Saturday, September 15, 2007
A severe case of head spin
So much has happened in the last 10 days with regards to the course I am attending about online learning that I feel my head is spinning like the girl who was possessed in the film 'The Exorcist'(a real symptom of how I have caught this blogging bug-I spent half the morning trying to find a clip from 'The Exorcist' on YouTube to place here is an illustration of how I feel, but they were all too gory!). So here's a picture of a speeding merry-go-round, which is a much more pleasant picture but still accurately illustrates how I feel.
I have pretty much got the hang of blogging and am really interested in how I can use it to be a 'leader' in midwifery; in other words, how I can introduce Web 2.0 to midwives and encourage them to investigate how it can be used for collaboration, knowledge sharing and so on. I have written an article for the New Zealand College of Midwives Journal that is about to be published, about wikis and blogs and used my efforts as examples. So I hope that inspires some discussion. It is also where a replication of Merrolee Penman's work would be useful - getting midwives into a computer lab and showing them how to use blogs, wikis etc as a means of starting the revolution, so to speak.
However, this has caused me to think about 'ego-blogging'. Is wanting to use a blog to be a 'midwifery leader' actually a severe case of ego-blogging, which is described by Michelle Martin. Michelle is a consultant for professional development, life long learning, education and learning. This blog appears to be a great resource for people just learning about blogs, although I must admit, I have not yet had time to have a really good look at what she is doing. Anyway, one of her posts was about what she calls 'ego blogging'- this is Michelle's definition "ego-blogging is when I write a post primarily because I'm hoping that it will get me noticed and that others will link to me".
I must admit that I thought ego-blogging was when all you did was write about yourself. I know that some people see blogs as self-gratifying with no value to anyone than the person who writes them. In other words, keeping a blog is being a virtual drama queen, which is probably why they appeal to me!! Which leads me to question why I want to keep a blog - more about that later.
But is there anything wrong in wanting to encourage people to visit your blog? Being very new at blogging, I am very keen to join the blogging community so I need to increase people's awareness of my blog, which in turn will hopefully help me to connect to people. I am conscious of the strategies you can use to achieve this:
leave comments on other people's blogs which encourages them to visit your blog;
strategies about headings which come up in blog searches and tags;
advertise your blog in any way you can eg add the URL to your email signature.
So this brings me back to why I want to keep a blog and what I want to do with it. As I have said previously, there are three threads to this blog. The first is as a requirement for the course on online learning that I am currently doing. The second thread is personal: this blog is a way I can express myself and interact with people, especially family and friends who are overseas. I also see it as a valuable networking tool for my own professional and career development, which is where I could see myself doing ego-blogging, especially if I want to use this to market myself professionally.
The third thread is midwifery. I am really keen to introduce Web 2.0 to midwives in NZ because I think it is a wonderful tool for teaching, collaboration and so on. So again, I might end up being guilty of ego-blogging or is it providing leadership? I have not quite made up my mind. I guess when I am sitting here crying because no one has posted comments, then I really know I am a virtual drama queen.
PS: the thing I really hate about blogging is that I have to think of titles, which I cannot do to save my life. When I write a paper for publication, I always get friends to come up with titles. Do 'sexy' titles attract more readers? Or, should you be strategic about your blog title, using words that are more likely to be tagged?