the value of having a site as a living portfolio upon graduation.
Another issue I often see, because I follow the space, is that many educational technologists see some value in these systems, but more often than not, they’re not self-dogfooding them the same way they expect their students to. While there are a few shining examples, generally many teachers and professors aren’t using their personal sites as personal learning networks, communications platforms, or even as social networks. Why should students be making the leap if their mentors and teachers aren’t? I can only name a small handful of active academic researchers who are heavily active in writing and very effectively sharing material online (and who aren’t directly in the edtech space). Many of them are succeeding in spite of the poor quality of their tools. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about one or more interesting thought leaders who I wish had even a modicum of online space much less a website that goes beyond the basic functionality of a broken business card. I’ve even offered to build for free some incredibly rich functional websites for researchers I’d love to follow more closely, but they just don’t see the value themselves.
I won’t presume to speak for Aaron, but he’s certainly become part of my PLN in part because he posts such a rich panoply of content on a topic in which I’m interested, but also in larger part because his website supports webmentions which allows us a much easier and richer method of communicating back and forth on nearly opposite sides of the Earth. I suspect that I may be one of the very few who extracts even a fraction of the true value of what he publishes through a panoply of means. I might liken it to the value of a highly hand-crafted trade journal from a decade or more ago as he’s actively following, reading, and interacting with a variety of people in a space in which I’m very interested. I find I don’t have to work nearly as hard at it all because he’s actively filtering through and uncovering the best of the best already. Who is the equivalent beacon for our students? Where are those people?
So the real question is how can we help direct students to similar types of resources for topics they’re personally interested in discovering more about? It may not be in their introduction to poetry class that they feel like it’s a pain doing daily posts about on a blog in which they’re not invested. (In fact it sounds to me just like the the online equivalent of a student being forced to write a 500 word essay in their lined composition book from the 1950’s.) But it’ll be on some topic, somewhere, and this is where the spark meets the fuel and the oxygen. But the missing part of the equation is often a panoply of missing technological features that impact the culture of learning. I personally think the webmention protocol is a major linkage that could help ease some of the burden, but then there’s also issues like identity, privacy, and all the other cultural baggage that needs to make the jump to online as seamlessly (or not) as it happens in the real world.
…perhaps we’re all looking for the online equivalent of being able to meld something like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Bloom’s Taxonomy?
I’ll have to expand upon it later, but perhaps we’re all looking for the online equivalent of being able to meld something like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Bloom’s Taxonomy? It’s certainly a major simplification, but it feels like the current state of the art is allowing us to put the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in an online setting (and we’re not even able to sell that part well to students), but we’re missing both its upper echelons as well as almost all of Maslow’s piece of the picture.
With all this said, I’ll leave you all with a stunningly beautiful example of synthesis and creation from a Ph.D. student in mathematics I came across the other day on Instagram and the associated version she wrote about on her personal website. How could we bottle this to have our students analyzing, synthesizing, and then creating this way?