This is my second attempt at a personal/professional blog and think I am finally coming into my own and understanding what makes a successful blogger. By no means do I think that I am in the same ‘weight class’ as the uber bloggers, but the fact that I have readers subscribed and hits on my blog’s clustermap is a huge accomplishment for me. Although there are many factors that make a blog a success, one of those factors is reading other blogs and posting reflections about what you have read.
Blogging is way more about reading than it is writing. Many teachers don’t see this at first. Most classrooms provide a good balance of traditional reading and writing opportunities. Teachers recognize that in order to be a good writer you have to read good writing. Yet when it comes to blogging, most want to write immediately and sit back and wait for the world to pay attention. It won’t happen. Provide as much time for your students to read blogs as write. If you decide you want to blog or have your students blog, don’t feel badly about spending a few weeks or even months reading blogs. Look for exemplary work. Look for blogs that you relate to. Find blogs that have a different perspective on things you’re interested in Talk with your students about the blogs they enjoy. Before you write a post, be sure you are responding to something you’ve seen, read or heard.
I can definitely testify that following this suggestion will prove to you and your readers the truth of those sentiments. The more blogs I read, I am able to see how successful blogs are structured, created, and promoted. I can ask questions or clarification of points presented in blogs by the ‘superbloggers’ and have been willing to leave an encouraging comment in return. As exciting as it is to see the red dots grow on my blog’s cluster map, utilizing tools of this type that are purposeful and aesthetically pleasing can be gleaned from other bloggers.
What I have discovered is that most bloggers don’t post their reflections, thoughts and viewpoints for fame or notoriety. Most bloggers share their reflections in an effort to explore and refine the craft of teaching through the reflection process. As educators sharing best practices and thoughts about classroom strategies that work or don’t work true enlightenment occurs in a way that is not possible without taking a moment to reflect upon our teaching practices. Without reading literature, periodicals or blogs, professional growth will stagnate – just as the progress or success of your blog without posting your reflections of your lessons, activities or readings of literature or periodicals.