Why I blog:
I quite enjoy blogging and looking back at my posts going back to 2007, it's a relief to be able to find reflections that I made years ago still available for me to refer to. Blogging has served as my memory bank. I think there's even benefit in looking back at the posts from years gone by and reflecting on those. Things can look different after time has passed and new knowledge and skills can further enhance my practice. I can look at my practice through new lenses as I learn about different theories. Things that I took for granted as praxis, I can now attempt to put into words.
In addition, I have a back catalogue of Tweets, Google Presentations, Google Sites, podcasts etc that all serve to record my experiences and interactions with others. I'm glad I have been keeping a digital recording of my professional life. It all went quiet for me when I went into the private sector in 2013 and I feel that I lost some valuable reflections on my developments at the time. I can only try to capture them now that the blogging habit has been reinstated.
Why I tag:
By tagging (or labelling) each post, I can recall a related set of blog posts by selecting a tag, regardless of chronological order. The discipline is in tagging posts, and sometimes reviewing previous posts to update tags as necessary, otherwise the system won't work for you. You get out what you put in. :-)
Why I add images (or not):
I do like to add images to blog posts where possible but do not make it a 'must-have', especially if I'm just 'dashing off' a quick idea. However, I can always come back and update the blog post with a relevant visual at a later date. It can help to identify the post more easily when you are scrolling down the web page.
Why I read other people's blogs:
Usually, this is a way for me to keep up with my colleagues who are working on similar things. In recent years, my work has changed focus and I felt less drawn to keeping up with this blog, and reading those from my blogroll. However, the MSc has given me fresh impetus and reminded me of the value of blogging.
Downsides to participating with blogs:
Learning to control the flow of information into my sphere of awareness is a 'digital literacy' that I have had to master as part of my profession. In some 'communities of practice', where I wish to be seen as expert, I feel the pressure to be the first to reply to a post or comment, and it takes some discipline to take a step back. In a 'contributing student' approach, it can also be a set back when there is insufficient participation from other members to provide a critical mass of viewpoints or discussion resources with which to work with.