Blogs play an important role in most educator’s PLNs.
And for most it’s a lot more than publishing blog posts.
So now that you’ve started building your PLN, we’re going to look at how blogs are used as part of PLNs.
I’m sure that lots of people who are very glad I’m a blogger would be totally surprised by the fact that initially I really struggled with the concept of blogging — ‘Why anyone would blog and why others read their blogs?’
It took almost a year from being shown what a blog was to becoming a blogger.
The online tools I used before blogging were excellent for sharing information. But blogging gave me what they lacked; the ability to reflect, collaborate, exchange ideas and connect with other people.
Ultimately blogging completely changed my life; it’s the reason why I’m now employed to do the work I do and helped me build a strong PLN.
So what are the key components to making blogs part of your PLN?
It’s really simple:
- Other blogs – read and comment on other people’s blog posts
- Your blog – reflect periodically by writing posts about your thoughts, ideas and/or to share resources.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone who makes blogs part of their PLN are bloggers. It’s really up to you! Some prefer to just read and comment on other people’s posts while others have their own personal blog.
Like all other aspects of building a PLN — what you get back is directly related to what you put in!
And like everything, there are tips that’ll both save you time and make you more effective.
Here are my tips:
#1 Keeping up with reading blog posts
Reading other bloggers’ posts is an important part of connecting with them.
One of the easiest ways to keep updated with posts from your favourite blogs is to subscribe to their RSS feed using Google Reader (here’s how to set up Google Reader).
Check out the Edublog Awards lists if you’re looking for more blogs to subscribe to.
#2 Becoming an effective commenter
Your commenting skills and how you engage in comments with others on blogs posts is one of the most important, and often over looked aspects, of using blogs as part of your PLN.
Key aspects that’ll help include:
1. Approve comments quickly
If someone leaves a comment on your post, make sure you approve the comment quickly (if you moderate comments)
There’s nothing more annoying to a reader to see that their comments haven’t been published.
2. Always respond back to readers on your own posts.
If readers have made time to comment on your posts the very minimum you should do is respond back to your readers (ideally each reader) in the comments on your post.
This is very important for building your blog’s community; it demonstrates that you value your readers and their input.
- Enable threaded comments if it is an option!
- It’ll allow you and your readers to respond easily to individual comments.
3. Enable Subscribe to Comments
If your blog has an option to allow readers to subscribe to comments by email — make sure you enable it!
This means anyone can choose to be notified of new comments and makes it easier for them to quickly respond back to new comments — if they want.
4. Use the Subscribe to Comments option
If a blogger provides a subscribe to comment option, then make sure you select this option when leaving a comment, so you’re notified of all new comments.
It’ll make your life easier
#3 Becoming an effective blogger
The more you learn about being a blogger, and writing effective posts, the better you’ll connect with others.
Our Kicking starting your blogging series will help if you’re new to blogging, or want to set up your own blog.
You’ll also find Writing Better Blog Posts: What You NEED to Know helpful!
Your Challenge Task
We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about PLNs by undertaking one or more of these challenges:
- Leave a comment on the “Advice to First Time Bloggers” Voicethread
- Write a post or write a comment on this post to share your tips for building a PLN using blogs
- Leave a comment on this post! Ask us a question. Join the conversation!
- Leave a link to your blog in a comment on this post if you are participating in our Whole new PLN series so the other participants can easily subscribe to your blog.