Archives for the month of: June, 2012

This is in response to a survey by Alice Bell about education bloggers

Blog URL

I contribute to my team’s work blog and I have a personal blog, fragments of amber, where this post is published. Links to both are available on my flavors.me page http://flavors.me/amber_thomas.

What do you blog about?

Team Work Blog: I blog about my work: projects, events and areas of interest. That is things like digital learning materials, digital infrastructure, intellectual property, openness and some other topics.

Personal: I blog thoughts about work that are a bit more opinionated, and I blog about issues around technology that fall outside my role at work, some politics, and some more personal stuff.

Are you paid to blog?

I’m not paid to blog, but I see contributing to my team blog as part of my job.

What do you do professionally (other than blog)?

I’m a programme manager which means I design, commission, oversee and develop work that other people do! So my job is very networked. I see myself as a knowledge worker.

I often write for work but it’s things like reports, plans, evaluations: objectivity is really important. And sometimes for work I need to write for guidance purposes: clarity, advisory, aiming at certainty.

How long have you been blogging at this site?

I started a blog in January 2005 on my mum, Sue Thomas’s, suggestion. She actually gifted me a blog as she was already a keen blogger by then (she’s always ahead of me). But lack of focus and then two babies intervened, and I didn’t start in earnest until 2010 with a personal post about babies . I found a tone of voice that was personal, discursive and a bit humorous with that. My first important work blog post was “The O in OER”  (Dec 2010). I confess that I sought help on that post from an excellent blogger who knows about the area, Tony Hirst . I’ve had a lot of encouragement from colleagues too. I’ve found my voice and my pace now, I think.

I think my personal and work blogging are very connected, sometimes I’m not sure where to publish a post.

Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)

I sometimes contribute to papers, journal articles, newsletter pieces and webpages, depending on what i need to do at work.

Can you remember why you started blogging?

In earnest, 2010, to express myself, I think. To have a focus for articulating my thoughts and to find my own voice. I blogged about why I blog a while back and there are some interesting comments!

What keeps you blogging?

I’m continuing to think about it, and I have recently realised that permitted subjectivity is part of it. For work I have to aim at being objective, analytical and rational, and/or at being clear and directive. A blog post allows me to be more discursive, and a bit more opinionated. I want to back my opinions up, but I also want to have a voice. Both blogs are an expression of me, of me making sense of things and sharing that. Sensemaking needs to be subjective, I think. I thought about this in mapmakers and storytellers: how does someone communicate how the world looks to them? Those questions about subjectivity and sensemaking have stuck with me. I love it when people blog their uncertainties and questions. I also sometimes love a bit of rhetoric, a strong voice or story told with conviction though I don’t enjoy rhetoric that I don’t agree with: its only satisfying when it reinforces my own views. Choosing the right voice with which to capture the point I’m at in my own sensemaking is a key part of the process.

Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?

I am always interested in who retweets my posts (work and personal). I think my returning readership is probably quite small, but some work posts get reused as content elsewhere. I shared some numbers in why I blog .

What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?

I love comments. A couple of times I’ve felt I’m being wilfully misinterpreted and baited by people I know. Usually though, it’s hugely rewarding to get positive comments from people I don’t know. Often my commenters are other bloggers I know, and I’m already having a conversation with them on twitter or facebook. But basically I LOVE comments.

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)

Technology and education. More broadly I very much feel part of the public sector and like to read other public sector work blogs.

If so, what does that community give you?

The intersect between technology and education is very multidisciplinary, which suits me because I’m neither a techie or a teacher! People in this space talk about politics, economics, sociology, psychology, history… as a personal with a philosophy background it is a space I find dynamic and one that I feel I can have a voice in. For me, my blogging is very much connected to my tweeting. A blog post is a larger contribution to a social conversation, but I am usually responding to things bubbling around in my social/work network.

What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?

There have been times I’ve blogged for work instead of waiting for the standard communications processes to kick in. That messes up planning. But when i’ve written it I tend to want to post it straight away.

More examples of advantages on why I blog, for example:

“When I blogged an extract of a funding Call I’d released (Post: OER Rapid Innovation Extract) I unleashed the power of trackbacks. The director of a project in the US contacted me to correct an error. Not only did he see a reference to his project that would otherwise have been locked inside a PDF, but he was able to correct an error within an hours of the post going live. And now I follow him on twitter”

Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)

Most of my family are tweeters and bloggers! I sometimes link to my posts on facebook so they reach a nonwork audience that way. But some of my close friends have never seen any of my posts.

Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?

I’ve deliberately written this without reading anyone else’s responses. No doubt now I read them I’ll realise what else I should have said!

Amber

… in which our heroine travels up north with husband and two boys to escape the golden jubilee, but does not tweet during holiday as husband does not approve of tweeting during holidays. So these are my Tweets I Never Sent (but I composed in my head, ha! can’t stop me!) Hence the name tweetsINS. See also my previous tweetsins from Jersey.

Sunday

Lock door, check door, lock door, check door. And we’re off.

M6 is eternal

Penrith travelodge is “THE best hotel ever” announces elder son. This despite him having stayed in quite a lot of hotels. He is very excited about breakfast at little chef tomorrow morning.

Drive to keswick and end up eating Mexican. On a previous trip to penrith we were served tapas from a Lancashire woman in a flamenco dress. Is this typical?

Monday

I woke up very excited about breakfast at little chef.

The boys loved their porridge! And the coffee was good. #thankyouheston

M6

Loch Lomond boat trip: the middle islands were beautiful. Didn’t see any wallabees though.

view of loch lomond

Arrive at Culcreuch Castle in Fintry, drive up to our wooden lodge in the woods. Pretty #wow. Boys unimpressed. Clearly spoilt by the travelodge.

On a walk about, get into deep discussion with elder boy about whether animals can be naughty, or whether they are just being animals. Just animals, I think. He’s not convinced.

Once the boys are in bed I fall asleep on the sofa, looking out at the mountains listening to the deep silence outside. #bliss

Tuesday

Oversleep, panic panic, all dressed, march down to hotel for breakfast. Remember why I don’t eat kippers much. Dem bones dem bones.

Younger boy didn’t eat breakfast which always bodes badly. Oh oh.

Stirling castle, cool. Elder son asking many questions about goodies and baddies in wars. Gets a bit philosophical. Luckily distracted by a row over the map.

boys dressed liked kings

Stirling T3sco is, like, just the same, but they talk funny. Husband impressed by price of fuel.

Back at the lodge, hear about legionnaire’s disease breakout in Edinburgh. Having hyped Edinburgh to sons, now torn. Younger one wheezy as it is. Decide to avoid that city this holiday.

Another evening watching the mountains from the lodge. I could get used to this

mountain view from the lodge

Wednesday

Perth instead today. Nice wander around.

Find a half0rds for a patch for the windscreen, which had been hit by a tiny stone. Half0rds staff are crap. Didn’t even understand what we wanted.

Back via a whisky distillery right next to a WHOLE SHOP full of Baxters products. (?!?!)

Obviously, the evening is spent “tasting” our two new whiskies

Thursday

Thankfully not hungover

Fantastic drive through the mountains, due south from Fintry to Glasgow.

Glasgow science centre, riverside museum. Then kelvingrove museum, where sons ran riot with a friend’s daughter. Great day 🙂

Friday

Check out, then 40 minutes into the journey south, youngest son pukes spectacularly everywhere. Oh joy. Nice landlord takes pity ad opens up for us to use the bathroom 🙂

Explain situation to friend we’re on our way to. He is characteristically blase.

Across the A66 past appleby horse fair and a very large police presence. Develop conspiracy theories about the hills being full of nuclear bunkers.

Arrive at friends unbelievably posh manor house. Humbled.

7pm Youngest son pukes in friends dining room

Elder son has found new role model in friends son’s Lego skills. He gazes up adoringly.

Something called a gummy bears song, and a poo machine on “little big planet”, son is in nearly-5 heaven.

Saturday

Husband wakes up feeling sick. I eat a VERY nice cooked breakfast and get a tour of the grounds

I drive home with youngest and husband sick in the back, eldest and me sharing fruit pastels in the front.

The amazing thing when we get home, is that after months of it, our kitchen no longer smells of egg! #win

.. and that was our mini roadtrip: 80% castles 10% whisky 10% vomit. Classy 🙂