It could be argued that today’s American society is lacking in community compared to previous generations or other countries/cultures. Young couples commonly raise their families without the benefit or support of having family living in the same town. We don’t have barn raisings to help each other get started in life.
Blogging is an accessible tool that can connect people with common interests, goals and expertise. What a person does with that connection is up to the individual. People can choose to enhance the connection beyond the computer screen to include more personal, face to face time together.
Blogging is a way to share not only your experiences, thoughts and feelings but also your knowledge. We all have unique talents and skills that we can teach or share with others. It can be a format for mentoring others as well as learning from others. We are relational beings that thrive within a community. Social media allows us to have access to our community no matter where we are. It has certainly helped me this past year living in a new town at a new job to have a virtual community at my finger tips.
It was only at the urging of my friend Kate that I reluctantly started using Facebook and LinkedIn years ago. I guess my preconceived notions about these “tools of communication” were that it only serves for impersonal experiences. It’s kind of like the old “party line” on steroids. I have to remind myself that they are powerful tools that can lead to greater involvement with people from the past, present and future and that it is up to us where we go from there.
Privacy is an issue with on-line media. We have to consider that when we share personal information that a wide net is cast and not everyone seeing it is open-minded or seeing us with unconditional positive regard. The same consideration for self disclosure in the counseling setting should take place when we are blogging as professionals. That is a tough lesson to learn as part of maintaining rapport. An experienced successful therapist in Houston told me during a career search interview that “the first seven years of counseling are all about rapport.” At first I thought, that’s a long time to take to master a basic skill. I now understand better that rapport can be broken at any stage of the counseling relationship long after the initial rapport is established. Being comfortable in a certain role or relationship may lead us to share more than what is purposeful for the client or community.
Some basic tips to keep in mind while preparing a blog:
The title and first few lines of text have to clearly state the purpose of the blog and catch the reader’s attention.
The same aspects that apply visually in other modes of publishing apply in formatting a blog.
Create a visual map or outline of the content to make the content appear quick to review with use of formatting and headings.
Formatting includes use of space and short paragraphs that are visually appealing.
Present content in the form of lists that are numbered or bulleted verses written in essay format.
The ideal length of a blog is 250-300 words based on general opinion.