OK, I got a little passionate tonight, and thought I'd better share it. Here's my response to yet another post by a prominent edublogger questioning the value of our Classroom 2.0 network...


This line of thinking continues to mystify me.

I spoke to a group of 200 educators on Saturday about web 2.0, and four of them raised their hands when I asked how many were blogging. The early adopters seem to forget 1) that the great bulk of educators aren't like them and aren't going to be so proactive to go out and do all the things you have done to get where you are, and 2) that most educators don't have the time to do all of that. So, if you really want them involved in the energizing effects of Web 2.0, it doesn't make sense to play the "when I started blogging I had to walk 2 miles each way uphill in the snow" game.

There's a reason that MySpace gets 375,000 sign-ups A DAY: it taps into the ability to get yourself up there and get attention and feedback quickly. It doesn't mean that you are stuck there. It doesn't mean that you can't start your own external blog someday. It's not a prison.

Please come to Classroom 2.0 and stay long enough to do more than just leave your URL and try to drive traffic to your blog, Miguel. I felt like that showed a real lack of respect to those who are there. Listen in on some of the conversations of educators who have NEVER EVER done anything like this and who have been AFRAID to put themselves out they, are now they reading and writing and are so excited by how they are feeling.

That the edublogger "old guard" has been publicly disdaining (too strong a word?) of the Ning network is a mystery to me. I have to imagine that those prominent bloggers who have audience and keep questioning the value of Ning, but not really exploring it and especially not even getting involved in the dialog, are actually making it harder for the thousands of non-blogging educators who read them to feel comfortable taking a baby step by going to Classroom 2.0.

The edubloggers keep saying that they wish there was a way that the edublogosphere wasn't such an echo chamber, with just a few edubloggers being read. I hate to say it, but it makes me wonder if the flat nature of the social network, which really doesn't seem to devolve into a hierarchy, isn't a little threatening to those voices that are most public. There are educators in Ning who are taking brave steps, speaking up a little, getting supported and encouraged, making connections, and finding new friends--and all in matter of a few days--that would never get that kind of mentoring in the regular edublogosphere.

Interesting that I feel so passionate about this. Hmmmm... It's the Tom Hoffman in me.

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Steve -- Go with the passion. For what it's worth, I agree with you. I think Ning could be a better tool -- but I also think it is meeting a need for those who need the scaffolding. And that's good. I wish I could better keep up with all the activity here. The upshot of Ning is that, while it's a little inconvenient for me and the way I work, it's accomplishing the goal of putting more voices into the mix. I like it.
It is interesting how I first got a link to Classroom 2.0 from Miguel's Blog. I guess all publicity is good, even when it isn't all positive. I've had a difficult time understanding how I can use Classroom 2.0 to further my edtech development. I created a profile. Looked for others that had the same interests and waited. I understand the notion of content creation but there really isn't a lot of content here that I haven't already encountered in the edublogosphere. I have a feeling I would feel the same way even as a newcomer to Web 2.0. I had an expectation and it just isn't here.
The internet is evolving as is the blogosphere. I for one, think that blogs are going to become less separate entities and more embedded as part of an overall "network" that allows many such things as ning does. The technorati advocates will be bothered because this overturns the blogosphere applecart many have worked so hard in for years, however, I believe it is going to change. It is important to participate in conversation, and the motivations of many will become very clear if they don't want to engage in other conversations elsewhere. I do wish that ning somehow registered as a comment with my CC comment because I pretty much "lose" the posting unless I go to my ning. And I echo will richardson that it would be easier to check out the profiles of users over here. (I"m going to have to "recheck" all of my friends!
Oh, forget them. I thought it was Dembo anyway, not Guhlin. Shows how much I was paying attention. I have made some new friends here & though I can't see why they would ask me, am glad to share what I know. One young lady (you're all young at my age) has gotten a long list of us to Skype a class she will be holding. Where else can you find resources like that? So forget those digital immigrants who don't get it, they will in hindsight. Maybe I'm not old guard enough....
Vickie - we can subscribe to these comments via RSS. Saves me time.
Hmm...I think you're setting up a straw man to fight with the whole discussion of Ning vs Blogs. In my original post, I stated I just didn't get it. Ning posts don't excite me in the same way blogging does. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so...I don't "get" great art, either!

Steve, I did find your accusation that I was posting my blog address simply to garner hits, well, offensive. I try to sign all my emails and comment posts everywhere--Ning, blogs, whatever--with my web address. It's like a business card. That remark was unworthy of the conversation.

I also do not see myself as "old-guard" edublogger...two years is old? Sheesh. You want that, go talk to the venerable Stephen Downes. I'm just someone who's blogging with over 3000 entries. I wrote all of those for me, and some people found them worth reading and commenting on. Yes, I enjoy people reading but I'm not advertising or making money off of it...as Carole said, it's navel gazing when you count your hits. But who really cares? I mean, I don't spend hours writing because a few hundred subscribers are going to read it. I spend that time because I enjoy blogging...not social networking.

The heart of blogging is narrating the learning journey each of us goes on. Conversations happen along the way that are purposeful, reflective. I find it silly for anyone, to cast me as a "prominent edu-blogger," setting me up on a pedestal. Of what use is that?

The reality is that we'll each choose the tools that connect with our preferred way of interacting with others and the world. For now--as I've said earlier--that isn't Ning for me...I don't get the same satisfaction out of "ninging" as I do blogging.

It's not about being "old" guard, or new, but about how the Read/Write Web allows us to publish at will.

BTW, you can listen to some conversation on this subject at WorldBridges' EdTechTalk with Jeff Lebow.

Unashamed and unabashed,

Miguel Guhlin
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net

P.S. Drop by if you want to have an "old-fashioned" conversation via a blog.



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