Where Are My Readers?

Earth from space, Apollo 17 mission. Copyright and Credit NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Scientific Visualization Studio. Source: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a002600/a002681/index.html

“Mr. C why am I writing when no one is reading? I’m writing posts and adding to my blog, but no one is commenting.”

This is common reaction when students and teachers start to blog. They do not feel their work is being read by others because no one is sharing comments on their posts. I can relate and felt the same way when I started to blog.

I did not give up because no one was commenting. Instead I took steps in promoting my blog to others. And no I did not just make my capture student audience comment more often (I wanted to connect my classroom to a more global audience and share all the great work my students had created).  I feel this is the first step in developing readership – know your purpose. I could have used my blog as a discussion platform for my students, but instead I was looking for a larger audience.  I wanted to share student work and collaborate with other students & educators.  Knowing why you want to blog is key in connecting with your target audience.

Once you know why you’re blogging and who you want to connect with—you can promote your blog to the appropriately.  For example my promotion included Twitter, Diigo, and Challenges, but with a focused approach.  With Twitter I did not just share with anyone.  I used it for educational purposes, and only followed educators.  I started small by following my boards tech consultant, @ITLynda.  I grew my Personal Learning Network out from there by following more teachers and consultants such as @suewaters, and @coolcatteacher.  With Diigo I joined a group called Diigo in Education.  This is a group that shares educational resources and websites.   Finally, I had the most success with blogging challenges, such as the Student Challenge and the Teacher Challenge.  It’s great to have people read your blog, but not just spammers or people leaving non focused comments, so REMEMBER to promote to your audience.

I feel this post is very important for students as they just want people to visit their blogs and leave comments, but they need to use the moderation tools available to make sure only positive connections and comments are shared.  So to all the new blogging students out there —-DO NOT JUST RANDOMLY PROMOTE YOUR BLOG—BE FOCUSED AND TAKE STEPS IN CONNECTING TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Two great starting points for promoting a student blog would be to participate with the Student Challenge,  and The Blogger’s Cafe.

A final thought to leave you with… just because someone isn’t commenting doesn’t mean they’re not reading.  Check the stats tools such as Clustermaps, or set up feedburner to track you visitors (Great set of instructions to set up feedburner by Sue Waters).   Using these tools I have identify that people are visiting my site and reading my work.  A thank-you to everyone who visits my site, because you’re motivating me to improve and share more regularly,

>>>and if you’re just starting out don’t be discouraged someone out there is reading your work!

18 thoughts on “Where Are My Readers?

  1. Mr Carson
    I found your post helpful, I have joined Diigo a few weeks back so I must check the education group you speak of. When I started up my class blog I found the best way of joining in with the global audience was the student challenge. I see the teacher challenge the same way, its a way to begin to build readership, plus learn new ideas and as you say, be challenged to increase skills and go beyond what you are already doing.
    Miss T

  2. Good suggestions to keep your blog going. I’ve joined Diigo in Education as well (: I can empathize with those who feel their blog is not getting the attention it deserves. I just started mine in August and I was questioning why I was posting when no one was commenting! But, they could definitely have been reading it. Thanks again!
    Theresa

  3. Pingback: Posts of the week – Visit these blogs – Week 4 | Teacher Challenge

  4. I agree that knowing your purpose and how your audience is important. Building a network with those who share your passion for teaching will definitely help to increase readership!

    Happy blogging!

    Kim

    Edquests

  5. Thanks for all your advice and encouragement in this post. It is essential to encourage beginner bloggers to continue. I also like the fact that you wrote about students as blogging gives them an authentic audience which is highly motivational.

  6. Your reminder of “focus” for all bloggers promoting their work is a good point.
    I’d also raise the question: why are you writing?
    Are you (not just you, but those students who ask the question) writing for recognition or are you writing for yourself? I am constantly wondering about this, as I want to imagine I am writing for myself, but I know that (with a public blog), that is not the case. I wrote for myself and for my readers.
    But, to be honest, mostly for myself.
    Then, if no one responds or the idea tanks, I am fine because what I have written has clearly filled a need for that day in me. I’m satisfied (mostly).
    This whole idea is something I need to keep reflecting on, though.
    Take care
    Kevin

  7. Thank you for the focus on audience and purpose–especially with students. I have spent a lot of time this year promoting my students’ blogs with parents and with staff at my school. It is starting to pay off as those people leave comments on my students’ posts. They get so excited when someone besides me leaves a comment. I definitely want to hook them up with the next student challenge to give them a broader audience as well.

  8. A good post on what’s important about blogging, the focus. Blogging is personal and sometimes lonely especially if no one let’s you know how they feel about what you decided to tell about yourself. This can be hard on students who need that recognition to stick to it.
    Thanks for sticking to it.
    JoAnn

  9. Thanks for an encouraging blog to us newbies. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting too. I have changed my opinion about commenting on posts since I did the teacher challenge. I never used to notice the comments section, but now I love to tell the writer that I had been there and I appreciate his/her words of wisdom. Thanks again for sharing helpful suggestions, as I am getting my students’ blogs ready for the student challenge coming up. Thanks again, Denise

    Here is a link to my teacher blog.
    Here is a link to our class blog’s main page.

  10. Hi Mr Carson,
    Thanks for participating in the Teacher’s Blogging Challenge and for commenting on my blog. You have identified an important issue with beginner bloggers – patience and persistence is important as well as maintaining the enthusiasm for writing, when you have only a small audience. I think it is good to stress to students that they may have readers who haven’t left a comment, so they still need to do their best work. Are your students writing for you, their parents and friends or peers around the globe? Keep up the great work!

  11. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Carson. I will be bookmarking the links you shared to help students get more into blogging. All of my students have blogs that we use as web portfolios, but I would like for us to do even more with it.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  12. Hi Mr Carson

    Thanks for a thoughtful and encouraging post. I’m hoping to begin blogging with a small group of students this year and you have given me some great ideas for talking about their reasons for blogging and the audience they are writing for in their blog (food for thought for me too!)

    Kim 🙂

  13. I use my students blogs as e-portfolios as well, but add the blogging component so they can take some ownership be proud to showcase their work. We’re still learning but I have been very impressed with how far they’ve come in such a short time. Happy Blogging.

  14. Dear Mr. Carson,
    Just found out you will be commenting on our blogs this March Student Challenge. We’re very excited to have you on board for reading and helping students grow in their abiliites to write and communicate. Plus we’ll be reading your blog from time to time and hopefully my kiddos will leave you comments….so here’s to growing and learning together. Thanks so much.

    Mrs. R

  15. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s encouraging and helpful for someone new to blogging. I’m looking forward to following your blog.

  16. Yes you may use it. It is available for re-use and if you hover over the image it gives the original source and gives copyright information.

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