Skip to main content

Comments are the Marshmallows

Did you know General Mills, as part of a contest, is giving away 10,000 boxes of Lucky Charms? Marshmallows only! My middle-aged common sense says I need to resist this temptation, but a little space deep in my reptilian brain is screaming, "Gotta have it!"



Some of you may have noticed my posts have become a bit infrequent. Where are my words going? Where am I sharing perspective? Where am I asking profound questions? 

I have been spending more time in the comments section of your blogs. You may be asking, "what's Schuetz's angle here?"

If you believe in the theory and math behind Reed's Law, ( 2N − N − 1 ) then you know that the potential utility of social networks depends on all members contributing to the network. As Dean Shareski says, "It's about the sharing." Those who have mapped their web usage, inspired by David White, know resident behavior in digital places is based on interaction and deeper levels of engagement. Engaging in a conversation with others on Pinterest about gardening techniques is more interactive than copying boards to our walls. Interaction is the ninety-three octane fueling our online communities.

Several years ago, when my body allowed me to practice martial arts, I learned that I was more efficient with counters. Often, I would bait my sparring partner into making a move so I could take advantage of the opening created by their attack. Blog comments, of course, shouldn't be considered pugilistic. Interestingly, I learned I get greater satisfaction from commenting on something someone else has posted. My comments typically focus on three areas; appreciation for the post and how it impacted me, asking questions about the topic to attain clarity or to add my perspective to the piece. Interaction is the key for me.

I moderate the comments on my blog because there seems to be a lot of people out there selling stuff. I completely support free enterprise, just not on my blog. Some bloggers, like Audrey Watters, don't allow comments. Hack Education is as thought-provoking as it is opinionated, but I always come away thinking about something I haven't thought about before. Watters, like some other bloggers, primarily women, have disabled comments as a result of being on the receiving end of degrading, sexist, and threatening remarks. It's a shame because her posts invite reaction and commentary. Deeper insight, Watters, by not enabling comments, is encouraging us to create and cultivate proprietary web spaces, places for our thoughts and stories, a domain of one's own.

Some bloggers who allow comments, don't respond to them. I suppose there are reasons, but I don't really understand putting out the invitation to engage and then ignoring the respondents. Bill Ferriter is one of my favorite teaching and blogging dudes (respectfully). He not only acknowledges and responds to comments, but he also turns key ideas into graphics and follow-up posts. If you are not reading the Tempered Radical, you're missing out. His honesty, transparency, and commitment to learning are qualities I admire. He took my comment about 1:1 devices and turned it into this post about the challenges of classroom innovation. Thus, generating more comments, the conversation extended to Twitter. This was Reed's Law personified, and for me, it was pretty darn cool!

Comments are like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms, the sugary goodness that adds flavor to our day. Comments turn posts into conversations. Sometimes, these conversations turn into friendships, and sometimes these friendships span the globe. I've never met Aaron Davis in person. Criminy, he's a half a world away! But it feels as if he lives right next door. We regularly comment on each other's posts. We have shared interests, we see the value in engaging with other learners, are we in a committed blogging relationship? I'm not sure what to call it, but the crunchy goodness of ReadWriteRespond is part of my nutritious meal each morning. Is there is a collaborative project in our future, who knows?

If you are still on the fence about blogging, maybe you could make a month-long commitment to posting at least one comment each day. Sharing your voice, adding power to your network, inviting interaction, and building relationships are all right there for you. Just remember to play nice and eat a good breakfast.

Photo Credit: By Sarah Mahala Photography & Makeup Artistry from Oshkosh, WI, United States (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Comments

Unknown said…
Thank you for your insight. I had never thought about responses being part of the blogging experience. I took the pieces of inspiration and left. I accept your challenge to comment every day for a month. This will be interesting. I wonder who will learn more, the bloggers or me.

Popular posts from this blog

"Five Reasons Why Schoology Rocks!"

Networking at IETC last week provided me validation in my choice for best learning management system, Schoology. Having used Moodle, Edmodo, Canvas, and Blackboard, I can tell you that these are all terrific products for digital instruction. However, for the past several months, I felt that Schoology was a better choice than these previously mentioned products. Many times, asking the right questions is a precursor to making sound decisions. Here's an article that serves as a guide to asking the right questions when choosing a learning management system:


10 Questions Everyone Should Ask When Choosing an LMS
Here are five reasons why Schoology remains my #1 choice for a classroom LMS: Full-featured classroom organization tools, a collaborative learning place for teachers and students, device-independent applications, Schoology API allows the program to play nicely with others, and the basic level instructional components are, and will always be, FREE.

1.  Schoology's classroom mana…

Good People; The Product of Good Schools

The nightly business reports frequently mention inputs and outputs. Gross National Product (GNP) is a widely recognized leading economic indicator. Widgets aside, what is the product of schools? Some of you want to jump on a table and scream, "children are not products!" Let this breathe a bit as you trudge forward.



In his recent post, Mark Heintz eloquently shares his ruminations to a question being kicked around in our Modern Learners community, "What do we want our children to be?" Credit Pam Moran, Ira Socol, and Chad Ratliff, co-authors of "Timeless Learning; How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-based Thinking Change Schools," for sparking this conversation theme. Timeless Learning provides interesting provocations, inspiring experiences, and compelling rationale for school change.

Like others, my school's leadership team is engaging in discussions about reimagining school to meet the needs of our modern learners. These conversations are seldom e…

My One Word for 2018 is Wisdom

Wisdom, according to Dictionary.com, is "the quality or state of being wise;
knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action;
sagacity, discernment, or insight."


"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."
This quote, often incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein, provides an illustration of the value of understanding over knowledge. A simple search reveals this quote can be linked to the writing of mathematician, George Finlay Simmons


Narrowing my thinking to one word is an interesting challenge. I have gained a greater appreciation for words and how the combination of words can convey meaning beyond definitions, beyond knowledge.

Where are the resources for knowledge in a modern world? We purchased an Amazon Echo as a gift for my parents. "It's such a smart and funny device," says my mom. Alexa has a seemingly unlimited access to information, music, and jokes, but does she understand? Can robots and computers obtain wis…