ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Why I Blog

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I was invited by Karenne Sylvester to write a post of tips to new bloggers as part of an upcoming blog carnival. This isn’t something I’ve done before, but it offers a nice opportunity to share a bit of the rationale behind this site. This is not intended to be a list of tips for having a popular or “successful” ESL blog. I’m just sharing my own blogging philosophy.

  • Do something you believe in.

    Much like teaching, blogging to get famous or make money is bound to be disappointing. I started this website while in grad school, because I felt like there were not a lot of places online that pulled together ESL / EFL materials and global issues / activism. Personally (perhaps too personally) I believe that these are very important and useful areas to combine. I also started the site because I wanted to keep track of the variety of great resources I found while doing my research. In other words, this blog is very much me — it is a place to keep my links and materials together, and it is a reflection of who I am both as a teacher and as a person.

  • Don’t worry too much about an audience.

    A lot of blog advice seems to focus on boosting traffic or monetizing content. Personally, though, I try not to do things with these targets in mind. It is easy to get consumed by finding the right keywords, or SEO, or link exchanges. I find that if I think about these things too much, it ruins what I write, as I get hung up trying to incorporate search terms or popular ideas. I guess I believe (perhaps a bit anachronistically) that having useful content is the only “audience building” activity worth engaging in.

    That said, one thing I do encourage is getting involved in online groups with other educators. I participate in a variety of Ning groups and email lists, and I follow a handful of blogs. I have found this to be a great organic way to build a bit of traffic.

    And, I’m sorry to say, if you’re interested in getting feedback on your writing, there are much better ways than blogging to do it.

  • Do something different.

    There are tons of blogs around. You’re only going to get attention if you’re doing something that isn’t already being done. If your idea for a blog is a popular one, you could try being a writer at an existing blog instead of starting your own blog.

Tags: blog · reflection · site news · teaching online · theory

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Laurence // Apr 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I agree. I would be interested in including you on my as yet unstarted blogroll –let me know if you are interested in reciprocating. Thanks
    Larry

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