Ever had a stranger ask you about something you wrote about on your blog? At first I’m a bit ‘huh?’ but then I remember that um, hello…anyone can read this. My Mom. My next door neighbor. My boss. My former co-workers. My dog if he had thumbs (or if someone scrolled for him).
Sometimes I worry that the personal information I share here will tick someone off. The worry is usually an afterthought (too bad for some) and something I get over soon enough.
Don’t YOU worry though, I’m not losing sleep over it and inevitably, I just say screw it and write on.
I don’t seem to have a problem writing about anything that comes to mind – my kids, my husband, my own embarrassing moments, past jobs, friends, school, my extended family, moving house….you get the point. (In a f2f situation, I’d need you to buy me at least one beer to get this type of information).
However, I do try to limit my observations to the theme of this site – learning and the work I do at Brandon Hall Research. I don’t always succeed but I think mostly I do. Brandon Hall Research is a cool place to work. I probably couldn’t write like this at many other jobs. Which is good because I LEARN A TON.
I don’t think individuals set out to write a particular type of blog. It just happens based on their voice. So I got thinking about this ‘worry’ factor and it seems to me that it exists mostly for those that write the personal journal-type blogs.
There are several types of blogs I read in the e-learning space. Although people generally can cross categories in their style, here are some examples based on my own interpretation of the content and style but you may classify them differently:
filter blog – commentary of selected links by author/editor (Example: OLDaily, Stephen Downes).
short-form journal blog – personal record of thoughts, observations, events. (Example: Karyn’s erratic learning journey, Karyn Romeis) Mine is in this category too.
distributed conversation – a post is starting point for an ongoing series of posts, comments, reciprocal links. (Example: eLearning Technology, Tony Karrer)
educational – maintained by a teacher or for a teacher for use as part of a course or class. (Example: The Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Vickie Davis)
notebook – a mix between the filter and journal blog which is more reflective with less sharing personal information but not always a filter for other content. (Example: elearnspace, George Siemens)
corporate/marketing – serves a business purpose. (Example: Brandon Hall Research News)
My voice falls into the category of short-form journal. The “mom blogs” and “dad blogs” are overwhelmingly short-form journal-type too.
Heather Armstrong at dooce (dooced=fired for blogging), a hugely popular [ 4 million hits a month] Mom-Blogger-of-all-Mom-blogs wrote a futuristic-type post to her daughter about well, writing about her. Armstrong historically gets crap for writing about her kid…words like endangerment, violation of privacy, egotistical, and exploitation are used. But Armstrong doesn’t take that crap. She was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal recently (thanks for the link Tom) about how she deals with it.
Really, this too much information (TMI) dilemma is primarily limited to the journal-type blog. Dooce, et al makes me worry less. Armstrong, although talking about Mom bloggers, advances this movement, this community of people writing tirelessly about their experiences. I think everyone is richer for it and, like she thinks her daughter will, it makes me want to pump my fist in the air.
So journal bloggers, Cheers!