Let me give you an example to start our conversation about experts (we will use this example again):
Let’s say a veteran teacher decided to write a blog post about using technology in the classroom. Let’s say this blog post was dated a year ago. You might do an Internet search about technology use and the classroom, click on the blog, and find this blog post very useful. By reading the blog, you have shared in this communication. Now, you could post a comment on this blog post, but the likelihood of the blogger responding to you about a post from a year ago is unlikely. Does that mean the information is not relevant? No. It’s just blogging is a very fast-paced place to be!
Now, I think this is a good place to pause and talk about how we define “expert.” Was this information based on research? Probably not. This information was probably just one veteran teacher’s opinion or tips for using technology in the classroom. Was this information useful? Yes. So just because this information was not posted by the traditional definition of “expert,” this information was still useful to you as a teacher in the classroom environment. Do you see how definitions in the blogging context need to be much wider?
Another example may also be helpful. I am constantly looking out for new recipes and tips for the kitchen. I subscribe to several food blogs that frequently post new recipes or ideas. These blogs are not written by chefs or even professional cooks (mostly). These are (mostly) written by people who are just passionate about food and cooking, like me (and yes, I also have a food blog). Do I think less of these ideas because they are not research based or produced by professional chefs? Certainly not! Many of them have stretched my abilities in the kitchen, and I am thankful for that!
One more example (and a shameless plug): my husband has been writing for a blog about wrestling for many years now (WARNING: this blog does contain strong language). He started out writing on his own blog, and has since worked his way up to write on a fairly prestigious wrestling blog. He has fans worldwide. He may now be considered an expert on the subject, but that title was self-made because of his own efforts through blogging.
There are such things as professional bloggers (people who get paid to produce this content). These bloggers are typically paid based on the revenue they generate from online ads, based on the number of “hits” their content gets. Would you consider these individuals more of an expert than a veteran teacher who shares her ideas on a personal blog?
How does our concept of “experts” affect our usage of blogs?
We should reconsider Tessa’s presentation on digital literacy. This will greatly help us in our search for “reputable” sources in the blogging community; this will be more useful to us, I think, than trying to define “expert.”
Everyone on the same page?