Unlike Rachel I cannot use the excuse I have been on holiday but I did have that conference and have been busy catching up with life after that, and now have students enrolling on a new online course, as well as looking after a colleaugues programme while she is in China!!!!
I was interested to read that the concept of blogoshere sort of got off the ground during the 2001 US Invasion of Afghanistan - a warblog community forming from the journalists present.
I have always thought of a 'blog' as a web-based diary, an idividual entity but I loved meeting this term-"the universe of discourse", implicating the use of blogs in (or for or as) a networked community -the "world of words"...the sphere of blogs...it appears though, that it is not enough to just run your own blog, what's needed is to blog for a purpose- to create connections with other bloggers and be able to keep track of these connections- certainly no mean feat.
On top of that, there is blogging in the business world, where it seems that to have a blog on your advertising web site is 'the latest trend'. But are they making connections? or are they just 'web-logs'.
Check this one, I subscribe to a free email service from NZ Gardener Magazine.
The weekly emails are great, full of really interesting stuff. People obviously email the magazine, through the web site, as there are always links in the emails with people's questions etc. But the Editor of the magazine also runs a Blog. She appears to be the only one writing on the blog- and there is only one comment. I haven't interviewed her, but my initial observations are that with some facilitation, the blog could be used a bit more, readers could be invited to participate on the blog. Going back to the purpose of the blog though, it might have only be set up only as the editor's personal blog, and maybe she was not expecting to create a blogging community of gardening enthusiasts. A search on Google for gardening blogs in NZ only showed this one. If I have time, I will email her and ask her what the intent was, and what she thinks of trying to expand the network.
A blogging network, for me, then is a group of like-minded people, writing blogs, joined by a common thread of interest by the bloggers, the joining occuring by action- making the connections (both technically and personally): by technically I mean- RSS feeds, tracking software etc: By personally, I mean a
motivation and committment from particpants to partipate. Be it shared knowledge or seeking similar, or sharing experiences.
But the community aspect doesn't just happen.
As previously mentioned, I recently attended the eFEST Open space unconference day, as part of T&L Conf 2009- the eFEST organisers set up a social networking site, to be used before, during and after the conference. During that day, we had access to a WIKI,
and it records the various discussions held during the day. One of the group sessions was on Communities of Practice and how do we (as educators) get our peer support....and how would like to get that support- have a look at the notes page- there are some comments that might be of interest- in my group we discussed that there are so many blogs- forums- out there, how do you start??? That facilitators ARE needed to drive the communities, and that virtual communities can still benefit from f2f- e.g a conference can spark the need, and people can connect later on via the networks set up at the conference (as is the case for this conference). Time was a big issue, and many people still used email amongst exising colleagues. I put in a good word for our FOC_09 attempt at building a community.....but it takes time to build the relationships. A degree of commitment and specific focus is needed.
Onto the next topic Wikis.....catching up slowly.