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Beth, this is another topic you've hit on the head with what we're doing right now (first being your analytics/web reporting post).

Over the last 7 months, I've been blogging on our web redesign process, which was a fantastic learning tool for us. Since blogging was/is a new concept for my org, I thought we might benefit from a community blog to add to our redesigned website.

I know community blogs are harder to attain readership since there are many voices, but I wasn't sure how (or who) would be able to devote the time to a personal blog.

In the end, I thought it would be easier to *train* a cohort of bloggers to blog on our issues with the hopes of getting a handful of folks keep it up.

It's beginning to work out that way, but we're still learning (and always will). However, though our experience has been similar to what you wrote -

a) encourages self-reflection and personal learning that contributes to organizational learning b) encourages a sort of peer dialogue.

I would add to the above that we've been experiencing a renewed sense of excitement for what we do. Internally.

What's been nice - to date - is breaking down the wonk speak to include story, personal reflection, etc. In the end, it's been fun to see a little buzz in the office about how *we're* talking about our work on YouTube, Flickr, and, um, WordPress.

Thanks for another great post.



Hi Beth, thanks for the mention and a very thought-provoking post - I blogged about my thoughts on it: (sorry rather pathetically can only cut and paste the link: some are born techie, some have techieness thrust upon them...)

cheers, Susie

Beth Kanter

I'm in the latter category! Now, should I get crocs or not?

Paul Webster

Too true, I blog because I have something to say, sometimes funny, sometimes perceptive, but all of it what I would say face to face.
Picking on Susie's point blogging can be theraputic.. its a way to share thoughts and emotions with others. I guess my "Jumble Sale" piece on WatfordGap today is an example of that.
Oh and I love my job to so would have nothing negative to pull down my org!

Anne Adrian

Beth, I started blogging anonymously, but gave up on that quickly. The reasons became clear when I reflected on my reasons for blogging. By leaning to blog, I can then better understand and describe how blogging can help Extension and Extension professionals. Since I personally know Extension staff in Alabama, many Extension staff in the South and almost only IT Extension staff nationally, but I did not know many Extension people outside of them, I needed to quickly build credibility and identity to become part of a larger Extension community.

My perceptions become more understandable if my readers know something about me--first they need to know professionally where I stand. For example, as an Extension IT leader, my perceptions probably differ from that of an Extension program developer. With my identity known, credibility can be built more quickly.

I write as an Extension professional. I have incorporated personal stories to make a point. For instance, I wrote characteristics that my parents instilled in me that are the types of characteristics that leaders have. I suppose I am spoiled because I work with individuals who get along extremely well and are very productive. Part of the reason that my immediate work group works so well together is that we are also friends. We have built a great working environment by expanding slightly beyond our work duties.

As I consider becoming a part of a community online, I think that mixing relevant personal stories can be helpful in building relationships, building credibility, and become effective in blogging.

I understand why someone would want to be anonymous. One reason if you are posting on very controversial material that could cause nasty bachlash. And, if you are scared of the creeps.

Anonymity has its place--it's just not very effective for my purposes.

I found Give and Take post to address this debate clearly. Dana Rogers commented "...we have so much respect for Thomas Jefferson. He was the original anonymous blogger writing political tracts under fictitious names to better stir up the political pot so to speak and get his point across...." My thought: I would hate to be dead before I was considered to be credible.

If you are asking whether we blog as part of an organization or only from personal perspective, the answer for Extension professionals who want to blog should blog as part of the Extension organization. Blogging can be such as great way for Extension professionals to expand their reach and become a larger community we are losing great opportunity if we do not.

Thanks again for another great post.

Eli Sagor

I'm the guy who posted the question about blogging as a professional or a private individual. As a forestry extension educator, I'm considering starting a blog for woodland owners to share news, info, events, etc. This would be "as" an extension educator.

The questions for me are about permanence (Will I be in this job forever? How to sunset a blog? Am I helping or hurting extension in the long run by creating an expectation that info will be posted frequently and in a certain way?).

I also want to be sure not to get in over my head and not be able to give the blog the care and feeding it needs. Still weighing how best to proceed.

Beth, thank you for joining the extension discussion, esp. with the tech problems. I've become a huge fan and appreciate your advice. Since watching your How to Find and Use Great Photos for Your Presentations, I've become a Flickr junkie. Thank you!

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