My blog has earned me an award. OK, I am not receiving an Order Of Australia medal, I’ve not been paid for my blogging, and a lot of thought and typing has earned me a mere 80 views by 40 people.
In order to be awarded a Toastmasters certificate (my sister compares Toastmasters awards to scouts’ firelighting badges, which makes me laugh), I had to write eight blog posts in one month.
I wrote one post and then had the “good luck” of being off work for a day with a bad back, so I smashed-out six posts and scheduled them to go live on Wednesday and Saturday evenings – the time of week people should be out partying, but are probably glued to social media to see if other people are out partying. I knew that would leave me with one post left to earn me my “badge”.
That next post has been rattling around my head for about a month. Does this mean Toastmasters will say “you took too long – no firelighting badge for you!”? Nah, as long as you keep learning, they are cool with that. After I post the blog entry you are reading now, I will need to give a presentation about it at a Toastmasters meeting for between five and seven minutes. I think this is what I will tell them (what do you think? Use the comments box below – seriously, I need a comment so I know my work has not been in vain):
Catchy blog title – Toastmasters’ online module on blogging had tips such as give your blog a great name, and include words which will match with Google searches. My blog was called Janeoxyz, with a tagline I created when I started blogging – “I did a blog” (I thought it funny at the time, as the word ‘blog’ wasn’t well-known, and I hoped people would think of someone doing a – doing a poo – I have grown up a lot since 2013).
For this project I changed my blog’s name. I asked myself Who am I? What do I do? What do I value? I am an independent, lifelong learner (following the Toastmasters program is one way I do this). I changed the blog’s name to The Independent Learner, and changed the tagline to “Wisdom for learners and educators – For lifelong learning, educators, adult learners, communicators, public speakers and all-round switched-on people”. Better, hey?
Catchy post title – I was tempted to name my posts something like “8 reasons why you should…”, “You’re doing it wrong” or “Ten things to make your love-life better” – something to draw people to my blog. I went for simplicity – my first posts were about my trip to TEDx, so I categorised the posts into The Innovators, The Scientists and Environmentalists and The Writers, Artists and Actors. I was kind of pleased that I had identified the three themes of TEDx, all by myself. My following post titles included Innovative Library and Effective Visual Design – things I know interest the people with whom I mix.
My last post was “I train, therefore I am” – a corruption of a well-known saying. Funny thing about that post – a colleague didn’t know I’d written it, emailed it to me and said something like “It’s good to see others have the same challenges as you”. I thought she was being obtuse, so next time I saw her I asked, and she said “was that YOU?” Yes, it’s good to learn what I am writing is a good reflection of me, so much so that people tell me I should be reading my own blog.
Content – I broke-up my text with pictures. I haven’t yet decided if I will add pictures to this post (I’m on my iPad, so everything takes longer, and I can’t wait to see this post published). I made sure the pictures had alternate text for accessibility. I used photos I took so copyright wasn’t a problem. I ended each post with a small taster of what the next post would contain.
Likes/comments/followers – I could count the number of likes and followers I gained on one hand. I’ve decided it doesn’t matter – blogging is reflective learning. I am growing by blogging. One thing I now do differently is give other people’s posts a Like or Comment – I am listening. I appreciate the effort you are putting in. If your post made me smile, frown or tell my friends, you won’t know unless I let you know.
Cross-post – when I make a blog post, I proclaim it on other platforms – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. I even set-up IFTTT (If This, Then That) so I don’t have to post on the other platforms – it’s automated. While setting-up that, I realised at work we can have an RSS feed or email which shows which training is on in the next two weeks. Result!
Future – Blogging is still in the top six social platforms in Australia. Is blogging for me? I think it is, but I don’t want to have to do two (or even one) post per week. I do know I won’t leave it twelve months between posts like last time. See you in August!
(signed) Janeoxyz, (my family call me Janeo, and XYZ seemed a good idea because everyone jockeys to get 1 after their username), so I want to do the opposite), soon to be Toastmasters Innovative Leader, Level 4 (of 5 levels).