I started blogging a year ago. It was not really by choice! It was an expectation of my Masters program through the University of Victoria. My program has a strong technology focus and my cohort connects from all over British Columbia. We use the Twitter hashtag #tiegrad to exchange ideas and updates and we use our blogs for submitting assignments, reflecting on our practices and for trying new ideas.
Pressing “Publish” for the first few months was VERY difficult for me. In fact, the idea of exchanging information and ideas publicly through Twitter or blogging was challenging! I would create endless drafts and publish very few actual blog posts. I would hover over the “Publish” button, sometimes for days, then view my post, and immediately begin to edit my work endlessly. I deleted tweets as fast as I posted them, and lurked on several amazing chats. I had been discussing Digital Citizenship so frequently that my own lessons were haunting me! The idea of permanence and a huge audience kept repeating loudly as I attempted to engage digitally.
Over time it became easier. My audience was smaller than I thought – primarily my #tiegrad cohort and my parents! My Twitter community was positive, encouraging and supportive. Any pushback I received actually pushed my thinking deeper and initiated conversations.
The moment that I realized the importance of participating digitally came during a discussion with my students about using Social Media. I asked my students to begin using a class Twitter account and individual blogs. I simply could not ask my students to do something that I was not able to do. Our discussions became more authentic as I learned to find my voice alongside my students.
This month my University-hosted blog disappeared. There was a security breach and our blogs were lost. Like some novice bloggers, many of my drafts and first posts were held solely on my blog site. I did not begin backing up my drafts or using programs like Word or Drive to draft until halfway through the year. Those first copies and my initial attempts to find my voice are now gone. So much for digital permanence!
I missed my blog right away and mourned the loss of my posts. I was surprised to learn that I had grown to enjoy blogging. I knew that I loved reading other bloggers’ posts, and now I was enjoying the act of reflecting through blogging. I was forced to face my blogging goals. If I was no longer just blogging for University, WHY was I blogging? I was using my blog as a place to reflect on and share my teaching and learning practices. By choosing to share publicly on a blog, I felt more accountable to ACT on my reflections. Sharing my learning process publicly became a place to connect with others who would comment, add suggestions or links, or encourage me along my journey.
I created this new site, but took quite a while to publish this first post. I am back to that spiral of self-doubt and fear of hitting “Publish”. I’ve lost some of the comfort of hiding my new ideas and efforts in a stack of previous posts! This pristine, untouched blog has yet to be written on, read, or viewed! Figuring out a first post was difficult. So, I decided to write about starting over. Because for me, starting (both times) was the hardest part.