A slow decline, or a sign of something else? Where have all the bloggers gone?

how do you find the time to blog?” is a question I have been asked over and over again by colleagues – even in the pre-pandemic “before times”. I make the time was always my standard reply. Blogging was a habit that I developed slowly and surely. But I did consciously make time for it – both thinking about what to write and then the actually writing. Sometimes that was 10 minutes, sometimes an hour, at most 2. It’s something I have reflected on many times. My blogging habit evolved into something mor for my own development than anything else.

My blog is in a way my professional memory. It was (and still is to an extent) a way for me to share my struggles, get feedback or have the odd rant or three. Since becoming an freelancer, it has evolved again. Whereas I used to try and write a post once a week (and I did used to block out an hour a week to write a blog post) that is harder now. Sometimes I have to wait until I can publish something, sometimes I can’t share direct experience but have to find an appropriate way to share experiences, and I also have another professional outlet where I share a different kind of weekly update.

Now, I know not everyone needs to keep a blog, but I do still think there is merit for those involved in education to find ways to record and reflect on their practice. Pragmatically, just having some kind of record is really useful for all sorts of CPD/ professional recognition purposes. I also really enjoy reading others blog posts. I enjoy a less formal writing style (both as a reader and writer). Reading other reflections on events such as conferences always gives another perspective. I have learnt so much from what others have shared, that I have also wanted to try and give back in a similar way whenever I can.

The ALT-C conference was/is always one of those events that sparked lots of bog posts. Earlier this week when I read the voices of ALT conference round up of posts, it did strike me how few posts there were (at that point). I think there might have been a bit of blip yesterday as a couple of posts, including this one from Lorna Campbell weren’t on the list. Maybe my rose tinted spectacles were imagining things but it did strike me that this list was quite a bit shorter than the last in person conference. (NB Looking again today, the list has got a bit longer).

So I sent a little tweet

to which Lorna replied

and then Paul responded with what I’m sure many are feeling

and of course, not all reflections happen via blog posts as Lawrie highlighted.

But maybe something has changed, as Leo shared.

both Emma and Rich went back to the time issue

But I think it’s more than just not having the time. If we want to do something we will always find the time. I suspect this lack of time for more active and open sharing is linked to the ongoing impact of the pandemic experience.

I did write a post after ALT-C but like Emma I have so many posts that are half written or half written in my head. In these times of crisis, and dear reader, let’s be honest we are in a living in a time of crisis, climate crisis, a European war, UK govt fiscal “controversy” (being polite with my choice of word there) the list goes on . . . never mind just easing out of 2 years of pandemic restrictions. Knowing what to write just now is really f***ing hard. Keep calm and carry on can seem the best way to survive. I don’t know if I would have the energy, or courage to write anything with a critical perspective if I was still in full time HE employment.

So, maybe just being with people at conference is enough for this year. But I hope that people like Leo, Emma and Paul do find time to write. Because if some of us don’t continue to reflect on what is happening, share openly with each other, then we will forget what we have done, and more importantly why we have (or have not) done it.

During the ALT conference there were a number of occasions where discussions focused on the negative narratives particularly around online education that have been perpetuated over the past 2 years, and the need for counter narratives. If we don’t continue to share our narratives, and more importantly recognise the need for and make the time for reflection then it will just get harder and harder ever find that time again. The myth of ” I have no time” will have truly won.

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