Those of you who follow my work know that I like to reflect periodically and within communities of practice (formal and informal) on what I/we have learned.  So as my informal blogging community of practice I invite you to reflect with me on my one year blogging anniversary.  What have I learned?

  • Getting started: I was inspired (and encouraged) by some Twitter friends to move beyond 140 characters, start a blog and start writing on a regular basis.  I had resisted a blog over the past few years (as blogging really “took off”) because I didn’t think I had time for it.  Although I’m not a natural writer, once I did start writing I found that ideas and posts came fairly easily, and as a regular traveler, plane flights have provided a good opportunity to do drafts.
  • Finding a niche and an audience can be challenging.  My field and range of interests in it –  “engaging internationally” – don’t lend themselves to a particular audience.  The subscription base is relatively small but there has been an average of 192 views per post  (ranging from  303 on the most popular post, to 44 for the least read post) so modest, but not insignificant.   But we all know there are better ways of assessing ‘impact’ than numbers.
  • Worldwide visitors/readers:  Visitors have come from over 30 countries on four continents.  This does mean that I’m writing for a global audience which was my hope.  Although the Internet and social media are opening up our ways to engage further, I am grateful to be able to attract and engage an international audience, and I am sorry that it needs to be limited to those who feel most comfortable in English.
  • Visitor/reader involvement: Additionally, there have been 49 different people who have engaged beyond just reading by commenting.   For this again I am grateful for those who have taken the time to engage in these discussions.
  • Going beyond ‘the already converted:  Although there is an important value in supporting our close colleagues and those who do similar work or have similar approaches, I do wonder sometimes how much we are creating ‘echo chambers’ commenting among those of us who think in similar ways, perhaps stretching our thinking a bit, but are we reaching the audiences who think very differently?

So I would like to ask those of you who are reading this to reflect with me a bit and help us learn together:

1)      If you have a blog, how do you assess your ‘impact’ beyond the numbers?

2)      Are there ways you look to reach, not necessarily a bigger audience but a more engaged and/or diverse one that challenges and stretches our thinking?

3)      Are there particular topics you would like to see me tackle under the broad subject of ‘engaging internationally?”

** A special thank you to David Svet  for being the first to encourage me to blog and Nicole Harrison for her advice to draft a few blogs before you get publicly started (I didn’t use many of them in the end, but it got me in the habit of writing in a blog style).