I have just read an interesting blog post by Seth Godin on the way people’s online behaviour towards buying stuff is changing. The basic premise of the piece is that although the amount of online transactions has grown enormously over the last ten years, the number of web pages viewed by us has increased dramatically more. In simple mathematical terms this means that the number of pageviews required in order to gain a transaction has gone up enormously. We are doing an awful lot more browsing relative to the increase in transactions we are making online. Here’s a summary of the blogpost or click here to read the original.
I started to think about this in terms of blogging in school. Since we started Creative Blogs 7 years ago the number of class blogs has exploded and the numbers of teachers on Twitter sharing their children’s posts has also increased from virtually none to thousands. It’s also true that the total audience for those blogs has gone up dramatically too. But I suspect that even though the numbers involved have skyrocketed I’m willing to bet that the number of comments per post published has gone down.
We know from talking to countless children that receiving feedback through comments is one of the prime motivators for children to blog. This is why so many teachers find lots of ways to share and promote their children’s blog posts via Twitter, Facebook, letters home, text message, blogsite addresses on the school minibus and so on. But they also instinctively understand that only a tiny proportion of those visiting a child’s blogpost will be motivated to write a comment. This could be a problem if what Seth observes happening in online transactions is repeated in the relatively tiny but rapidly growing world of educational blogging.
This is why it’s so important that we practice what we preach:
- Make sure you model commenting on other school’s blogs as often as you reasonably can;
- Make sure that the children have a sound understanding of what constitutes a great comment (here’s a good place to start);
- Make sure that children are given opportunities to write comments in class and for homework;
- Value great comments from children as highly as you do original blogposts and share those comments in the way that you share posts;
- Make sure that we comment on children’s posts ourselves whenever we reasonably can.
Whenever I talk to teachers, I stress the point over and over that blogging is not about simply publishing a blogpost. We can publish stuff via Google Docs, via a VLE, via a wordprocessor and print it. We’ve done this for years. The difference that blogging affords is simply the ability to interact with an audience. The point at which a post is published is (or should be) the start of a journey, a discussion, a debate, not an end in itself. Don’t simply rely on the good folk who give up their time to build quad blogs, to comment on 100 word challenge posts, to retweet your posts, to be the authors of the comments on your class blog. Make sure you are adding to the conversation yourself.
photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc