On this day 10 years ago, I pressed the “Publish” button on my first ever blog post.
It was a welcome message pitching my corner of the World Wide Web as “a forum to share my thoughts and ideas about everything e‑learning, to explore new tools and technologies, and to highlight trends and changing behaviours in the online world.”
I initially titled my blog Ryan 2.0 – hence the URL – because “on a personal level, it represents my next big step in our evolving participatory culture. Just as the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 represents a change from one-way transmission to two-way participation on the Internet, the shift from Ryan 1.0 to Ryan 2.0 represents a similar change in myself.”
Early posts such as Text ain’t half bad and Don’t convert… transform! were about getting ideas off my chest and seeing how they fared among my peers. Later posts such as Collateral damage and The 70:20:10 lens have been more about reflection and sense making, accompanied by the joining of dots to generate fresh insights.
I soon re-titled my blog E-Learning Provocateur, not only for unique branding, but also to better convey my intent to provoke deeper thinking in the digital learning space and across L&D more broadly.
Some of my posts have been contrarian, others counter-contrarian. Some such as Taxonomy of Learning Theories and Online courses must die! have proved surprisingly popular, while my annual list of E-Learning conferences in Australia has become somewhat of a tradition.
But it hasn’t all been beer and skittles. As a result of my blogging, I’ve been insulted, trolled, condescended to, and talked at. On the flip side, however, I’ve also been validated, supported, engaged with, and commended. I’m pleased to report the latter interactions have far exceeded the former. By a country mile.
Over the years I’ve encountered peers with a growth mindset, and peers with a fixed mindset. Some of their comments have been constructive, others less so. I’ve agreed with many, disagreed with many others. Plenty of folks have convinced me to change my mind, or at least tweak my original thought. And so I’ve grown intellectually.
Through my various interactions I’ve acquired an allergy to absolutism. I now have the wisdom to recognise declarations such as “X is dead” or “Y doesn’t work” to be nonsensical. What is “right” for you may not be right for me, and vice versa. It’s all circumstantial.
I’ve also significantly raised my profile – both locally & internationally. When a stranger approaches me at a conference to praise my blog, it still blows. my. mind.
Yet at the end of the day, I don’t think I’m that clever. I just strive to be open and honest, sharing my ideas and experiences while respecting those of others.
I also like to think I add a dose of courage. Otherwise I never would have pressed that “Publish” button in the first place.