Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Well, I’ve more or less had the final blogs through from China and thought I’d just share my initial thoughts about how we’ve used this tool so far for this experience. We will be ongoing with the blog (hopefully) in the future but it’s been a real learning experience for all involved and I have no doubt we will be writing this up, at least briefly, to help inform our future practice.

My colleague, Maralyn, has written a thoughtful post here on our West Sussex Youth Exchange – China 2008 blog. I think that one of our key learnings for the future was to throughly investigate whether there are any potential blocks on the hosting site you use for the blog. However, in saying this I think that it has been useful having the blogs come through as emails as I have done a few limited edits. This has been important as we were publicising the blog to county council members etc. and needed to ensure that the material was appropriate. I think that it is important to think about what audience the blog is going out to and how this might be managed. This would be especially important in any form of Crisis Management as the immediacy of the blog and what may be being posted may not be ‘on message’. I had a few interesting internal debates about the integrity of editing the young people’s blogs however this was minimal and hopefully did not detract from the gist of what the young people were saying. There is a similar discussion to this here on Youth Work Online . Another time around I would discuss this more in advance with the group.

West Sussex Youth Exchange Group - China 2008

West Sussex Youth Exchange Group - China 2008

The next point is that blogging takes time!!! I think those that blog know this however I think that we do need to think about how we as youth workers build this into our programmes when using blogging as a reflective tool. I am looking forward to discussing this with the group and seeing whether there would have been any difference if there had been group blogs, or individuals having a day each to blog? I’m also interested in how the videoing turns out and how this balances with the blogs as they have been recording a lot of their thoughts on video too which for some might be an easier medium.

Well, these are just quick thoughts and I will no doubt be posting more. Thank you to those that have been following the China blog, the young people have enjoyed your comments and also been inspired by the number of views they’ve been getting. If you have any suggestions for the future or any other thoughts on the blog please do leave a comment below as we’d love to get any feedback.

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Comments on: "Initial Reflections on Blog by young people in China" (2)

  1. I think well done for giving it a go (to everyone) but also for reflecting on it too so that others can gain the benefit of your experiences.

    I first started a blog in 2005 for our first trip to Africa. Most of us set up accounts and added a ‘working this thing out’ type post but that was pretty much where it ended and after that I didn’t bother again until starting the Breakfast Society one which is much more personal to me.

    We knew internet access wasn’t likely for where we were going & so encouraged everyone to keep diaries which I would collate & update when we got back. I actually got just one! (which I did add to our old website and was quite popular) – but overall I took that as a failure – not just of blogging but also in trying to get the young people involved to share their experiences.

    In retrospect I think it was too early days to have attempted blogging in that context but also because group members ended up effectively writing personal diaries they understandably wanted to edit their entries before passing them on to me, and annoyingly ended up never actually doing so.

    If I was to do it again something I would give a go is getting young people to record their thoughts via dictation. There was a really good software package that I had that allowed you to dictate into an ipod and then have this transcribed into text. Unfortunately the company that made this has since changed hands and as yet they haven’t updated the transcribing aspect in the latest releases but I’m keeping an eye on it because I think although video (and audio) are brilliant, they’re also very difficult to scan through and edit for large quantities of footage. But getting young people to write down their thoughts is always going to be difficult.

    Of course unless that software does get developed again thats a useless idea :-/

    Hopefully though your efforts will inspire others & no doubt the blog will soon be bringing back fond memories for those involved.

  2. Thanks for this Mas, much appreciated. I hadn’t thought about audio and software to transcribe to text. This would have lots of advantages. In a previous existance I used dictaphones for young people to keep diaries on. The difficulty then was taking it off the dictaphones and putting it into a reading format. I guess we could still do some form of audio on the blog, mix and match formats. Thanks for commenting, it helps to get additional thoughts!

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