Saturday, April 12, 2008

Where do we go from here and where exactly is here?

A friend asked me the other day where I was going with my Blog. To tell the truth I don't really have a route mapped out of where I'd like to go or even where I'd like to end up. Since I have chosen Web 2.0 tools as a topic there really is no end in sight because the map changes every day. But of course to find your way on any map...

you first have to know where you are and YOU just happen to be on my BLOG. Now I know it looks like a website, it acts like a website and it even has an address like a website but it really is a BLOG (trust me on this one Ok it will all be clear in a moment). I could get into a long narrative about what a Blog is and what makes it different than a website but these guys do it so much better --

Blogs are one of those Web 2.0 tools that I alluded to in my previous post. Why, as parents, would we care about Blogs? In short, we can harness the power of Blogs to make our lives easier. Let me give you an example:

Mary brings home a class newsletter. You do actually manage to retrieve it from the jaws of the backpack monster (an amazing feat in and of itself) and it is full of great information, important dates, websites to visit, and a map pinpointing the location of the Holy Grail. On your way to the calendar to record this vital information (after all the Holy Grail would fetch a price that would make your retirement spectacular) the phone rings, the baby spills her milk, someone comes to the door, and in that moment of mass confusion this wonderful newsletter is inadvertantly sent to the recycle bin. Suddenly all your retirement dreams are lost, and even worse you send Mary to school in a hideous plaid turtleneck sweater for picture day (which she will later recount to her therapist as the beginning of her "self-esteem issues"). Is there nothing that can be done to avoid such tragic outcomes? Let's take a look at what would have happened if Mary's teacher maintained a Blog.(like this one)....

Sometime during the morning, day or night when you routinely sit down uninterupted to check your email (ok this is maybe a bit of a stretch but work with me) you check your teacher's classroom Blog. All the important announcements are there, complete with a calendar of events and a google map pinpointing the Holy Grail (and retirement dreams). The information is always there in the same place, 24 hours a day, impervious to coffee spills, misplacement, or children carting it away to use as finger paint paper.

Sounds like heaven right??? What's that?? You have four kids?? You don't want to surf to 4 Blogs every day on the off chance there may be an announcement to read?? This is where a Blog teamed up with an RSS feed really begins to show it's worth. What's and RSS feed??? Once again the people at common craft can tell you far better than I can....

So really what's not to like?? You get updates from your child's teacher about all manner of things delivered straight to your reader and if you ever need to check back on anything the information is always there on the classroom Blog coffee and fingerpaint free.

There are Blogs out there that cover just about any subject you could imagine so even if your child's class doesn't have a Blog I encourage you to search for one that matches your interests. Experiment, get a reader account, subscribe to a blog -- subscribe to my Blog -- after all now that you know where "here" is you might as well follow along to the next stop.

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