Hola! I’m excited to post my first blog for the SA Collaborative. Several of my friends commented on how long it took me to get my blogging going (I do have one for my family). It is weird their comments considering I have been “blogging” way before it existed. You ask how…. through letters and regular mass emails I would send off to my friends/family. Monthly I would sit down and write letters about the happenings in my life as well as my thoughts on any particular topic. I do still have some of those letters. It’s very interesting to review them and reflect on the person I was at that time. Once internet came, all my correspondences moved online and once a month I did just that until…. the kids (I have a 4 year old girl and a almost 2 years old son). I did have a blog for each of their births and their first-year but nothing else. I had so much to say about them that I forgot about me.
So it’s time for me to re-emerge and exchange the random thoughts flowing through my head. It truly is a lost art that letter writing but when I read others’ blogs like Eric Stoller, or Gina Dixon I am reminded that the art has simply evolved. There is so much information out on the internet that we need tools (like google reader) to handle it all and almost anyone can or has a blog. So how do you figure out what or who you should follow? Here are my 5 steps to figuring out : To subscribe or not subscribe.
Step 1) What are your passions? Think of the things that are important to you and find blogs about them. For me, I have several identities that I am passionate about: mom, runner, musician (french horn player to be exact), SA professional, and educ. techy. I haven’t found a blog yet for each of my passions but I do subscribe to ones that helps me to keep my passions in the present and not lose in my everyday happenings. These blogs remind me about who I am and helps me be focus in my daily life.
Step 2) Will you read it? If the blog is too wordy, or doesn’t interest you, don’t subscribe. Read through each post and see if you want to continue on. If you can’t read it in a timely manner, then think about why you are subscribing. You have to think on how you will read the blog. There are great RSS feeders out there that can organize all your subscriptions in one place. Please don’t try to go to each blog everyday in an individual tab. It will take too long and you will lose interest. Some suggestions for readers: Google reader, Awasu, or Bloglines.
Step 3) Who’s writing? Is it a Dean of a college or your friend, or just someone random? I find myself subscribing to friends’ blogs and other SA professionals’ blogs. I do restrict subscriptions to blogs of individuals I don’t know unless I think the quality of the blog is worth it. Don’t get me wrong, but I want to trust the information I am receiving so make sure you check out who’s the author and if you trust their credibility.
Step 4) Do you care about the information? Basically, would you use this information to pass on to others, improve your own practices, or cause you to reflect. I almost always learn something new or post it on my Twitter account. I pass on information to my peers, my family, or store it in my head to be used later in a conversation. It helps me be on top of the things important to me and that I care to share.
Step 5) Will you contribute? Yep, I expect you to get involved and make your voice heard. It’s one thing to know people are subscribed to your blog but it’s something else when they share. So what if you have 100 people who say they read your blog. Are they actually participating in what you are posting? This is what I want you to think about when you reflect on a blog subscription. Don’t just take the information; do something with it. Post a comment on the topic, if you liked it or not, if you want to just say ‘great job’, or if you have something to add to the post. Comments, I believe, are the best part of blogs. There you will get just as much information as you read on the post.
I hope you enjoyed my first post. I will reflect on several topics like educational technology role in student affairs, SA practices, and SA happenings. I hope that through my posts I’m able to pass on some of my ‘random thoughts’ that will benefit you. Until tomorrow, enjoy!
Licinia “Lulu” Barrueco Kaliher, Ed.D., is Ray Street Complex Director at the University of Delaware.