Monday, January 19, 2015

Ten years blogging

Late last year, while putting together the ‘year in review’ blog for 2014, I realised that I had been blogging since the beginning of 2005.  So this year, marks the 11th year of writing on this blog. In truth, I did not envisage blogging for so long. However, this blog very quickly became my ‘one-stop shop’ to archive books read (e.g. this one), conferences presented at / attended (e.g. this one recently - ascilite), technology experiences /encounters (e.g. most recent tablet - ipad mini - review), found resources / blogs (e,g, this one on ebook - tech variety), assorted musings (e.g. this one summarising learnings from readings from neuroscience), travel (e.g. trip to China) and very occasional vents. Hence, the time taken to compile blog entries, has repaid several fold through time saved on hunting up things.

A major off shoot of blogging has been a greater connection to the writing process. At the moment, I often use the blog to get myself into a ‘writing mood’. The writing of the blog, often just a capture of my ‘stream of thoughts’, provides the warm-up stage to the more serious business of academic writing. I often start a blog but may never finish the article. About 3/4 of tentative blog writings do end up on this blog, but many are partially completed ‘shells’, often, if technology connected, with a ‘shelf-life’ of sorts. Hence, my blogging folder now has dozens of started but unfinished ‘possible’ blog articles. However, these never completed and perhaps never ever to be uploaded starter pieces, prime me for more writing. So these fragments of writing have played an important role, despite never being shared with others.

The writings actually shared on this blog, provide a forum for me to collate my thoughts and collect links, papers, contacts etc. which might, at some stage, feature in my meanders through research and academic writing. I use the blog’s search facility several times each week and so the blog has become one of several digital filing cabinets I maintain. Access to digital features mean my brain does not have to store the minutiae of a busy work life and I know I can usually find items either on my computer, this blog or various colour coded and post-it marked hard copies of papers and books on my book shelves. I have managed to update my endnotes to point where sources of articles are – hardcopy (and which topic labelled box it is in) or digital (and which drive it is stored in). With the increase in ebooks, things are becoming more complicated as I need to remember which books are in the library (and which one, work, public, university), accessed via kindle or on shelves (at work or at home). So, another update required on endnotes added to my ‘to do’ list for this year.

If I am asked, why blog? I would say it is was originally just to find out what blogging would be about and then the advantages of blogging motivated me to continue the blog. The plethora of blogs on the cloud, attest to the diversity of ways bloggers utilise their blogs. It is up to a blogger to find their blogging voice. To maintain a blog, requires the blog to meet the blogger’s needs. For me, this blog has been a place to practice writing and to archive ideas and resources. As the years pass, the blog has become part of my modus operandi. It is a place to collate notes on books read, to consolidate and rationalise thoughts, to sound out ideas. In short, a place to ruminate, learn and deliberately practice writing. To blog is to become – a writer, a scholar, a thinker / tinkerer.

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