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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blogging as good conversation

I say something. You say something back. I reply to your reply. Someone else joins in.

Yep, that's conversation. And that's what much good blogging is like. It isn't rocket science. And it's hard to appreciate if you get just a snippet. (Did you hear what she said? Why did she say that?) Really good conversations are things you have to invest some time in. You have to be willing to listen to the person talking, and then you have to be willing to add to the conversation. Not just a nod of the head, but real words and ideas. Adding on. Linking to. Starting your own conversation in another space, but a conversation that bears the marks of the last one.

Although this metaphor of conversation isn't quite what Will Richardson says, I was thinking of him as I wrote it. Here's a piece of what he said in one of the readings for today:

Blogging requires effort in ways that make it a valuable use of my time. I need to read and think and write, all the while testing my assumptions and editing what comes in and what goes out. In the three-plus years that I've been keeping this blog, I've read tens of thousands pieces of writing from thousands of other bloggers, and with each one I'm mining it for something to use in my practice or to write about. Ironically, it's one of the biggest changes in my process since I started blogging, this reading for ideas that I do. I never used to read to write. Now that's almost all I do. And the writing identifies and clarifies the learning. That's really what the good blogging is here, a learning log.

I do nod my head, often, when I read Will's blog. I'm really attracted to this idea of blogging as a space where I allow myself to be challenged. I read other's blogs, looking for ideas that might spark something. I take that spark, I go to my blog, and I see where it might take me. Might not take me far. Or it might take me farther than I imagined. But there's something really fun--joyful! even--about that process of generating new ideas. And putting them out there for a potential audience. And sometimes I get a response, and it makes me think even more.

So I'd like you to try it today. Take a chunk of text that you like from one of today's readings. Or, if you prefer, from something you've read in a blog in the past day or so. See where you go with it.

And don't forget to read and comment on each other's blog entries here and on the individual blogs.


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