Thursday, February 09, 2006

When the network disappoints

When I worked for the Australian Trade Office in Taiwan, part of my job was to communicate with journos. Journos aren't my favorite type of people to say the least, but expat journos seem to be the best of a bad lot. Dunno why really, perhaps its just that they have a more global perspective, and something in them that compelled them to leave home and explore.

Anyway, wondering off a bit there. This was back in 2001. Something I noticed back then was how hard it was to get the journo I was speaking to, to simply click a link. I might have had a scoop on offer, or just an interesting story to push, rarely did I have to do any spin thank goodness, no matter how easy I made it for them on the Internet, they never went there. I would type up a brief and to the point email, maybe attach a picture or two, then a link to the full info and resources. Never did they go there. It was just a click for gods sake! But if I sent them a copy of a newspaper article, or even if all I said was to check out page so and so of the day's paper, almost every time they'd get up, walk down to the corner shop, buy a copy of the paper I was referring to and read the article. How did I know, because they'd almost always get back to me with a comment! To my thinking at the time, this was a sure sign that the Internet was a failure.

But even today, with a significant increase in critical mass of Internet users, I still experience a similar frustration and disappointment from time to time. Quite a few times I have pushed what I considered to be my best work and contribution to the network, only to see it get missed altogether. And on the other hand, some of the most lame things I've written get picked up with excitement and my site counter goes through the roof!

Getting hard work missed in an online, and self managed network can be a real demotivator at times, which could become a big issue for many new teacher and student bloggers coming into our edublogging community these days. I dunno what to do about it, other than to advise people not to put all their online identity into one basket. Spread yourself out. Load your pictures and slide shows to Flickr and other picture sharing networks then link them into your blog, keep multiple blogs, use Frappr, join eGroups, what ever. Get your work seen by a wide and varied audience, because often the audience you intended to write for may miss or ignore your efforts, where as other groups may pick it up and offer the feedback you need for recognition and maybe some small reward. Motivation is a very important thing to look after in a learner, but something that is very easily neglected by an (at times) depersonalised, cross cultural network.

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