Yeah, but what do I write?

Image from FlickR Courtesy of thejbird

Image from FlickR Courtesy of thejbird

Well, that was a bit of a strange experience last week. I’ve written posts on this blog for over a year in calendar terms but maybe 6 months in real terms.  I made a concerted effort to post more earlier this year and the results are clear.  I’ve posted 4 times as often as I did previously and have 8 times as many views as a result. I think there may be a few reasons for this happening.

Firstly, it would appear an audience has found me; my most recent post has been the most read by a mile.  It was written after an informal meeting where someone had talked about a blended learning approach to a performance issue.  They called it blended learning, I heard a ‘classroom with a bit of elearning’ solution.  On my tube journey on the way home I threw a few hundred words together and then added to and edited it following a conversation on Twitter with Meg Bertapelle.  I liked it’s narrative and my voice within it.  I didn’t expect the numbers of views and retweets via Twitter though.

What made it read by so many people?  In it, I slated the industry (L&D) I’ve worked in for 20 years.  I held a mirror up to bad practice and it was recognised by many. People have commented within the article and added more that I hadn’t thought of, placing additional layers of irony.

Making my blog personal seems to have helped; I posted about being ill and it seemed to invigorate my readership.  I know it invigorated my writing. I’ve found it easier to add posts by concentrating less on creating a perfectly formed piece of work and spend more time thinking between posts now of what I could write. I’m also writing snappier posts – no more than 4-500 words. This means I now seem have a list of 2-3 posts in draft form all the time and, knowing the content is readily available, I feel the pressure is off to produce something amazing.

Mostly, I think that by telling stories the context helps.  And isn’t that the key?  Surely our role in L&D is about context now? I did a session this week looking at instructional design and some of the group found the idea of linking to existing content a challenge.  The desire to ‘own’ a new piece of learning when dozens of perfectly valid examples already exist seems a waste of time to me.

The next post up will be the ‘real’ story of my most recent post detailing how I’d like a learning event to be.

Comments, as always, very welcome.

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3 responses to “Yeah, but what do I write?

  1. With you on that one, Andrew. I sometimes bump into exercises I designed years ago when I am trying to tidy up my files, and I look at them and find myself saying ‘Crikey, did you really run that, that must have been challenging/weird/amazing/scary”. Why try and come up with genius new ideas when there is plenty of material that we have simply forgotten?

    Part of the problem is that we trainers, often being ENFP’s, are so quickly bored. Doing something new, even if what we are currently doing works, is fun and stimulating, so let’s change it!

  2. Thanks Michael, interesting comments.

    I don’t think it’s about content; it’s about context. The well read post was context driven and a story that people can relate to. Do we create enough context in L&D? Do we shoe horn context in to justify ROI?

    I’m not keen on labels…ENFP? Is that a record of your traits, an aspiration of your traits, or a horoscope?

  3. Pingback: Cultivate your audience « Reflections of an OD Team·

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