Did you buy your domain name this year? Did you purchase YourName[dot]com? Did you start a new blog?
I have observed a massive upswing in both new web domains and blogs amongst the student affairs professionals that I follow on Twitter. It would seem that buying your name as your web address and starting a blog on said URL is the "in" thing to do in 2011. While a lot of people have been blogging for several years and/or already have a registered domain name, it would seem that a large swath of professionals have recently begun to dip their toes in the student affairs techie pool.
Now, whether or not the blogs that are being created have to do with student affairs related topics is irrelevant to me. The simple fact is that more and more student affairs practitioners are learning about web domains, hosting, and blogging platforms than ever before. The knowledge and skills that are being learned are incredibly valuable. Technology expertise for student affairs practitioners, as either a "thread" or a "competency," is generally not a major part of our professional development opportunities. Learning all of the steps that go into acquiring a web domain as well as selecting a host for your site, engages practitioners in a process of technology learning. Installing, customizing, and writing content for a blog is an amazing way to enhance one's technology knowledge and skills.
I've been blogging at my personal site for more than 6 years. Throughout my experience, I have moved to a new host, upgraded several iterations of WordPress, incorporated custom theme modifications / plugins, and increased my working knowledge of HTML and CSS. The skills and knowledge that I have gained have given me tools that enhanced my professional practice. Student Affairs practitioners that blog at theirname[dot]com are simultaneously engaging and learning.
Don't worry if your blog is not related to your professional work. I guarantee that you will learn things that will be invaluable to your professional competencies. Write about subjects that you are passionate about. Learn about RSS, email subscription options (e.g. Feedburner.com), custom themes/plugins, embeddable multimedia, comment moderation / interaction, etc. You will benefit and your students, staff, colleagues, and campus will benefit from your newly learned skills. Blog on.
Do you tweet? Let's connect. Follow me on Twitter.
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