Scott McLeod opened the year with either a “brilliant and inspiring” or “negative and cynical” challenge to become more connected this year.
He notes that it takes five minutes to set up a blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, or Google+ community, all places that we can speak up about education issues, but that we probably won’t.
Because we’re scared. Or apathetic. Or don’t think we have value to add to the conversation.
I think that he might easily have added “or we don’t have time” to that list. It might take just a few minutes to sign up for accounts, but it takes many, many hours to keep up with them all year. If you haven’t got the time and interest to keep up with blogging (and the multitude of more or less abandoned blogs suggests that many people don’t), there are other ways to participate. If you have time to read a blogpost or an article, maybe you have time to leave a comment or link to it on Twitter or Facebook. You might live-tweet a school board meeting or legislative subcommittee meeting or conference that you are attending.
I do think the notion that our online participation “can reach others around the globe at the speed of light” and that we can “use our voices to make a difference in the world” is a bit intimidating. So I would add (as the author of a blog of very small readership!) that, while some themes are universal (parents experiences dealing with public schools), many others are mainly of interest to people closer to home (Iowa legislature, local redistricting) and that’s okay. Plus, blogging, in particular, can be of value for other purposes, such as, thinking things through and saving resources that we can draw upon when we find ourselves in need of material for dashing off a letter to a legislator or school board member, a letter to the editor, or a guest opinion or for speaking up at a school board meeting, legislative forum, conference, or just joining in a conversation at work or in line at the grocery store.