I have found travelling in Blogsville a very entertaining, interesting, thought provoking, self-awareness raising and enlightening experience. This is not just because of what I have read on other people’s blogs or formulated for my own; it’s also the learning I’ve gained by reflecting on writing my posts, the comments they receive and from commenting on other people’s blogs.
An outline of my key learning….!
1) Writing style
I appear to be able to write in a reasonably clear way, using simple language to convey my meaning. Not bad for someone that could not read at ten and carried a fear toward the written word for years!! I also realise I am the queen (or prevalent implementer) of bracketed tangents and elaborations!!!
2) Blogging community
It’s surprising how you feel connected to your main commenters! It’s a little blogging community. We are all so different and each blogger also brings their uniquely flavoured comments. For example:
Claire - flippant, irreverent and very funny
Nick - intelligent, thought provoking, shares a little of himself, encouraging and downright bloody witty/hilarious
Codgi- thoughtful and reflective
Clipster – I always feel like you come in as a chaotic bundle of randomness and deliver funny, sometimes flippant and warm comments that often make me laugh - with not at – you laughing at me!!! Love it!
Heronster – warm, makes his stance very clear, thoughtful
Mark – intelligent and encouraging
Eric – thought provoking, direct, not shy of challenging and often leftfield
Nikki – we share similar interests so I think we’re often on the same wavelength – your comments show that!
FF – warm, friendly and sparky
Jonathan – thought provoking, shares something of himself and cleverly mocking!
KD – what a lovely fellar – warmth and humbleness!
3) Different types of posts
Most of my followers appear to like little funny stories best. I would have become bored quickly if that was all I had written. Thus my quite diverse posts.
4) Intention and reception altering in electronic transit
The electronic word with no visuals (90% of communication is non-verbal and all that) with no facial expressions, body language or tone to help convey its meaning is easily mis-received. Add in the British tendency towards irony (we do it so much I think we hardly notice) comments can be received as the exact opposite of their intention. I think I have learnt to be more careful but I think we all slip up in places. Further communication usually sorts it out.
I enjoy writing comments on other people’s blogs as much as writing my own. I think the stimulus to be had out there provokes opinions you didn’t know you had and sparks off memories you didn’t realise were still rattling around in your grey matter.
6) Writer's eye (or inner eye)
Writing a blog seems to give you a mindset that is continuously on the look-out for interesting incidents, interesting ideas or for logging unusual memories as they occur to you. It has certainly meant I have been thinking about 'stuff' more! I am not sure this is always a good thing. My head rattles around a lot anyway.
I have enjoyed writing speculatively about ideas and concepts in posts and comments. Sometimes what I have written is evidence based (a lot of work stuff – like SRE is a positive thing) and sometimes it is opinion and/or speculation. When I write opinion, I have tried to start sentences with I think….I believe…etc..rather than writing it as proven fact.
Everyone has different opinions and this is how it should and will always be. But in debates:
• I think some people (I am still learning here) seem to be better at making challenge palatable than others (and therefore their message more likely to be received). It’s a bit like the difference between criticism and suggestion. When people challenge your opinion, some attack your opinion (as if you are wrong for holding that opinion); others put forward their viewpoint as suggestion (with a ‘how I see it, or ‘I think’). Once a person feels under attack, they are more likely to attack back than receive any potential learning. (see earlier post on conflict!!!) Some people don't care if they offend, others do.
• Sometimes people have evidence based fact to challenge an opinion – so there’s always learning to be had –you can’t debate fact. But sometimes opinion is presented as if it is fact. (still thinking and learning about this)
• Wanting to be ‘right’ and fear (?) of being wrong gets in the way of learning. (Childhood conditioning?)
• Some people are more happy to agree to disagree than others.
• Back to the Myers Briggs thinkers and the feelers again! I think these two guys can struggle with each other. I wonder if feelers are happier with evaluative judgements (opinions) and thinkers just want facts to apply logic to. I also suspect feelers find it easier to communicate with feelers and thinkers with thinkers! Thinkers’ search for reasoned logic can appear brutal to feelers and feelers’ idealism can irritate thinkers – for example. (see earlier bang-on-about-it post on Myers Briggs).
Writing a blog is a very public thing to do and like artists, musicians and anyone that pushes forward something they have created into a public arena can lay them open to judgement. By this I mean negative opinion judgement not logical evaluative judgement!!!!! (see post on judgement!). When I wrote about my father’s death, I was genuinely touched by the warmth in people’s comments - both people I knew and strangers. In my experience the Blogosphere is mostly a really supportive place. Most people comment with respect, humour and often, warmth. But very occasionally someone would write something slightly aggressive (the best example of this was the woman who told me by email recently that she thought my post had been an insult to her intelligence – which to me would be like watching a TV programme and saying, this programme is calling me stupid) and that can only ever be an unpleasant experience in my humble opinion. And this brings me to:
9) Why I wrote a blog
I am still not sure what it is that attracted me to writing a blog. Some speculation:
• An opportunity to get feedback on one’s ideas and experiences
• A forum that makes you construct ‘essays’ in a way that others might want to read. Thus making you focus on how to communicate your ideas.
• The ultimate extraversion into a potentially huge and unknown entity
• Producing something one day my kids might read because I would not just write these thoughts down on paper to record them.
• To see the dark evenings of winter through.
• To keep me off the streets, because if - I was not occupied in this way- I would be out mugging (see post on catchphrases)