In my first post about blogs, the focus was on reading blogs to support your professional development, if you've not read the post I recommend you take a look here a Blog about Blogs (Part 1).
So you've got a RSS reader to help you subscribe to blogs and you're finding blogs that interest you and you are starting to get in to the habit of reading blogs relating to L&D or HR so what next?
I want to share a post from Donald Clark whom is a leading voice in and around learning and development but also on a huge number of topics which he blogs about on a regular basis. Donald actually did a blog marathon and wrote 50 blog posts in 50 days which is an amazing achievement in itself but I want to focus on one of his posts in particular - a post about blogs (link below)
This is a MUST read if there is still any doubt in your mind to the power and benefit of using blogs and it's the end paragraph where I want to begin where he concludes:
Blogs are a potent and vastly underused teaching and learning tool. The habit of regular writing as a method of reflection, synthesis, argument and reinforcement is suited to the learning process. Blogs encourage bolder, independent, critical thinking, as opposed to mere note taking. For teachers they crystallise and amplify what you have to teach. For learners, they force you to really learn.
So how do you go from reading blogs to writing a blog?
Commenting on blogs
My own experience has shown me that it can take quite a long time to have the confidence to comment on a blog let alone write one and to continue to keep a blog takes commitment and time but IT IS something that is worth it. So where do you start? I think it does help having a 'safe' environment to do this which is why the DPG Community is an ideal environment to start to use blogs as part of your development and professional growth.
I would say that commenting on a blog is a big step towards writing a blog as it moves you from being just a reader to an active contributor. Just thinking about blog content and formulating a response of your own to either build on ideas, develop thinking, agree and congratulate or disagree and challenge is extremely useful. Not only does it add value for you but it also helps the blogger to engage with others on the topic they've written about and share ideas and get other perspectives. I can tell you the other benefit to this is the value it provides and the encouragement it will give to the blogger themselves, it's a wonderful feeling when someone reacts and comments on something you've written and becomes a contributor on your blog. As a blogger myself I will respond to every comment added to one of my posts and I believe it's important to respond and acknowledge comments and think it's good practice to do so.
There are some great blogs already on the DPG Community, why don't you look through them and see if any of them spur you on to add a comment or to share something that it is relevant to the post. You can find all the blogs here
Writing a blog
So you've commented on a blog, you've moved from reader to active contributor by added your own thoughts and made someone's day in reacting and contributing to something someone else has written. You can of course add this to your CPD log which is another benefit as you can use it to reflect and help you're own learning.
You're now ready to write your first blog, you've had a great idea you want to share or you want to share an experience you've recently had or something that has happened at work - there are no rules to blog content, no right or wrong answers you just write about a topic that means something to you.
This is an important thing to recognise about writing a blog, you don't write them for other people you write them for yourself for all the reasons outlined by Donald Clark. If other people read them and comment then that of course is a huge benefit but ultimately you write a blog for you.
The DPG Community allows you to write blogs but the great thing about the community blog features is that you can make them public or private. If you're not comfortable sharing what your writing yet you can make them private just for you or just share them with your friends e.g. your other group members & facilitator or make them public to all.
You can watch a short blog tutorial on how to write a blog on the DPG Community here
If you get to the point where you want to start keeping your own personal / professional blog then there are a wealth of blogging platforms out there. Most are free and the two I'll recommend are free tools and really easy to set up
You can personalise your blog, brand it and make it look how you like, it's up to you and there are lots of tutorials to help you on YouTube to get you started.
So there is a quick guide to get you started from commenting and adding a blog on the DPG Community to starting a blog for yourself. If you've got any questions I'm more than happy to help anyone write a blog or help you set up a blog just let me know and get in touch.
Thanks to those of you who have already blogged, commented and I look forward to your future comments and blogs ;-)