on blogging like gloria swanson …

'Gloria Swanson/Norma Desmond ready for her close up at Madame Tussauds Hollywood' photo (c) 2011, Loren Javier - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Say it like Gloria Swanson, “I want to be alone …”

I don’t REALLY want to be alone, but sometimes it feels that way. How private do I need to be with my professional blog?

I had an interesting exchange with another school librarian blogger, Elisabeth Abarbanel who blogs over at Archipelago. I always find Elisabeth’s posts to be thought provoking and informative.  I’ve learned a ton from her over the past few years.  The thing is that she actually linked to one of my posts the other day … Yes, I know … Unbelievable, right? … Anyway, she explained that she was discrete about my personal information.  This got me thinking, though, do I REALLY have to be as private as I’m being right now?

Even though I don’t post my name, the name of my school, or any other identifying information on this blog, the reality of Web 2.0 platforms in today’s world means that it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to be able to figure out who I am or where I work.  Let’s face it, in our wired world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep personal and professional identities completely walled off and stovepiped from each other.  The thing is, I WANT librarians, and teachers, and technologist, and other people interested in what I’m interested in, to find me.  Find me, read me, and post comments, please! It’s just that sometimes it is hard to build a community or join a community when you feel that you have to be so private that you can’t let people know who you are and where you work.

On a related note, I teach a research and technology class for seventh graders.  One of the things we’re charged with is guiding them into good digital citizenship. With this in mind, I want to have them start blogging.  We’ve done “online journals” which are blog entries, basically, on our Moodle site, but I want to migrate them over to a real blog.  Because of school policy and privacy  concerns, however, I have to find an educational blogging platform that will let me moderate, monitor, and address the privacy issues.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the reasoning behind our school policies, but it can still feel frustrating sometimes.  If I’m a kid blogger and nobody can read my stuff … What’s the point, right?!?!?!?

In the end, classmates will be reading and commenting on each others’ posts, but sometimes I read my kids’ stuff and think, “Geez, they have such great stuff to say! Too bad they have to be alone in this walled garden, blogging like Gloria Swanson …”

So … How do you balance your public and private selves and/or what blogging platforms have you used with students?  Ideas?

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