my first blog post.
Because I'm a believer in evaluation, I'm going to pause for a minute to reflect. Indulge me.
A few years ago I was standing in the hall of my synagogue. I looked down on the counter and there was a printout from a blog. (I know, you didn't think anyone printed blogs out. Some people do, apparently.) The topic was something I was interested in, and I had been curious about blogs, but I didn't know how to access them. Well, now I had an actual blog address. So that night, I visited my first blog. When I got on the blog that evening, I discovered the blogroll (Links to other blogs the author likes. I have one on the right side.) I started clicking, and clicking, and clicking. My kids thought I was obsessed. Really, I was just trying to learn about an entirely new world to me, because I like to learn about new things.
Eventually I felt I had exhausted what I could learn by reading blogs, and thought that in order to understand how blogs worked, I should have my own. But--a blog about what? It took me months to choose a topic. I chose local schools because a) it seemed manageable; b) I already knew a lot about them; c) I'm passionate about education, and frequently frustrated by things that happen in the schools, so I thought I wouldn't run out of things to say; and d) It did not seem like anyone else was (consistently) blogging about the schools. And I was right, right, right, and right! I have been able to both indulge in my passion, and vent about my frustrations.
So--what have I learned? I was right about the topic. Education, to me, is serious business. I do feel I'm filling a niche. I have a lot more to say, too. There are plenty of things I thought I would write about that I haven't yet--either because of time or because of more pressing subjects. I didn't, for instance, anticipate how frequently I felt I needed to write about money, finances, or budgets! I love doing research, but I have a job and family that require attention.
I was also right that having a blog was a good way for me to learn about the "back" side of blogging. It took me months to figure out how to track "hits" to the blog. I didn't know what it meant to set up blog subscriptions in a reader. I had no idea how to add pictures, and I felt triumphant the first time I linked to another web site. I didn't know any bloggers (at least, I thought I didn't--although it turned out I do know a couple) so I basically did this as a self-tutorial. So I have learned a lot about the blog process, but blogspot is fairly idiot-proof, and no, I haven't learned html yet.
Originally I was ambivalent about promoting the blog. It's not so much that I am shy, as much as the fact that I had seen lots of other blogs founder after a few short posts, and I wasn't sure I wanted anyone to know who I was. But I was simultaneously thrilled and shocked when I got my first comments, and the first link to the blog, less than a week after I had started blogging. (Thanks Ann Arbor Chronicle!) I mean, how did anyone even find me? I had no idea. And I was even happier (after I figured out how to track "hits" and "followers,") to see that my audience has been slowly growing. I also added a Twitter account (find me as schoolsmuse) and I'm slowly learning about Twitter too.
So now I have learned some blogging basics, and in doing so, I've met my basic learning goals. (There are still a lot of odds and ends I haven't figured out, though, and in some cases I would like to identify best practices that would save me time and keep you from being aggravated.) To be honest, I'm not sure what will come next. I might want to blog about some other topics. I might want to blog less frequently. I would be open to adding guest bloggers. Here is to 2010, whatever it may bring--hopefully good news. Thank you for reading!
P.S. Now that there are around 200 posts, I want to remind you that if you are actually looking for something on the blog, there is a "search" link in the top right hand corner. You can also share my posts on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to a feed (which some people find more convenient).
*The picture above is from clip art, but I do wonder if it was done by Ann Arbor's own David Zinn. It kind of has that look.