The trials and tribulations of blogging as a SWOT analysis

There are people like myself, Steve Wheeler and others who think that blogging is a good thing to do for a number of reasons. I won’t rehearse theme here because you can read them in the articles referenced at the end of this one. However, blogging is not necessarily easy. Even if writing itself is not a problem, there are several other factors that need to be taken into account. Steve has admirably listed them and discussed them in these articles:

Goodbye

Seriously

Do go and read them and then read my views here. I’ve expressed them in the form of a SWOT analysis. The entries in each box are, of course, personal. You may have different entries, or you may wish to move the entries to different boxes. You may wish to draw up a SWOT analysis for your own blogging practice.

Oh, one more thing: I don’t regard this analysis as complete. I am continually evaluating blogging. I think hardly a day goes by when I don’t think to myself, “Why have I just spent an hour and a half writing a blog post when I could have been doing something to earn money?”

Strengths



  • Enables me to express my views without third party approval.

  • Helps me to develop and improve my writing skills.

  • Enables me to think things through in a “thinking aloud” kind of way.


Weaknesses



  • It’s exposing. A lot of the time my views don’t mesh with the current conventional wisdom, and a blog post isn’t always the ideal place to explain the reasons I disagree with something. Not in depth at least. I tend to limit my blog posts to between 500 and 1000 words. I don’t go for many “full length” articles like, for example, Crispin Weston does. Maybe I should.

  • Although some bloggers style themselves as “citizen bloggers” and pat themselves on the back for being more daring and quick off the mark than traditional journalists, blogging does have something of a whiff of being the domain of the amateur, with the kind of negative connotations that sometimes carries.

  • Following on from the previous point, bloggers tend not to have the resources available to them that newspaper and magazine journalists may have. It was, after all, a newspaper journalist who investigated the child grooming scandal in Britain. I attended a talk by the journalist involved, Andrew Norfolk, and he made the obvious but important point that most bloggers wouldn’t be able to afford to spend day after day in court listening to the proceedings, unless they have independent means. It was also a newspaper that brought to light the expenses scandal in Britain.


Opportunities



  • Blogging has brought me to the attention of some high-powered people I admire and like, such as Drew Buddie, Pete Yeomans and, of course, Steve Wheeler, amongst others.

  • It has also continued to establish my credibility in the fields in which I work. I say “continued” because I enjoyed credibility before I started blogging because I have been writing articles for magazines and journals for a long time.

  • It has brought my work to the attention of a wider, even international, audience.

  • It gives me another opportunity to hear the views of other people, and to engage in some great discussion, via comments and Twitter and Linked-in.

  • It acts as a showpiece for my writing: mainly at Ict in Education and Writers’ Know-how.

  • If I were going for a job interview, I would certainly cite my blogging activities as an indication of my commitment to my work.


Threats



  • There’s always the risk that I will get attacked by “trolls”.

  • It takes a lot of time to blog: not only the research and the writing, but the commitment to keep it up. Ideally, one should blog at least two or three times a week.

  • It is tedious and time-consuming dealing with spam comments and malicious comments. At the moment I have over 300 comments waiting for moderation. Unfortunately almost all of these are not useful.

  • The time taken to write a blog post can almost always be used in other, possibly more directly lucrative, ways.


OK, so much for that. On balance, I still think blogging has more going for it than not. But Steve’s two blog posts referred to earlier certainly gave me food for thought, and I daresay you will find that too if you read them.


Recommended reading


Seven reasons teachers should blog, by Steve Wheeler

7 reasons writers should blog, by Terry Freedman


7 Reasons educators should blog, by Terry Freedman