#04 Blogs

As Mark shared with us in his webinar last week, blogging can be an important part of your professional toolkit. Our August webinar speaker, Allison Michels, landed her amazing job with Yammer after the founder and CEO read a post from her personal blog. You just never know what connections you’re enabling by blogging.

Blogs are a great way to engage people in knowledge sharing, reflection and conversation. You can create one in just a few minutes and they are super easy to use. Even if you don’t think you have anything important to say or that nobody would read it, you can still benefit from blogging. Here are just a few reasons to create a blog of your own:

  • Personal journal. Share your ideas or vent your frustrations, it’s your choice.
  • Personal or Professional interest.  Your blog can be a great place to collect and share knowledge on anything that interests you. Before you know it you’ll have a valuable repository of knowledge.
  • Online resume. It is impossible to capture what you do on a one page printed resume.  A blog is a much better way to capture all your professional thoughts and experience.
  • Communications. Blogs are better than email in so many ways. (But you can still connect them to email if you need to. Check out that “Follow by email”  button over on the right side of this post)
  • Great for newsletters. Blogs are a great way to publish newsletters, for your department, club, hobby group or virtually any kind of organization.
  • Quick & easy website. Many organizations big and small use blogs as their company website. (Here’s a sampling of well-known sites that are powered by WordPress blogs.)

[ In case, you haven’t noticed. This Learn Camp program is being run on a WordPress blog. ]

So what do you think?  Think its worth kicking the tires? (It is!) Why not create a blog to capture your thoughts and share the thinks you do in the program?  If nothing else its worth setting one up and just playing around with it to see how it works.  You can be up in running today in less than 10 minutes for free with WordPress or Blogger.

Discussion Topics:

If you already have a blog, what prompted you to start it? How are you using it? What advice can you give others who are just getting started?

If you don’ t have one, what questions do you have?

Share you thoughts in the comments on this post and include a link to your blog so the rest of us can check it out!

Further reading:

7 Things You Should Know About Blogs

Create a free blog on WordPress

Create a free blog on Blogger

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24 thoughts on “#04 Blogs

  1. I just set up a WordPress blog but don’t know where to start. I plan to complete some of the tutorials on WordPress this week to help give me some ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is awesome Jodi! Feel free to share you blog address if you’d like others to follow along. Even if there’s nothing there yet. I’d like to subscribe so I can follow your progress. Let me know if you have any questions as you get up to speed.

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  2. Great great great post, Mike. I don’t think you can underestimate the value of having an online place of your own to share your work and thoughts and connect with others. (It’s like your own little Learn Camp, but without the boats and counselors!) Being discoverable online is the key to far greater opportunities and success. It’s been a huge professional boon to me and I can’t imagine not having it now. I share my e-learning work and thoughts at http://www.jackievannice.com.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jackie, thank you so much for sharing all that you do online. I am fairly new to instructional design and have learned an incredible amount of information and ideas from pros such as yourself who are so generous in taking the time to present your methods and creativity for others to learn from. I love all your entries for the Articulate challenges – your designs are so fun!

      I’m hoping to take the motivation I’m getting from LearnCamp and not only learn some new tools, but start putting together some ideas to share, too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jackie sets a great example to follow. Have you created a blog yet? If not, you should so that you’ll be ready to go and it will be quick and easy when you have something to share. One of the easiest ways to share things on your blog is to use the “Press This” bookmarklet. When you have that you can grab just about anything off of the web (like a text quote, video, or image) and turn it in to a blog post, all without ever touching the dashboard of your WordPress site.

        This short video explains it all http://wordpress.tv/2013/03/17/make-quick-posts-to-your-wordpress-blog-with-press-this/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Amy! Thanks so much!! To me, that’s the best part about blogging – the chance to share and connect and learn with and have fun with your peers. Yes, I get work offers just by getting out there – but I get WAAAAY more gratification out of meeting someone new who is inspired by or helped by something I did. And if someone like you is kind enough to get in touch, I always check to see if they have a blog so I can see what they’re up to and follow them, too. It builds a meaningful community of your own motivated and involved peers – and you just can’t put a price on that.

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  3. I started a blog earlier this year (www.abnederveld.com) and was at first terrified and had no idea what I was doing. I had been considering it for a while as a place to showcase my work and collect my thoughts but was actually prompted into action by my manager who encouraged me.
    I try to post at least once a week. Sometimes my posts are short and sometimes long. I write about things I’ve learned, read, thought about, or done during the week.
    For those just starting out, I guess my advice is not to worry too much about writing a perfect blog post. just start out small, writing about the things you know and are passionate about. That kind of writing comes much easier! I also find that I am continually tweaking my blog setup as I realize changes that need to be made. WordPress makes that pretty easy to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The reason I have no interest in blogging is: the time commitment. If I had a blog, I would want to write it well. And good writing takes time. For me, at this stage in my life, the time commitment to exercise is more important. However, kudos to anyone who does blog. I admire anyone who is willing to make the commitment and to share their thoughts.

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  5. Blogs. Ugh. They put you out there. YOU KNOW—OUT THERE—where everyone can see. Ewwww….
    Well, you guys will get tired of hearing this, but I’m an introvert. I have so much stuff in my head: poetry, work, random thoughts. At the beginning of the year, I swore I would write a post a day because ‘if you practice at writing, you will get better,’ and I would love to be a great writer and maybe write a book, but I lose focus and the words fill in my head, but I can’t get them to spill appropriately into this little box, so I falter. Here and there. In a perfect world, my blog would be cohesive, refined, and professional, but I’m a bit flighty, so instead it consists of ramblings here and there…sometimes probably too personal, other times recapping a book chapter, other times words thrown on a page just so it looks like something sticks. I like sharing pictures I’ve taken, too. I like the thrill of connecting, though…and knowing that sometimes all this clatter spit upon a page resonates with someone…that makes it all worthwhile, even if I’m terrified and a little scared. Pushing yourself to those limits can only help you grow. You can check me out here: http://juststormy.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Stormy, I think your blog is great! I enjoy your writing style and really like the layout of the blog. Thanks for pointing out that you are an introvert. I can totally relate, and that’s why I haven’t created much of a presence for myself on social media. I like to write but hate being in the spotlight. Learncamp has been motivating me to get started connecting with others, though.

      I’m glad you posted the link to your blog – I will definitely follow! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is why I love Learn Camp – I never knew about “Press This” – awesome! I’m definitely going to try this.

    I started blogging last year when I joined Learn Camp 2013. I am also quite introverted and initially found this very confronting having things “out there” for everyone to see and judge you on, but I agree with Jackie that you never know what opportunities this will bring. Now when I apply for jobs or put myself forward for freelance work, I share links to my blog, my online resume and my e-Portfolio – so far this is working amazingly!

    Here are my links:

    Blog: http://theknowledgeproject.com.au
    e-Portfolio: hopedianne.wordpress.com
    Online Resume: hopedianneresume.wordpress.com

    I’ve recently started using Diigo as I realised that I can’t possibly blog about everything I come across that interests me. Diigo claims to be a “powerful research tool and knowledge-sharing community” – I still have to work out how this will work for me, but at least I’m creating a history of things that interest me and that I may want to revisit.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s great to see everyone’s examples of how they are using blogs for different things. I have several that I use in very different ways including:

    A tip of the week blog that originally started as an email newsletter. The blog is MUCH easier to manage, provides an easy archive of all the previous posts, allows anyone to comment or ask questions and multiple ways for subscribing/unsubscribing. http://miketips.wordpress.com

    Another one I created for my grad school portfolio http://tmiketaylor.wordpress.com/

    This is my more ‘traditional’ personal blog. http://tmiket.wordpress.com/ and my work blog is at http://community.articulate.com/blogs/taylor/default.aspx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. At the risk of being redundant, I started my blog (http://learningrebels.com/blog/) because I had thoughts bouncing around. Then I got some very good encouragement from Trish Uhl, telling me my voice needed to be louder. Wow. Sometimes all it takes is a little push and encouragement. I have published blogs as a journal exercise for work ( I feel keeping a work blog for the business to read to keeps what L&D does transparent and mostly interesting!) and I had published the occasional guest blog on specific topics so I determined it was time to put my money where my mouth is and start doing it regularly.

    Those who know me well, know that I can get distracted at the drop of a hat. “SQUIRREL!” so key to keeping me on track was the commitment to post at least once per week. Regardless. Even if it is something small. I think what holds back new bloggers, is the fact, we want our words to be perfect. Perfectly written, perfectly phrased, perfectly perfect. That thought will indeed hold you back. As full disclosure, it takes me hours to finalize a post – as I try to find the right pictures, shift words around – get up play with the dogs come back and “tweak” some more. But I have a time goal. Regardless of how it appears it will be up by 4 pm on the designated day. This type of structure mostly keeps me on track.

    I think my other piece of advice is to find a point of view and stick with it. Learning Rebels, I hope, is known for challenging current L&D thinking. That is my goal, to stimulate thought – in a bit of a sarcastic/snarky kind of way. I write as I speak. I tried to take the snark out but it just wasn’t me, I’m that way in real life and the blog should be an extension of who I am. I know it’s not for everyone, and not everyone agrees with me – that’s okay it’s just my POV.

    Dianne mentioned Diigo. Excellent tool for gathering and curating information for not only yourself but others. This is where I keep blog ideas, but I do find that I’m turning to pinterest more and more for keeping my blog ideas. I have a private board where I pin random thoughts I might turn in to blog posts.

    So to wrap this up, so it doesn’t appear that I have hijacked Mike’s course – Just do it. Get out there and do it. You have to write for yourself first, so you may as well jump in the pool.

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  9. Shannon thanks for adding your insights. I have a similar approach for my Friday tip of the week post – the deadline really helps you get it out the door. There are times when I get several lined up in advance and other times when I scramble at the last minute. I’m coming up on my 400th week in a row soon so
    that will be a kinda cool milestone to reach.

    In other places though, I do feel like things need to be more polished. I guess it really comes down to your purpose and who your audience is. Long story short, there isn’t any one “right” way to do it and the best thing is to “Just do it”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 400!! WOW. I am impressed. I guess it just goes to show there are no limits to the tips or tricks that are out there, especially as technology continues to evolve. Thanks for keeping us all up to date!

      I do agree about polish – which I think is different than perfection. I believe spelling and grammar are important. People will be patient regarding those areas if errors are minimal and minor. However, if your posts are riddled with errors they will be patient only for so long. This also goes for citing facts and figures, before you use numbers try to be as certain as you can regarding accuracy. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network for confirmation of facts, figures or research.

      Here’s my question to the group about blogging. If you subscribe to blog, does it bother you if the blog goes off topic? For example: My blog is generally about doing things differently in Learning and Development – if I posted my thoughts about recruiting, HR, customer service or a personal observance from time to time, would that annoy the reader?

      Like

    • My first reaction is that it might be convenient to have everything in one place. But I’ve never seen a Weebly blog. If it isn’t easy to use or doesn’t work for whatever reason don’t let that stop you and you might want to try WordPress or Blogger.

      Like

  10. I’ve had a blog site for quite a while now, but I just never seemed to have the time to write anything. I also recognize that this is due to procrastination, “if I ignore it, i can forget about it”. I’m planning on using this course as a way to use my blog more and hopefully make it a habit! My blog is. Alaskaisd.
    http://alaskaisd.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just started a blog at work (it’s secure to our organization) to help empower staff about learning overall. We want to ensure staff know about different ways of learning- especially informal learning- to develop professionally and advance themselves, so that will be our focus. I chose this format as an anytime/anywhere source of information, and I am hoping for discussion. My favorite thing about blogs is the less formal tone, which makes me think the blogger is accessible, no matter who it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds great Dyan. I think anyone who has any kind of website, internally one externally should consider a blog. There are SO many great ways to use them how long have you had it up and running?

      Like

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