Sunday, February 18, 2007

Why am I blogging?

For the last couple of days, I've been thinking about shutting the blog down. I started blogging because I like to write and I felt I had something to say. I still feel like I have something to say, but I feel I have less freedom to say it. As I've told more and more people about my blog, I find I feel less comfortable expressing myself. Not only do I feel like there are certain topics I can't cover, but I feel I must be careful when I write about "appropriate" topics. That makes the blog not so much fun. I have pretty strong feelings about a lot of things, and I worry about writing about them because someone might be turned off by it and that might mean I miss out on an opportunity because someone thinks I'm too outspoken. When you Google my name, this blog is the first thing that comes up. My feelings about the public nature of my blog are pretty complicated. On the one hand, I want to say, "Well, this is who I am. Take it or leave it." On the other hand, I'm aware of having to present a public persona that differs from the real person. I want the two to be the same as possible, but that may not be realistic.

I also feel myself to be in a state of transition. In just over a month, I'll defend my Ph.D. I've been thinking about what that means for my career. I care a lot about what I do. I've set myself up as someone who doesn't simply answer technical questions about Blackboard, but who pushes people to rethink their teaching. I've helped people explore podcasting, screencasting, blogging, wikis, and tablet pcs. In doing so, they often change something about the way they teach. I really do feel that technology belongs in a liberal arts college and that using technology can transform teaching and learning when it's used thoughtfully and appropriately. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me. Fighting that fight day in and day out gets tiresome. It gets even more tiresome when you feel like you're the lone fighter. I feel I'm embedded in a system that doesn't want to change and I'm not in a position to make any kind of change happen. I want to be in that position and so I've been looking for those opportunities. Staying in my current position is but one among many options I see for the future. Many of the other options, however, involve possible changes for me and my family. It might mean a long commute or even living apart. It might at some point mean even more change. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

If I continue blogging here, I'd like to blog more fearlessly, but already I fear I've said too much. My rule has been that I won't say anything here that I wouldn't say in public. Recently, however, there's been a lot that I have kept to myself even though I felt like this would be a good forum to say what I'm thinking out loud. But too many people from work read this. Too many potential employers read this. What I've gotten from blogging has been both about having a platform to express and organize my thoughts, and also about connecting with people who have great insight and push me to think differently. I would hate to let that go, but if I can't express myself openly, then maybe it isn't worth continuing.

In an odd kind of way, I think I began thinking about this when all the brew-ha-ha over Amanda and Melissa and the Edwards' campaign began swirling around the blogosphere. I think David had one of the best posts I'd seen on the topic. At the end he said this:

However, right now I don't so much feel reassured about this "project" of voicing our ideas and beliefs. Right now, I'm sad and scared about where we're headed, and most of all just angry.

I think I agree with him, unfortunately. And in some ways, I feel I'm in a microcosm of the greater public discourse. My voice just isn't loud enough or strong enough. Like David, that makes me sad, scared, and angry.

So, I don't know what I'll do. I'm thinking about it.