As a sportsman this is something that I heard all the time...especially as a young player. In the world of social media that claims seems as important (if not more so). In working in a world that measures innovation in weeks and months rather than years and decades, and where today's news is the packaging for tomorrow's fish and chips, then a comment on a social media site, you could argue, has little in the way of currency. But if you are judged on your last blog then one mistake could be costly in terms of your 'readership.' However, in order to be judged you need to make a contribution and a tweeter account that lies dormant or a blog page that is unused says more about the owner than one that harks on about stuff you don't believe in or, frankly, disagree with. So if a blogger is only as good as their last 'game' then it seems reasonable that the 'said' game should be in living memory. If it isn't then it seems almost the same as standing in the bar telling tall tales of the day you played against the best and almost beat them. That is not to say that some players don't have a lot of credit in the bank...but those are the greats and they are often afforded chances beyond their last 'good' game (just look at Michael Jordan, Ricky Ponting and Michael Schumacher as examples). Still, for the mere mortals among us, our last game is often a deal breaker.
As for me, well I broke down in my last rugby match, but I still have enough credit in the bank to survive as a rugby player (well in the bar at least) but my last blog? I quite liked it but the fact that I had to stop writing this blog to go and see when I wrote the last one [6th October 2012] shows that the blog would have exhausted even the good will of Dave viewers (for those who don't know this is a channel in the UK that plays nothing but comedy repeats). Had it been followed by another one in the intervening time then I think that it would have been strong enough to suffer another one soon after...but it didn't. This leaves me frustrated. I feel that this is a medium through which I want to communicate. I also feel that it is important - vital even - not to sit in an ivory tower and throw wisdom around and yet I have singularly failed and my last game wouldn't even buy me a run in the most minor of blogging leagues. So what to do...?
"A Case in Point"
When I started my Master's degree, Larry Locke, a highly regarded American professor has running a website he had created called "Unlocke research" in which he took the time to explore the research of the day and make it accessible to a wider audience. This really helped me as a young researcher and as a teacher but Larry was unable to sustained the site and after a year or so it closed, leaving a hole that has yet to be filled. I have been wondering for a while how this gap might be filled, whilst also seeking ways to expand my own reading and write a blog that I could be proud of. After much consideration I have come to the conclusion that blogging, reading and writing (high quality that is) do not (in my case at least) occur by chance. Good intentions are not enough. Like my reflections (which I make time for every day) my reading, blogging and writing need to be given opportunities to develop. I was reading only today in Pat Thompson's blog (Patter) how she has found reading the most difficult thing to do. Therefore, I have decided to do something about it.
In 2012, Routledge published a new series aimed at libraries. The "Major Themes in Education" series is (in the case of Physical Education) a four volume edition, spanning 1960 pages and costing in excess of £760. Such a book was conceptualised and marketed as a work that "is destined to be valued by specialists in physical education and scholars working in related areas—as well as by educational policy-makers and professionals—as a vital one-stop research tool." However, given the price tag I don't see how it can be more than a library reference book and yet it seems like the sort of thing that a) I should read and b) I should summaries for my own benefit. Yet in doing that, I also wondered if I a) will without making it part of my routine, and therefore b) should take the time to develop my blog and resurrect Larry's brainchild.
As you can guess that is exactly what I aim to do. The books, edited by my colleague David Kirk, contains a "collection of foundational and cutting-edge contributions that cover all of the major themes in physical education". 98 papers/chapters in all. Each of them had to be nominated by members of the academic community at the invitation of the editor. Therefore, the publisher's claim that this is "a vital one-stop research tool" is certainly defendable but when I fist saw the four-books I wasn't thinking that I must get the books but that they ran the risk of going unread. Yet, that is the opposite of what I am intending to do here. My aim is to read and write a blog summary of one paper/chapter a week; starting at 1 and reading through to 98. It is my hope that this will greatly enhance my knowledge, improve my work as an academic and open up this work to my peers. I would welcome your thoughts on this...but I have already started to read the first paper and hope to write blog one by the end of the week. In this way I hope that I can be judged as a blogger based on my weekly efforts not through the occasional flash in the pan.
Here's to a blogging 2013...a year like no other.