Our goal is to help students recognize that gaps in thinking aren’t something to be afraid of. They are something to be openly acknowledged and then addressed through deliberate attempts to gather more information.
Have we gotten to the point where “blogging” no longer means messy reflection in the minds of most people? Is there now an expectation that blogs have to be filled with content that has been carefully created and “spit-shined?”And if so, does that discourage new bloggers from ever getting started?
We’ve got to stop telling people who are new to social spaces about the “power of audience” because the truth is that most of today’s audiences are muted at best, choosing consumption over participation in nine conversations out of ten.
Bill Ferriter questions the story that we keep on telling about audience and instead suggests three approaches that should be encouraged:
(1). Bring Your OWN Audience
Instead of trying to build a huge audience of strangers, concentrate on building a small audience of peers
(2). Be a Participating Member of Someone Else’s Audience
Start commenting on the work of others. Start responding to people’s posts in Twitter. Let people know that you are listening and learning from them. Show gratitude for the time that they put into thinking and sharing transparently with others. Provide challenge to their core ideas — and then push those ideas out through your networks.
(3). Draw attention to the ideas of your audience
I want you to think about my buddy Bob for a minute. He took his own time to read my original bit on audience. Then, he took even more of his own time to craft a reply that challenged my thinking and articulated concepts that I hadn’t considered. Instead of spending that same time on his own growth, he was making an investment in me and in our intellectual relationship. That matters, y’all — and I need to respect that investment in some way.
Ferriter has been writing a lot recently about reflection, audiences and comments. Personally, I have taken to being more intentional with my comments by sending comments from my own site. This has had its hiccups, but I think that it offers an alternative future and positive possibility.
Great reflection Bill. I think that it is easy to be distracted by clicks and likes. I remember when I first started blogging, I thought that I was going to get inundated. The shock was that I almost had to beg for my first comment. I think that in part the Blogger user interface encourages a focus on statistics. I find that the fact you have make a choice to setup Jetpack means that at the very least users are more mindful of the impact and choice. When I moved to WordPress I also made the decision to stop checking the stats. I think that I have only randomly checked Jetpack a handful of time in the last few years.
In regards to “hits’ and ‘likes’, you might enjoy reading this post from danah boyd (although I assume that you have probably stumbled upon it before). She provides a different perspective on data and numbers:
Stats have this terrible way of turning you — or, at least, me — into a zombie. I know that they don’t say anything. I know that huge chunks of my Twitter followers are bots, that I could’ve bought my way to a higher Amazon ranking, that my Medium stats say nothing about the quality of my work, and that I should not treat any number out there as a mechanism for self-evaluation of my worth as a human being.
The only thing that I am unsure about is that by my nature of ‘responding’ I often have someone in mind associated with my writing and reflection, is this though a different sort of ‘audience’?
Although I wonder if it is more complicated than this dialectic, I agree that an approach on rules and discipline misses the point. I wrote about this a few years back. One of the interesting point that was made to me was the place of rules and discipline within learning, the structures associated with the way things are done. At the very least, this is a question that all teachers should reflect upon as it often raises so many questions to consider.