9 Apr

Final Review of the Life Stream Blog

Looking back at over 100 posts, in a variety of formats, here are my thoughts about the the life stream blog.

Much of the early stages of the blog, and continuing (though less so) throughout the course, I found were spend engaging with the limits of the technologies I wanted to use. Spam, IFTTT, issues with tags and categories, the design of the blog, the issues of trying to embed Storify, were all challenges that were publicly wrestled with in the lifestream. I also sometimes had issues with synching and cloud storage–I blogged from my laptop at home, but often took notes or photographs on my phone, tablet or other computer, and glitches in synching could mean that trying to upload the images or notes to the blog was delayed.

This wrestling surprised me, because I have been using most of these technologies in my leisure time, or for work, for some time. I think the pressure to blog nearly every day while only having a day or two to focus on my studies meant I was always in a rush, so any lag or glitch could throw the whole thing off.  After semester started in my day job, too, I found it difficult to spend evenings and weekends on the course, since I often had to be at work. I had expected to be able to vary my working days to counteract that, but that was not possible for structural reasons, and that was a challenge.

In the first few weeks, there was too much Twitter and not enough of anything else. I often discuss learning, teaching and technology on that ‘academic Twitter’, so the #mscedc hashtag was a natural extension of those conversations, and fitted comfortably with the people I already follow and the people who already follow me. During the course, I gained nearly 100 followers overall, suggesting that I didn’t alienate most of my audience, and that they appreciated the contributions I was making to their streams.

On the other hand, my Instagram community is small, it’s made up of people I personally know, and they share pictures of their lunch, of their holidays, of their homes. It’s a leisured and personal space, so sharing technology news or reflections on the digital would be less appropriate. I eventually worked out that I could use it to document my own embodied working practices. I could photograph my experiences blogging with a bowl of pie, or reading in a café. These would contribute to my community but also to the lifestream.

I was often unsure about the value of the lifestream as a public blog. The learning journal blog focuses on a very small audience, primarily myself, my tutor, and sometimes the other members of the course. The format of the lifestream is difficult for an outsider to navigate or read.

Instead, I longed to craft things from what we’ve learned in the course to share with the world. I enjoyed live-blogging the readings, and continue to find that one of the most useful ways to engage with the course, the medium and the content. I wonder if this might be a valuable way of thinking about learning in public in the future.

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