Should my blog be a one-stop shop?


Well, it didn’t take long for Alex Hayes (and others) to cotton-on to the fact that I’d started a new blog.

I’d hoped to have a bit of time to find my blogging feet before I entered into the fray of the blogosphere, but it was obviously not to be!

I was keen to keep up my blogging momentum, hoping to blog at least every couple of days and I was getting anxious wondering what I would blog about next. It now appears the blogosphere has already handed the topic to me!

My blogging endeavours have been mentioned on not one, but two posts by Alex.

These posts raise some issues about how I’ve set up my blog. These are issues I’ve been thinking about myself. So it looks like, for a while at least, I’ll be blogging about blogging, which is not unusual for someone new to blogging, although a bit ironic for someone who has taught others about blogging in the past!

Hopefully I’ll get to blogging about the work I’m doing with virtual worlds and Second Life soon too.

Linkblog and Google Reader issues

In Alex’s first post – Blogging Paradigms or e-Ciphering in LagtimeGraham Wegner asks: “So is Sean’s linkblog a collection of everything he contributes to on the web?”

Just to clarify… I set up the linkblog at a time when I was still looking for a blogging solution. I come across a lot of links that are relevant to the research I am doing into virtual worlds that I’d like to share with others, and instead of trying to blog about each of them I would just add some brief commentary in the item’s notes field, tag them with ‘mylinkblog’ and make the RSS feed for that tag available.

Also, I added the RSS feed from mylinkblog to a folder in my Google Reader called ‘seansthoughts’ along with RSS feeds for posts on other people’s blogs I had left significant comments on, links to things I had written and posted to my wiki and my blogHUD (blogging from within Second Life).

I then used the Google Reader’s sharing feature to create a reblog of all my publishing output at that time called ‘SeansThoughts‘.

But it turns out that entries in Google Reader aren’t shared until I’ve marked them as read, which means I have to regularly go in and do this manually before they will publish – obviously not a sustainable position!

Now that I have this new blog, I’ve been using’ daily blog posting tool to post daily links anyway, so the value of maintaining a separate linkblog is in doubt.

The other issue is that there are things that I post to my purely for my own interest, and aren’t relevant for other people or suitable for sharing, but the problem is that the tools publish everything, which means I have to either add notes for everything or even not post those links which I think may not be of interest to others.

I believe with a self-hosted WordPress blog it’s possible to have plugins that post daily blog posts that can be restricted to individual tags, in which case I just post items tagged with ‘mylinkblog’ to my blog. But that’s not an option at the moment, so I’m not sure what I will do.

[Update – 27/02/07: I’ve sort of ‘re-discovered’ that the standard linkroll tool lets you include notes and select individual categories, which means it it possible to add a linkroll to the sidebar which only displays posts with the ‘mylinkblog’ tag . That would be a good alternative to the daily link posting, however I can’t use that here as doesn’t allow javascript (boo! hiss!), so I will have to wait until I set up a blog on my own host if I want to choose that option.]

Will I continue to blend my Bloghudding?

In Alex’s post he also mentions that he likes the way I’m drawing all of my output into this one blog: “I’m liking his new blog mainly for it’s ‘core’ value – one-stop.” To be honest though, I’m already wondering if this is such a great idea.

I’ve been blogging from within Second Life with blogHUD for some time now. I get my avatar to wear the blogHUD (a ‘HUD’ is a heads up display) and this allows me to post text and pictures out to the web.

I can also cross-post from blogHUD to my flickr account, and to one external blog. In this case… here.

I’ve had a lot of fun bloghudding. In fact my blogHUD was the first time I’ve been motivated to blog consistently. It’s also the first time I’ve really used my flickr account. I’m not much of a photographer and prior to bloghudding I only used my flickr account for demo purposes and for the occasional moblogged snap (cue sound of chirping crickets!)

Some of my blogHUD posts like – Checking out Ohio Uni’s Learning Kiosk – are ‘serious’ and relevant to the work I’m doing, whereas others like – Waiting for a burger at Big A’s – are just a bit of fun.

There is a strange disjoint between my more confident, established bloghudding and my confident posts with comments on one hand, and the occasional nervous new blogger posts like this one on the other.

An even greater concern is that between my daily links posting, my bloghudding, and my regular blogging I could be pumping out several posts a day and I’m wondering if people will choose not to subscribe to such a busy blog, or whether they will subscribe but not be able to tell which are the longer, more ‘considered’ blog posts – the ones that I’ve put a lot of time and effort into – as they browse headings in their RSS readers.

So there is another argument for not cross-posting my bloghudding here and instead let people choose to subscribe to only that feed if they want, leaving only my daily links and ‘serious’ posts. After all, I do include the RSS feed to my blogHUD in the sidebar of the blog, and the images are also coming in through the flickr widget.

What do you think?

One blog or two? What should I do?

This brings me to Alex’s other post – Blogging : For The Greater Good – in which the issue is raised whether it’s a good idea to combine professional and personal blogging into one space, or whether we should have separate professional and personal blogs.

I am still divided on this one. There is much to be said for a blog that is focused on professional material only. Do people interested in my work in emerging technologies want to hear about my more personal musings (or indeed my lengthy ruminations about blogging)? Are people more likely to subscribe if the blog is focused?

Or should I chuck it all in the one blog and rely on people to filter, either by skimming my RSS feed (if they are subscribed), or by subscribing to only those categories they are interested in?

This is a vexed question, and raises all sorts of issues about the breakdown of the walls between the professional and the personal as a result of online personal publishing (but that’s for another blog post).

I just want to be sure my ‘one-stop shop’ doesn’t become a ‘one-stop flop’! 🙂


(Image by Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches)

7 responses to “Should my blog be a one-stop shop?

  1. Thanks for the clarification, Sean. I think that one of the great things about blogging is that there is no one set ways to do things and one can create their own rules about purpose, form and structure. You e-mailed me recently about my Blogger ID not linking to my current blog from a comment on Alex’s blog. While I appreciated your concern, Technorati rankings don’t feature highly on my blogging priorities – if they did, I’d be more disciplined about actually tagging my posts. What I am interested in are new conversations, new perspectives that get me thinking and new ways of exchanging ideas with people from all over the place. Your ideas represent one of those new perspectives – whether it needs to be a one-stop-shop is totally up to the blogger involved, because in my view, blogging is a really personal experience and as soon as someone shifts away from blogging for themselves and blogging for a perceived or actual audience then the level playing field shifts into pedestal mode. There are enough self appointed experts in the world. I want a chance to be an equal partner in the conversation regardless of whether my background qualifies me for participation!! If I subscribe to this blog it will be because of what you have to say and my chance to join in (like here), not because of the way you have it structured. Helpful (or not)?

  2. Thanks for your response Graham.

    I agree that there are many reasons that people blog, and that is what I’m trying to work out here for myself. It looks like, for some time at least, I will be blogging about the process of blogging, and the process of setting up a blog. So that makes my current blogging more of a personal experience…. an opportunity to work things through, and perhaps get some feedback and ideas from the blogosphere.

    This is actually a bit frustrating in a way, as I wanted to start blogging because I have a bunch of posts I want to write about my current interests, namely virtual worlds and Second Life in particular, but it looks like that’s not meant to be just yet (I only have so much time I can spend blogging).

    I can understand that you aren’t interested in writing for an audience. At this stage of working things through I’m not either, but as an independent consultant and knowledge worker I ultimately have to consider my audience. I’m interested in developing a focused blog that reflects my knowledge and adds value by blogging about things that will be of interest to people.

    On the expert issue.. I think we have different roles… you being a teacher and me being an independent consultant/presenter/trainer. I understand that in education there has been a healthy shift (at least on the theoretical level, if not the practical) of the role of the teacher from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side’. However, as a knowledge worker my role is to research, gather, select and filter knowledge and share it, along with my assessments and opinions. What I have to offer is my ‘expertise’ which is of value to others. If that makes me an ‘expert’ I see no problem with that (providing I keep my humility about the limits of my knowledge and the subjectivity of my opinions of course).

    On the structure of the blog issue… I still think it’s important to think about how my blog is structured and what I put into it. You may be fine with scrolling past the content that is not relevant, but I don’t think that everybody is. Many of the people I want to reach are very busy and if I can provide a targeted resource focusing on developments in technology and how those developments will impact upon society, that can be of value to them, then I think I should. I know only too well from personal experience how overwhelming it can be keeping up with an RSS reader!

    The more I think about this the more apparent it is becoming that I may need to split my blogging into two – one space for my more professional coverage, and the other where I can explore and process my thoughts and explore ideas. But who knows, and until I work it out I’ll just keep blogging it all here.

    Thanks for making me part of your conversation. I hope you stick around. 🙂

  3. Hmm… it’s great having the ability to rant and rave at length on my own space… but when does a comment really deserve to be a new post? Is length a deciding factor, or is it something else?

  4. > So it looks like, for a while at least, I’ll be blogging about blogging, which is not unusual for someone new to blogging, although a bit ironic for someone who has taught others about blogging in the past!

  5. Try again

    …………So it looks like, for a while at least, I’ll be blogging about blogging, which is not unusual for someone new to blogging, although a bit ironic for someone who has taught others about blogging in the past!……….

    Provided that dosent happen the diagnosis is all good and the baby’s due around August. Your conversation is what matters most and your research is as important however I pick up lots of little things that occur between your lines that make up the full picture of Sean Fitzgerald.

    Incidently and more importantly it would be of immense benefit for those who witnessed your avid uptake of SL and issue with web 2.0 ( blogging ? ) to better understand what you were going through at the time….just the core issues that you were facing with web 2.0 and how it was affecting your amazing input to teaching and learning online.

    Personally I think your wiki rocks, your podcast was ground breaking , your bookmarking impeccable and your research amazing. Blogging will be new and groovy for a while then it will also challenge but how and why blog ?

    The one stop shop is only cool for those with the enrgy to put it together and maintain it. Personally it’s a dream and the dinosaurs appear more frequently than the luscious cocunuts on the beach in paradise…….although words can also paint a million pictures.

    Depends on who’s telling the story. this time it’s you ! 🙂

  6. Hey Sean,

    This wont be a popular comment but I think you have done the right thing tagging that last post Administrivia!

    Love the bloghud posts as they show what you are up to in SecondLife – an easy way to be informed. Not sure about the link blog posts, would rather just see the ten latest links/feeds in your sidebar.

    Too much techno navel gazing for me, sorry, but I get a huge case of the who cares! Bring on your ideas – put yourself out there, stop hiding behind the gadgetry and wizbangery!


  7. Pingback: Rethinking the purpose of this blog « Sean’s Emerging…