It seems like as soon as you have a concept in your mind you start seeing it all around you. You paid a lot for that designer dress thinking it was so unique, but look around and you’ll see it everywhere. When money is at stake this phenomenon holds little charm, but when it is about self-improvement it is delightful.
A tweep (twitter friend for those not in the know) posted a link to Erica Johnson’s blogpost “Are You Well-Versed in Comment Etiquette?”
I enjoyed reading the article and would have posted a comment had I gotten there before the comments closed. Johnson clearly stated something I have been thinking about lately - feedback is about community building.
I started blogging out of curiosity about the technology, what it could do and how it could be used in education. Later as I started realizing how much I enjoy writing I read about online promotion. We have all heard about how building an online platform is essential for the writer/artist/librarian/educator/human being. We have all heard that the way to increase comments on your blog is to comment on the blogs of others.
Sure, it works. Commenting on blogs does get your name out there and people are more likely to comment. Seriously though, starting the feedback challenge for myself I was not thinking about attracting comments. (Not to say that I don’t care. They’ve been delightful, so keep them coming.) Honestly, I was thinking more about the opportunity for personal growth that comes through engagement.
In public education we expect this of our students. We don’t want them to just be passive receptacles of information. We want them to actually be able to apply what they have learned. We hear about engagement, the application to a product, synthesis. I say this every day. I work with colleagues to provide this to our students. It takes time and effort, but we know that this is valuable to our students.
Why would I not want that for myself?
So far my effort to engage more fully in the conversation have paid off. I find that I am making more connections between the information I am consuming and I find the conversations are more satisfying. I have always been the type of person would prefers intimate dinner parties with a few select friends with interesting stories to tell than cocktail parties where you meet many, but learn little. Giving increased feedback seems to lead me in that direction.