Relevant And Original

I haven't blogged anything of substance for a while now and while I'm not quite slipping into the banality that plagued D'Arcy Norman last year, my recent posts have lacked that "I've got something important to say" spark. I'm not sure that blogging for the sake of blogging is a good thing in my case. Wading into current popular topics and rehashing recurring ideas is not useful unless I'm adding something unique to the conversation. But I have been reading (a lot) and leaving a lot of comments all over the place. I've also been adding some new voices to my Bloglines account by following other commenters back to their blog - a good form of stalking! I really like what I've been finding too - blogs that have the dual qualities of being relevant and original. Both are qualities I strive for in my writing but they are really hard to manage on a consistent basis. Quite often I read about an idea and then that theme seems to propagate itself in a multitude of blogs. For instance, More Prensky's concept of digital immigrants and natives is currently doing the rounds. My problem? The majority of what's being written at the moment I've read versions of before with very few bloggers currently breaking new ground on this well worn topic. Someone writing with a new, unique insight will grab my attention but if not, I'll move on through the aggregator.

There are a small handful of bloggers whose perspective is so unique that almost every post has new food for thought in it. It's the reason I chase Alex Hayes in his varying online hiding holes all over the web. Artichoke, Doug Noon, Bruce Schauble and more recently Miss Profe and Sarah Puglisi manage to engage my mind almost every time that they post. Bill Kerr always advises that to broaden one's perspective, one needs to look well beyond the circle of education. But by subscribing to his insightful mind, he filters totally unique stuff through to me. Who else would take on the role of devil's advocate to George Siemen's connectivism? (Although, devil's advocate is a poor choice of phrase for an atheist!) Don't get me wrong - there are many, many fine edubloggers out there but they are just like me in their posting, struggling to be relevant and original.

So what I am saying here as it's getting late this Sunday evening? Well, blogging topics are a real mixture of stuff just posted for myself (training session notes, ideas for classes, cool tools I've found) but my most important stuff, the stuff I actually write with an audience in mind, is when I have an idea or concept burning in my brain and writing it out seems to bring it to life. Grabbing someone else's idea and trying to make it my own doesn't seem to work. I'll pick up an idea sometimes after the scent has gone cold for others but if it makes sense in my world, then it's worth exploring, flawed thinking and all. Sometimes, my writing is ahead of the popular consensus. But that's what I'm striving for - the elusive balance between relevance and originality.

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7 thoughts on “Relevant And Original

  1. Sarah Puglisi

    Thank you,
    And I’ll be in my 4th (okay of the New Year)angst session today preparing the canned lessons of my week with a little smile for this, thank you….
    ……….this fall I’ll be returning to teach 3rd grade bouncing out of 1st to allow me to “test” (as finally they acknowledge I get scores…oh…wow…)but anyway I am going to blog with the students(last year as third my site was extensive) even through the blockers the District has up…a pain for sure. I’m testing today all my ways/ideas to beat this. My daughter has some complicated thing routing to canada and in another language and I’m just goping to see what I can figure out.Oh, my point, opps, it’s funny but I’m unbelievably motivated in any area(writing/blogging) when I encounter rules, can’ts or some form of resistence… writing just compelled to improve my voice to talk to child lives in poverty.

    I wish I could write funny things….and maybe shorter thank you’s…wordy girl…sarah

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  3. kwhobbes

    Thanks for the reference. New and unique insight? Like what? I enjoyed the your thoughts and ideas. I’ve been dealing with some of the same stuff myself. I’ve found some very interesting blogs – off the beaten-cyber track. Some good ideas, thought and insights. Maybe that’s what it takes to get things going again instead of the same old, same old. I think I’ve about discussed the whole “Should we use technology” thing to death, read about it too much but it’s still the topic of conversation on many of the blogs. Isn’t there anything else? Just out of curiosity, what do you think of the idea of digital intelligence? Could it explain some of the things we’re seeing?
    Have a great week.

  4. Bruce Schauble

    Yeah, it’s a dilemma all right. I’ve been trying to keep a promise to myself, more or less as an act of self-discipline, to post something every day, on the theory that a commitment to the act itself will bring forth fruit. (That’s something I try to sell to my students as well.) Generally it works, I’m able to surprise myself with a new thought often enough to justify the days where I feel like I’m just treading water. But some days are definitely better than others, and I sometimes feel I’m close to the point where I can sense a slide down the quality/quantity index. I think we all have to be forgiving of ourselves and one another in this respect. It’s not reasonable to expect that we’re all going to be able to come up with relevant, significant, highly original epiphanic insights on a daily basis. And sometimes a series of mundane reflections—the kinds of notes that you mention, or talking oneself through some familiar ideas one more time—can lay the groundwork for a new idea to emerge later on. It’s not always going to be riveting, but it’s honorable work.

  5. Kerrie Smith

    I can appreciate this too Graham. I had a couple of weeks holiday and the brain seems to have become a bit passive. Perhaps I need a lot of other people generating ideas that I can comment on! 🙂

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