One of my favorite blogs is the Bamboo Project Blog by the brilliant Michelle Martin. Michelle writes about social software in the non-profit sector, e-learning, workplace learning and more, so while it’s not a library blog, there’s a whole lot to be learned there. Now, she is coordinating a project called the 31-Day Comment Challenge. Here’s a description from Kim Cofino:
We would like to have a month of focused commenting for those of us that are interested in becoming better blog citizens (thanks to Martin Weller for the phrasing) by actively participating in conversations and sharing your learning, especially with those new to blogging.
We would like to challenge participants to be better blog citizens tracking who is the commenter with:
* The most comments on a wide range of blogs (not just the “top” edubloggers)
* The most high quality comments that thoughtfully reflect on the topic
* The comments that provoke and promote the most learning
Sue has even managed to secure monetary prizes from coComment and other sponsors (more details on the prizes soon).
This challenge really speaks to me. I’ve been dealing with some pretty major family issues over the past six months that I wouldn’t dream of writing about on this blog, but have left me much much more focused on the homefront and also much more in my own head. And it’s definitely made me a bad community member. While I’ve continued writing blog posts, I haven’t commented enough, haven’t taken part enough in Twitter, IM, etc. And yes, it was (and is) necessary because there are only so many hours in the day to get things done. But I want to be a better community member.
I love the conversations I’ve taken part in over the past 3 1/2 years in the blogosphere and the friendships I’ve made. Conversation is what makes this a community enterprise rather than just a bunch of random people writing (shouting?) into the void. We write posts. We comment on posts. Sometimes we comment on posts in our own posts. The conversation flows from blog to blog, from comment to comment. There’s something amazing about this, because I know when I started blogging I didn’t think I was joining a community. What a pleasant surprise.
So, it’ll probably take more than 31 days for me to accomplish this, since I have a lot going on right now (and will be in Puerto Rico for the last three days of May), but I hope this project will remind me of what it means to be a good citizen of the blogosphere. You all are my community, though I’m glad it’s not the sort of community that calls when you miss going to church one weekend. I’ve always been the sort of person who feels alternately pulled towards sociability and solitude. Each one ebbs and flows at different times and it’s nice to be part of a community that is accepting of that ebbing and flowing (thanks RSS!).
Fascinating! Meredith, your blog is a real treat. Thank you for sharing information about Comment08. While I am not an educational blogger, I consider myself a dedicated life-long learner and information hound. Your post has recruited me to the challenge.
Hi Meredith–I’m so glad you’re joining us for the Challenge. Don’t worry about having to keep up with every single activity. We want to keep this fun and engaging, but not onerous. And if it’s any consolation, I’m moving at the end of the month, so participating is a bit of a challenge for me, too.
I love what you said about the pull between sociability and solitude. I can completely relate. That’s part of being a member of a community, though, too. You need to have the time to yourself in order to also be a good community member.
Yay! I’m glad to see you joined the comment challenge, Meredith… there are a growing number of lis types on the list.
The ebbs and flows are part of what make blogging make sense to me. There are times when I’m really focused on the larger professional picture, and in those times I’m really involved. There are other times when I’m focused more on mpow and/or my family, and in those times I’m much less vocal. If it was an all or nothing commitment, I wouldn’t be able to do it!
Twitter has been an interesting addition to me, because even when I’m swamped I can send a sms message. That one seems to just keep going and going….
I hope the challenge is a fun one for you! (And I’m jealous of your trip to Puerto Rico!!)
Thanks for pointing out the challenge, Meredith. I think I’m going to give this a shot, too, starting with signing up for coComment. This will be the first comment I track using that service. In the past, I’d used a WordPress plugin called X-Comments that would manually track comments I make elsewhere but it has been a pain to use; it is no longer being updated by its author and requires constant tweaking with new versions of WordPress.