I just read a great blog post written by @justintarte titled, “It’s All About Sustainable Momentum“. He asks why so many educators that start to blog and use Twitter lose momentum after a short period of time. I encourage you to not only read it but join the conversation as well because I think that it is an interesting topic. I started to comment but it pretty much turned into a blog post in itself and decided to post it here as well:
Great topic of discussion. As someone relatively new to Twitter and Blogging (about one year in), I too was hesitant to get started. A colleague of mine @zbpipe convinced me to join create an account and gave me a great start by tweeting out to her ‘Tweeps’ to follow me. At first, I was overwhelmed with the amount of tweets generated over a short period of time and stuck to mainly reading tweets by others. As I got used to the culture of Twitter, I slowly began to tweet out resources, idea, and links but was dissatisfied with the limitation of 140 characters on ideas that I wanted to elaborate on. This led me to create a blog and I started out by writing a few posts and I was excited to share my ideas and thoughts with other educators. I don’t know why but I automatically assumed that people wold just visit my site. After a month or two, I think a total of 5 people visited my blog and that included my wife, 2 brothers, and my parents.
I was ready to walk away from blogging until I heard Angela Maiers speak at a conference in November about ‘habitudes’ and keeping the 21st century skills that kindergarten students bring with them when they enter the education system. I left the conference motivated and it inspired me to write a blog post titled, “What’s your gift?”. The next day, my post was included in @dougpete’s paperli daily and he also mentioned me in a #FollowFriday on Twitter. All of a sudden, I saw a spike in views and visits to my blog and I was generating some Twitter followers. I even recieved my very first comment courtesy of @cyndiejacobs. The inclusion of my post in @dougpete’s paperli and being mentioned in his #FollowFriday tweet was all that it took for me to be motivated to continue.
Following that moment, I began to contribute more Tweets and engage in microblogging discussion with other educators. I felt compelled to read more blogs and comment on them since I knew how much I appreciated it. I am now a strong advocate of Twitter and Blogging and now blog not with the mentality to generate as many views as I can but rather with the mentality that reflective practice is crucial in the teaching profession and if someone happens to read my blog and can take something away from it then that’s just bonus. Sorry for the long reply but I’m glad that you brought up this topic.
I don’t think it takes much to get teachers to maintain momentum in the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere. Don’t underestimate the power of the #FF mention and retweeting. It goes a long way to make someone feel like they have something worthwhile to contribute. Sometimes, all it takes is commenting on someone’s blog post.
After further reflection, I am going to propose that we should take a ‘pay it forward’ approach to commenting on blogs. I admit that I have found myself commenting less on blogs and have resorted to retweeting/mentioning blogs via Twitter but I feel that commenting is so important to keeping conversations about important topics in education ongoing. It also motivates educators like myself to keep blogging knowing that these ongoing conversations might lead to great ideas and effective necessary change in education. So every time someone comments on one of my posts, I will pay it forward and comment on three other blog posts and I’m not talking about, “nice post. Thanks for sharing” type of comments either but real meaningful comments. So who’s with me?!….