What’s the fascination?

Who am I writing for?

Recently I’ve had to do some real introspection. Why do I blog? Who am I targeting? What is my goal with each post? It has really made me go back and look at many posts. I used to think it was for my technorati rank, and then I thought it was for readership. Then I thought it was to solicit comments/conversations and affirmation that I have good points, thoughts, and ideas. Some would say it is for attention, and some might even say I am campaigning for an award or two.

Check out this:

Blog Stats

There are currently 191 posts and 479 comments, contained within 55 categories and 105 tags.

And for the record, those are not necessarily great stats, but I’m pleased with them.

Why then…?

That’s a lot of possibilities
As I sit here reflecting on this tonight, I realize it is for none of those reasons–though some of those things I list are definitely side effects, and some of them very satisfying ones. In short, however disappointing this may be to some, I do it for me. I do this as a way to tumble ideas through my head. I read others, and respond there, and then quite often here. And I’m open to any and all agreements and or disagreements. There is no harmful or malicious intent, but rather a desire to think out loud (albeit in a blog.)

Face to Face vs. Virtual Conversations

Feel free to agree or disagree, and if you want to be left out, I will remove anything that makes you uncomfortable, particularly if you express to me your interpretations. Words, just like emails, can be easily misinterpreted, and when someone is not known very well, the ever important “voice” that comes out of writing could start something that was never intended. It is better to set the record straight right away. Face to face conversations will ALWAYS supersede blogosphere conversations. It is the very reason we all strive to attend the conferences where we might meet up, and why many flocked to EdubloggerCon in Atlanta (NECC 2007) and Educon2.0 recently in Philadelphia. We clamor to see the people who do partake of conversations in the 2.0 tools because as much as we love these tools, they still cannot top meeting face to face, having conversations, sharing and networking in real life, and realizing that commonalities do exist in more than just our virtual presences. Even though the tools (like Skype, Ustreaam, and CoveritLive) allow us to experience the faraway and impossible (either physically or financially) to attend workshops, conferences, and seminars, nothing beats hanging around face to face with the people we have befriended in virtual places. I feel I made life long friendships with Liz Davis, Joyce Valenza, Lisa Thuman, Jennifer Wagner, Carolyn Foote, Sylvia Martinez, Will Richardson, Ryan Bretag, Robin Ellis, and many more who attended Educon. When I attend NECC this summer, I will deepen already strong friendships with Sue Waters, Diane Cordell, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, Darren Draper, Dean Shareski, Lisa Parisi, Alex Couros, and more there. This is true on a local level too, as I have recently cultivated a few good friends (Heather L., Fran B.) out of virtual tools right out of my library association, SCASL. Why? We already share a camaraderie in other virtual venues.

So just who is Cathy Nelson?

Please don’t think you know all there is to me or what makes me tick from what is written here. The blog is just one component of me; it is one place you can learn a little bit about me. But it is not the total me. Want to know the total me? Pick my brain in person. I’m not near as forward, brave, or sassy in person. (But I do like to be that “wannabe” personality sometimes, and the blog allows it. It’s probably my one take away from getting to know Doug Johnson in person this past summer at NECC 2007–outside of his blog.) To quote him–straight from his list of biases which I am more and more seeing the wisdom of instead of just humor:

  1. Technology is neutral.
  2. Best practices should drive educational change, not technology.
  3. Short-term fixes rarely fix anything and usually aren’t short-term.
  4. PowerPoint doesn’t bore people: people bore people.
  5. Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part.
  6. Cell phones are evil. (Exception to bias #1.)
  7. Macs are better than PCs.
  8. More and better are not synonymous.
  9. My best judgments are made when I think of myself first as a child advocate, second as an educator, and lastly as a technologist.

PS-don’t humor yourself and think you did something to warrant this post. I got the idea after reading what Clarence Fisher said today in his blog. 🙂 Because that is true, no one gets a pingback except Doug and Clarence. Hope the rest of my friends have subscribed to google alerts or something to let them know I named them. (I can be so selfishly mean sometimes.)


Image: ‘asleep

Image: ‘mac kitty

Image: ‘Photo 43

18 thoughts on “What’s the fascination?

  1. Well I read you religiously in my Google Readers so off course would always know if you were talking about me :). And love reading what you are up to even if I feel sad when your eyes are sore.

    When I look at your blog I see a thriving community that you interact with well. Creating and working with your community is something you should be very proud of.

    What can I say — I would love to meet each and every one of you at NECC. And if I could I would. There is a huge contingent of Aussie educators coming; so many of them I have also formed very close friendships with as well and yet never meet (and may never meet f2f).

    I’ve thought a lot about it and if I’d really pushed the issue I may have been able to come but the kids are still young (13 and 9) and it’s very expensive – would cost probably $7,000 minimum. So I will be very sad not to be there and will just have to been there virtually and in everyones minds.

  2. Great post! I hope someday to meet you! I too blog for personal reasons. Since I retired, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other new and struggling teachers to help them. I feel that if I don’t share this, then I am throwing away all that I have been for the past 25+ years. I also love having to think about my philosphy of teaching and revising my thoughts and learning from others. Learning should be an eternal process and I love it! Thanks for writing your thoughts and letting me get to know you.

  3. Cathy,

    It’s interesting how our writing evolves over time isn’t it? I think most of our best writing is when we just have to say something, explore a thought, and follow it where it leads us!

    But by sharing it, it becomes part of something larger and connects us with so many other educators who have maybe had similar experiences or dilemmas or struggles.

    It has been so good meeting people who create a supportive network of “learners” and educators 🙂 Glad to be a part of it myself 🙂

  4. Cathy,
    In regard to “who you are writing for,” I met the children’s author Aliki one time and asked her why she decides to write on the topics she chooses. Her response was that she writes to learn more about that topic. So it is not surprising to me that you write for yourself. To be life-long learners and good practitioners of learning, I believe we must first be reflective.

    Keep reflecting! I enjoy your insights.

  5. Cathy,

    Great post about Things That Matter – which aren’t really things at all, but People: your virtual, some day f2f, friends, and those children you interact with as part of their educational experience.

    I agree with all of your nine points; #6 made me LOL because I HATE talking into air and can’t even remember how to retrieve my Voicemail from my cell.

    Because you ARE a friend, I’ll ignore the cheeky remark about pingbacks. Of course I’ll know you mentioned me – I always read your blog!

    See you in Texas.


  6. Hi Cathy,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    No wisdom ever intended in my blog. Only a natural continuation of being the smart ass in the back of the classroom.

    Keep up the good search. If you can figure out why any of do this, there may be hope for a cure.

    All the best,


  7. @Sue–I am severely disappointed to learn you will not be at NECC this summer. I just knew all my friends from “down under” would be there. Bummer. However, I do understand that our kids dictate these decisions, as I never even considered NECC until my own boys were in high school. It’s still wonderful to have a friend and mentor like you in my nw.

    @Bill and @Pat – Two more SC folks that I’ve developed friendships with! I can’t wait until our paths cross for a f2f meeting. And being from SC, that’s likely to happen sooner than later. Pat, with you in my nw, it’s like having a personal cheerleader.

    @Diane and @Carolyn (Futura) you two stretch my thinking almost on a daily basis. SO glad to be able to call you two friends. Also, its extra special that we have a bg in library, so we face similar issues, and I know I can ask those kind of questions to knowledgeable and experienced people who face the same daily tasks I face.

    @Julia I will never forget getting to know you at Educbloggercon this last summer. How wonderful it was for our paths to cross again in the IND-PYP.

    @Doug AKA The Blue Skunk–you strive to be a little stinker don’t ya-can’t seem to handle compliments very well. That’s okay. Maybe I am striving to be a little stinker too, but hopefully will make a difference along the way.

  8. Anybody that wants to send me their evil iPhone, please DM me in twitter, @metaweb20.

    Cathy, I like what you said about being a Child Advocate. We need more of those for sure.

    For some groups, I can see where virtual relationships are more important than face-to-face, at a certain point in time anyway. Some groups (speaking of being a Child Advocate again) don’t yet have the safety to express themselves in a face-to-face way. It shouldn’t be that way, but I don’t control society or make the rules. I can only hope that teenage suicide rates have declined because of the Internet and giving voice to those that continue to be unheard face-to-face.

    The blogs and other Web spaces that I enjoy reading the most are the ones where:

    – The authors are writing for themselves first and have something to say: a question that they need to resolve, an excitement or doubt that must be explored, a call for participation, etc.
    – The blog is no longer trying to be “sticky” keeping readers on their pages as long as possible, but rather collaborative and sharing and promoting other connected web spaces (actually pushing me away from your blog is better to me). I like blogs that say something interestingly unique, then tell me to go somewhere else (and fairly quickly). It should be a launchpoint, part of a connective Web… not an endpoint.
    – the author is honest, not manipulative, controlling, sending signals that they are the “expert” on anything.
    – there are some visuals included, not all blocks of text. The eyes need some rest and variety, mine do anyway. I think that is why I prefer the Web interface for twitter more than twhirl. I like to see the creative ways that people have personalized their backgrounds and color schemes, rather than seeing the boring blue (or green or red, etc) twhirl box all the time. Variety, visual and content, is good.

    So, keep blogging … your authenticity is what is “sticky.”

  9. @Frank AKA metaweb20!
    Great comment. Amazingly you have made me rethink this a whole other way. Im guilty of decorating my twitter page. I use twhirl now, but find myself opening my Twitter on the web b/c sometimes I want to know more about a person, like where they blog, if they blog, where they are from, and if there is more info to be known about their context as a twitter person or otherwise.

  10. Hey, I just surfed to get here. I do TechnoThursdays at my school, that is funny. Good thing I have class Tuesday or we could have a copyright lawsuit on our hands. Just kidding.

  11. @cathyjo Been playing catch up in my reader and finally got to your posts. You know you’re in my reader since you introduced me to RSS and blogging in the first place. After reading your blogs and chatting with you in Skype, I was more than ready to meet up with you f2f at SCASL. I enjoy reading your blog and hope mine develops more like yours into conversations instead of just sharing links (as it seems to be right now). The personal info helps us understand the author and your posts always have me thinking!

    BTW, I love the photo of you and your cat. I have to tell you, I’m the annoying person who gives commentaries as to what animals and babies would say if they could talk and thought bubbles to family photos. Yours cat looks annoyed and like it would be saying “Would you take the photo already so I can go take a nap!” Sorry I won’t be able to go to NECC this year. Will you be going to the Upstate Technology Conference in June? Maybe we can meet up there?

  12. I’m catching up on my RSS feeds (I am so behind right now) and lucked into finding this one in a timely fashion. It was wonderful to meet you and get to know you f2f in Philly. Sounds like a good movie title, “Face to Face in Philly,” but I digress…

    I ask myself all the time why I blog. Ultimately, it is for my own learning. But I can’t help being sucked in to the Technorati thing some times. It feels good when something I’ve written inspires someone else to write about it.

    In the end, I can’t write for the ping backs, I have to write from the heart. And the bloggers I like best also write from the heart (like you). You can so tell a “filler” blog post. If you don’t have anything to say, you don’t have to write anything. That is the beauty of blogging. The deadlines are all your own.

    P.S. You are pretty sassy in person 😉

  13. @Liz oh wow thanks. It’s weird how truly therapeutic this is sometimes too. I have a hard time getting non bloggers to understand that at all. One must blog to understand, that is all. I am so glad we got to hang out in philly too. Now I can say I knew you way back when…you are destined fr greatness.

  14. I am so far behind in my reader so I am just catching up with this now. I, too, started blogging for the audience and now blog for me. I get ideas as I drive and record them into my digital recorder. Should just use jott to blog or something but need to think things through more. And now Frank has made me think even more about why I like reading certain blogs. So the question now is: do I try to create what I enjoy in others or just stick with what I do best for me? Audiences really can make things confusing.

    BTW, I, too, cannot wait to meet you this summer!

  15. @Lisa I’m so glad you dropped by to see your name listed as one I excited to meet this summer too. We are going to have a phenomenal time in San Antonio!

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