Sunday, May 23, 2004

Happy Birthday to It

Headspacej turns one year old today. Last May, I didn't really have any expectation for what I was trying to create. Hundreds of posts later, it's really hard for me to figure out how successful this experiment has been. The process has been worth it for the few online friends and connections I've made, and it has been a fascinating learning tool, mostly because it kept me reading the work of smart people in the field.

That said, the amount of time consumed by reading and then writing here (then reading some more) would have shocked me before I started. I don't know if blogging is something you can really do half-way. I did some blog/soul-searching when I came back from my parental leave and decided to keep going with it, but nagging doubts have returned.

I have some reservations about continuing on the same path with this blog. First of all, there is no such thing as community in the blogging world...or if there is, I haven't been able to join one in any meaningful way. Perhaps my expectations are skewed. There are people you read and people who read your stuff, but the game of finding or creating your community, complete with technoratitus (obsessively checking who's linked to you) feels like a pointless treadmill right now.

Secondly, the cult of novelty makes my head spin. There are already enough solid, well-organized resources in my interest areas sitting in two sites (for example) to keep me learning for years: elearnspace and Stephen's Web. Although both sites have excellent blogs, I'm just talking about existing archived material -- all of which has been carefully selected, annotated, and organized.

Just because something is new and relevant does not mean that it demands instant attention. The odd new piece does warrant further investigation and study, but it doesn't seem like anyone has the patience to really dig into anything -- everyone is too busy chasing the next link to think too much about the few really excellent resources (often not very new at all). I suspect that trying to "keep up" with educational technology is like watching soaps...once you're in the flow, you're afraid of missing anything, but the reality is that you could miss an entire season and then "catch up" on what has happened in the first episode you return to.

And finally, at the individual level, nobody really cares what I write here. This is not a pathetic plea for sympathetic encouragement to keep blogging. I'll flip it around -- if any of the sites I read regularly blink out tomorrow, I will register a moment of disappointment and then move on to the other 30 sites in my aggregator. My contributions are pretty much the proverbial piss in the ocean, which might still be ok for me, but I'm thinking that I may have completed the "information gathering" phase of my learning curve here. Perhaps it's time to focus on contributing something of real value for a change, or maybe it's just way past my bedtime and I should have saved this as a draft an hour ago.

And I still chuckle every time the Blogger spellchecker suggests "flogging" as the replacement for "blogging", which it doesn't recognize as a word. Perhaps the Blogger boys left that in there for their own amusement -- I wouldn't put it past them.

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