Forums Or Blogs – Do We Need 2 Make A Choice?

I've never really gotten into forums, and getting involved in blogging has made it even harder to engage with that format that has been around now for quite a long time. Today, Leigh Blackall has pointed to an EdNa based forum that's been brewing for a while complete with flaming, self promotion, one liner put downs and disrespect aplenty. Alex Hayes has put together some thoughts on the same topic. I suppose at least those forums are showing some action. Back over at my own professional association's EdNa Group (sorry - locked to the outside world) things are quieter than my childhood Christmases on the farm. I'm guilty of not contributing much there but it seems South Aussie educators aren't really into posting to forums either.

Interestingly, one of the topics over at the forum in question dealt with the supposed inferiority of blogs to other forms of online communication. See, I actually think it is possible to have a forum like conversation on a blog with a number of distinct advantages. And I'm talking from a user's point of view, not a web designer or coder or other type of expert. I just want to connect with educators who are interested in discussing topics of mutual interest - if no-one's interested, then it still ends up being a digital record of my own thoughts and observations.

A current example is happening at the moment over on Brett Moller's blog, where he and I have been involved in a discussion via comments and a series of posts on the topic of "Authority of Source". (More on the actual conversation later - one hint though, you need to select the white space under Brett's own comments to see what he has written).  Here are two differing points of view, with the dangerous ingredient of religious beliefs mixed in, and the exchange is very respectful, aimed at furthering understanding as opposed to proving a point and open for any of Brett's readers to join in. I don't need to log in to participate, it's Brett's topic so all of the content stays right there on his blog for as long as he wishes and anyone with a web connection in the world can join in. The content is gathered up via RSS and search engine crawling so everything written is highly accessible and open. A forum just can't do that. And as Leigh has shown, it's very easy to jump ship and take all of your digital content with you.

I still do frequent forums and they can be a place to gather new ideas but the flexibility and ease of a blog makes it my personal choice - by a country mile.

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5 thoughts on “Forums Or Blogs – Do We Need 2 Make A Choice?

  1. Kerrie Smith

    Hello Graham

    The problem with a forum is that the goal posts can move. Is that a bit too obscure? In Nancy White’s article at–-launching-a-new-paradigm-for-online-community/ she talked about new paradigms.
    One of the images that has stuck with me is the idea that within a forum where there are many strands the focus can very easily move from one strand to another.
    I don’t think a blog is as easily hi-jacked, although you may say something which makes your reader resolve never to read your blog again 🙂
    Stronger voices in a forum can also hi-jack the discussion, especially if they are determined to be the definitive-answer-to-everything on every strand of the forum. These stronger voices are also capable of deterring anybody else from commenting. The question in a forum is how much intervention there should be.

  2. Alexander Hayes

    “………..Back over at my own professional association’s EdNa Group (sorry – locked to the outside world) ”

    Says it all – although I can perfectly understand that given the pressure of a group who are determining their position in the network it becomes the realm of a few individuals to re-define where and what composities confidentiality and at what point competitive advantage overtook the need to apologise.

    Or in less than cryptic tones – why ?

    What has the Association to hide and who holds the key to it’s content ?

    I’m all for the country mile provided I’m trudging it through sleet and snow and mud and cow dung to get to the pub only to find it’s out of beer.

    Thats the issue with forums mostly – threads, threads and more frayed material trying to fit through the eye of academic needle 🙂

  3. Kerrie Smith

    CEGSA is an incorporated professional association, i.e. a ‘boundaried’ community whose members pay a membership fee.

  4. hillbilly


    Nice site design. Okay, I need your advice.
    So, I wanna make my secondary school site, and I am looking for site template.
    Can you advice some online place or other resource where I can find many site templates?

    It would be better if it will be free:)
    I think many of us have personal sites, do you design it yourself?

    Regards, Bill.


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