Michele Martin's challenge was to do a self-audit using her 6 criteria on why people aren’t commenting on your blog. Here's mine:
1 You sound like a press release
I scanned the sample press release that Michele cited. It read like a press release. I don’t think I could write that sort of stuff. With all due respect to those who can write good press releases – and we need those authors - I’d fail on that one simply because it’s not in me to be in a frame of mind to write like that. So I’m found wanting on that one.
2 You sound like an infomercial
Same with this as with criterion 1. I have as much sales acumen as a railway sleeper. I’m found wanting again I’m afraid.
3 You sound like a know-it-all
Now this is a hard one for any teacher to self-judge. It puts the spotlight on the traditional vision of what, or more importantly, who the teacher is or should be. Aren't teachers supposed to know it all?
Having been a researcher and a learner for many years, I think that it is unlikely that I’d come across like that, though I could be wrong. If I do would someone please put a comment on this post and tell me?
I recall the first time I taught a year 11 Biology class. I’d never taught Biology before and I’d been appointed as head of department at that school on the condition that I taught year 11 Biology. I chose to adopt the I’ll-come-clean attitude.
On first day of the school year, I had 35 shining girly faces sitting in front of me. I confessed to them that I’d never taught Biology. But I also showed them the wonderful new textbook they all had been given (and it was indeed a wonderful text). I also explained my plan. That was to let my students know the day before my lesson where in the textbook tomorrow’s lesson would be prepared from. Their homework was to read over the section so that they could keep me right when I gave the next day's lesson.
Right reason or not, that class of fifth-formers was one of the most enjoyable classes I ever had the privilege to teach. They were all repeat fifth-formers what's more, so some knew a thing or two about the subject before we started and they were able to keep me on my toes. But the camaraderie that I enjoyed, with us all being learners together, was something special that I’ve never forgotten. There were some things I learnt about being humble in ignorance and I now cherish those. I will try to bring these forward in my blog posts to keep me from sounding too much like a know-it-all.
4 You haven't showed them how
I don’t think I’ve really had the chance on the www blog scene yet for I’m a newbie to blogging. So I'm definitely found wanting on that criterion. But I have read the blogs of some excellent mentors very recently while taking part in this 31Day Challenge. Good teachers should be good communicators and they are both good teachers and good communicators. I do hope that when I get to know enough (about blogs, postings and commenting) so I feel a need to lead the way on these topics, that I’m able to help others in my posts without (again) coming across as a know-it-all.
5 You haven't created the right atmosphere
Hmm. As I write this, my last post has the sum total of 0 comments – obviously found fearsomely wanting there. Yet I have another post that reached 6, not counting my own reply comments (7!). Oh well, I must have been doing something a bit better. Maybe it was the topic. Who knows? Does that mean I always have to choose topics for posts that other people will get excited over? How do I know that people will get excited about the topic anyway? It would tend to cut out an awful lot of otherwise interesting topics if I only selected ‘exciting’ ones.
Then again I suppose it’s all about engendering excitement in the reader. And how do you do that? Doesn’t that sound like a good topic for a blog post? Come on, someone out there! Give me a link to an innovative blog post on how to create the right atmosphere!
6 You just don't seem that into it
I’m not sure how to self-judge that, frankly. Is this a matter of personal opinion? How To Be A Popular Blogger, as a title for a blog post, seems about as tawdry as the book title How To Win Friends And Influence People (all due respects to Dale Carnegie whose book by the same name is really worth a read).
But that might be what it’s all about. I surmise that if my posting comes across to someone as being passionate (and they also share that passion) then, yes, I’m may win a comment out of the reader. But how does one come across as being passionate about something? And how does one share that sort of thing in a blog post? I venture it must be a bit of both. First you must have the passion about the subject. Second, you must know how to write passionately about it. No?
Ah but, that’s where I come to criterion 7. But there’s only 6, you say. Well I’m going to put myself forward a bit here and propose that criterion 7 be:
7 You don’t have your reader's interest at heart
I’m a great fan of Bill Bryson. He has written books on a wide range of topics from Mother Tongue to A Short History Of Nearly Everything. The fascinating thing I’ve found about his books is that I can pick one of them up, open it at any page and the instant I start reading he has me interested in what he’s got to say. It's what he does in involving me as his reader. He makes me feel that he is interested in me, as if he were speaking directly with me (rather than at me) and with no one else.
So, do you have your reader's interest at heart?
Ka kite anō
Catch ya later