Blog Challenge: Your Blog Story

Lorelle on WordPress issues occasional challenges to inspire readers to blog.

This week’s blog challenge is to blog your blog’s story.

What is the story behind your blog?

I want to know the story behind why you decided to blog. What made you believe you had something to blog about? How did you pick your first blog and why did you settle on the blog you have now? What inspires you, motivates you to keep blogging? What’s your blog about and why did you choose the topic?

Greg Balanko-Dickson took up the challenge, and I’ve decided to follow the example. So here is

My Blog Story

Community, research, art, technology, self publishing and significant learning.

Learning Journal

When I signed up for my degree in 2003 I was told to start up a Learning Journal. This could be in a notebook, a diary, a looseleaf binder or a word-processing document. The adventurous, I was told, could include photographs, sound recordings or even video, but this was not required.

I had already heard about blogs. My son had already started one, but I hadn’t yet seen the point in it.

Switching Hosts

So I registered at blogger.com and started to write about my course. There were two or three other students who had set up blogs too, and in due course we found each other. Then the institution itself became aware when Tom Smith returned on sabbatical, evangelistic about blogging. Tom explained the importance of RSS reading for cultivating the blogging habit. But blogger didn’t output RSS at the time, so we recommended blogdrive for students. I had already registered on the multi user Movable Type installation so I kept that one.

This meant I could upload photographs and video, and it was in the days before Flickr or youTube so my blog became a multimendia showcase for a while, in which I indulged myself with blogging as ART.

By the final year I was getting frustrated at being hosted by the University so I set up my own domain with an installed WordPress blog and a Mediawiki. The old Movable Type blog was eventually killed off by the ultralab, but I had already exported all of the posts and comments, though sadly missed some of the files. That’s now hosted here, for reference.

Research Project

The new blog was to be an integral part of my undergraduate research project, as well as an online CV and tool for developing my own network. I used the WordPress ‘page’ format with comments to prepare and host my online exhibitions and collect feedback, which worked well for me.

After I graduated, I wanted to keep up the blog in order to build my reputation and increase my network of friends and contacts. It takes a fair amount of work, and sometimes feels thankless but I carry on. One week it feels like I’m making steady small steps of progress, another like bumping along the bottom.

Music

I found some time to return to my interest in songwriting and performance, discovered the delights of garageband (The MAC app, not the website) and used another WP page as my base for putting some of my songs online. Gernika got its own subpage.

UK

Since becoming Country Manager UK for Pajamanation, I made a concious effort to orientate some posts more towards the UK, since that’s a target audience. I thought about setting up a new blog specifically for pajamanation writings, but decided to keep it here and promote my own blog at the same time. Just in case. I do have some others though, the ukcider blog, usefulwiki blog and a new one about turning freelance. There may be problems defining the boundaries for that but I’ve thought it through and it does make sense to me.

plugins

Recently I finally got around to upgrading from the legacy WP1.5 – by exporting all posts and comments, installing a brand new WP2.2 and re-importing. I’d tried the straight upgrade path before without sucess. Since then I’ve become obsessed with trying out all the plugins and themes which have become available, fiddling with the settings and watching what they do. I love it! So from now on if I do manage to write some compelling content, at least the funtionality and format of the blog won’t be an obstacle to people finding it and interacting.

On the other hand, I note that Hugh thinks blogging is less useful these days, and anybody starting out would be better off building their network in Facebook groups and twitter. Hmm, I’ll use those tools as well but I can’t see myself being prised away from my WordPress blogs any year soon.

What’s your blog story?

Well that’s my blog story. It felt a bit self indulgent and I’ll have to reflect a little on what I may have learned through the telling of it at this stage. (Perhaps as the subject for a Gibbs reflective cycle.)

So what’s your blog’s story?

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