Why literacy workers shouldn't blog

Danny was starting to feel good about his weekly output when
a small object appeared in the distance.

Out on the west coast, Glenn Groulx has been waging a thankless campaign to encourage blogging among his co-workers (see his Zone of Silence post, for example). I admire his spirit, but I can't get on board. My advice to them and you is, don't blog.

Don't blog because your boss won't like it. Your funders won't like it. The government department that supports you won't like it. The church that offers you space won't like it. The college dean won't like it. The school board won't like it. One of your co-workers - the loud one - won't like it. The business anti-poverty organization won't like it. The conference organizers won't like it. The coalition won't like it. Glenn Beck won't like it. Somebody somewhere, probably who enjoys, in equal measure, telling people what to do and enacting drama, will not like it and they will cause you headaches and grief (and maybe serious economic problems).

"I swear to never ever talk about anything I learn in the course of my work," read the slip I signed once upon a time. Which means I'm soon going to jail or hell or jobs.com, I suppose. Even mentioning the slip is a violation of the promise. It's like those super-injuctions that outlaw reporting even on their own existence. It's like working for the mob. Don't say nuthin to nobody bout nuthin. Do your job. Keep yer mouth shut.

Don't blog about work, because it's not appropriate to blog about. Doesn't matter what "it" is. Anything work-related that is interesting enough to talk about is already bound up with somebody's sense of privacy or security or public relations.

In a time and place where gossip is a growth industry (reality TV being just one of it's more recent forms), some of us seem to lack the self control needed to be discrete in our sharing. Consequently, our managers and bosses create lowest common denominator rules to protect us from our thoughtless selves. (In New Brunswick, iron-strong rules gagging government employees and contract workers get strengthened every time another politician is caught disclosing confidential information to hurt their opponents. The politicians themselves seem immune, but let that go for now.)

So, no. Don't blog. Or tweet. Or post about it on Facebook. Not about work. Not about your day or your challenges or your learnings. (Actually, best if you never admit to having learned anything ever - raises too many questions.) And for sure, don't blog about anything or anyone your workplace or relatives might find embarressing or distasteful.

Oh, and Research in Practice? That's completely out of the question. (Small wonder the conversation between fieldworkers dried up.)

If I had any sense, I'd just learn to knit my troubles away.

Recent voices leaving the blogosphere

The truth is, I no longer enjoy blogging and I think that this has been evident for a few months now to my readers. I hate the backbiting that goes along with it. I hate the character assassination that is permanently present. I no longer enjoy the pressure of feeling I have to churn out four or five pieces every day.... And if I am honest, I now feel that my blogging is having a negative effect on various aspects of my business and broadcasting life. For instance, yesterday I felt, for various reasons, I had to slightly caveat what I really wanted to say... My blog is indeed a personal plaything... but the reality is that this is not how many in the outside world see it. And I now need to recognise that.


On one hand, I get this great sense of accomplishment from the one or two thousand people who read from my blog every month. This is well over double what it was a year ago, and I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to write for an audience. I also think that writing has helped keep my mind keen and fresh. One the other hand, blogging can be a big distraction, especially the constant urge to continually check to see if there is a new comment. It is a further distraction if you include “reading other’s blogs” with the whole blogging verb. It takes time too. I think I average about 20 posts a month. If each post takes half an hour to write, then I’m spending 10 hours a month writing. An extra 10 hours a month spent on some of my classes sure would have helped.


So I’m Done. Literally. With blogging, in any case.
I’ve had enough. I’m sick of it all. I’m bored of it all. It’s shit.
I’m sick of not being able to say what I want to say, for fear of upsetting the apple cart.

1 comment:

Karen Bosworth said...

Enjoyed the link to Glenn's blog. Thanks for sharing.

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