Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

What type of blog?

I’ve been thinking more about this blog and trying to work out what I should or should not include on it. It’s been interesting reading Tim’s Blog and his thoughts on his guiding principles and his reflections on developing his blog. It made me think what and why I was blogging….and when should I blog? I guess I thought that I would just write but now I’m wondering if I should become more focussed and target my posts on specific subjects. For those that have been blogging a while, is it a case of planning or developing principles or is it just having a go and refining it as you go along? I think Im concerned that if I make it too structured I might not write but if its too waffly then it might not be that interesting.  

Then there is the 7 reasons to blog and why aren’t statutory youth workers blogging. It’s an interesting debate. I think there are a number of potential reasons why it’s hard, or why they haven’t started yet. As a Senior Manager in the Statutory Sector I thought it worthwhile giving this a go after hearing from DK at Mediasnackers. However I frequently ask myself – what can I put in the public domain? How can I ensure that whilst I am as honest and truthful about my experiences I don’t post anything that will bring the authority into disrepute or reflect badly on either the organisation or colleagues? What should I blog about? How can I maximise the networking and sharing elements of this blog? And then the big question – when should I do this? Is it appropriate to use ‘work’ time to write? If not do I really want to use a lot of my own time to blog? I think that if I have all these questions and feel that I am in a position to resolve them then how difficult must it be for some of my colleagues? They already have limited time available and should they / can they spend time doing this as opposed to working with young people? Or should we build in reflective practice time and encourage more individuals to link and develop blogs to do this? 

And then there is the questions of IT skills, particularly in an authority that is only just getting off the ground with a website and where colleagues are gradually getting to grips with an online monitoring information system.   I like the Blogging for Youth Workers guide and think that this could be really useful for those who don’t know how.  I’m aiming to share this with others to get their thoughts re this. One of my future tasks is to put together a small working group to develop a Social Media Strategy. As this is still new to me any thoughts would be welcome, especially as there is so much appearing in the regular media at the moment. (Mostly negative!)

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Comments on: "What type of blog?" (5)

  1. Can I recommended The Secret Underground Guide to Social Media for Organisations by Colin McKay. I’ve read this a couple of times now and it’s packed with good advice about how to get social media use up and running in organisations that might initially be reluctant to enjoy the bracing possibility of reader feedback.

  2. Hiya – I think firstly you can’t go too wrong with positive and ‘happy’ stories/experiences – not many people will complain about that.

    The trouble is its often the other stuff that you want to get off your chest!

    Our blog is a mixture of updates from courses or showing films etc. and then ideas mostly related to stuff I’m working on. I think one of the main things is not to worry too much about what you think other people might want to read and definitely don’t worry about statistics and how many readers you apparently have – just keep on writing things that you like to write about for whatever reason and pretty soon you’ll find your much clearer about what your ‘focus’ is.

    Hopefully your efforts will inspire a few more and once theres a small youth work blogging community it will be much easier with people exchanging ideas etc. and I know theres some willingness to support this with people like Tim Davies & DK.

    My last tip is that you can always write drafts – you don’t have to publish what you write! And theres been more than one occasion where I’ve had to heavily edit something already published or even remove after a rare attack of my conscience!

    Brilliant to be leading by example though and there should definitely be some pressure put on training providers to equip new youth workers with social media skills – if not they’re not being prepared for the demands of the job in my opinion and I base this on that teachers do cover similar things in their training (and if anything the informal learning sector should be supporting it even more)

  3. I’d echo all Mike says above.

    I’m hoping to present a short session on blogging at the next meeting of the Regional Youth Work Units at The National Youth Agency – so hopefully we’ll be able to collectively encourage a growing community of youth work bloggers soon. I’ll definitely have a slide in the presentation for UKYouthBlog 🙂

    Would be great to hear your feedback on the blogging for youth workers resources – we’d love to work those up into more developed resources and tools – and I’m really keen to see Universities incorporating the reflective practice role of blogging in courses 🙂

    On the negative media coverage… I’ve spent the last few days burried in the Ofcom Report, Byron Review and recent papers from the Institute of Public Policy Research – whilst the headlines have been spun to highlight the worries – the reports have been overwhelmingly constructive and relatively balanced – and they carve out space for youth work to move into a distinctive role supporting young people to engage effectively with online social networking. Plus, our ongoing research into Youth Work and Social Networking is pretty unequivocal in finding youth workers see engaging with online social networks as a key priority for their work: http://blogs.nya.org.uk/ywsn/2008/03/headline-survey-results.html

  4. billybean said:

    Thank you all for these comments. I’ve not worked out how to respond individually however I am grateful for all your suggestions they have definately helped me to just keep going and also to see what else I can read and learn from – thanks again!

  5. […] 13, 2008 by billybean As I’ve detailed before I’m responsible for developing our Social Media strategy. To kick start this the social media […]

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