31 days – The challenge continues

The 31-days-to-a-better-blog challenge is carrying on at a high pace.

Today's challenge from ProBlogger Darren Rowse is all about advertising, and as this blog is about sharing rather than making money, that does give me a bit of time to catch up. However, the challenge has got more serious! Sue and Frances are offering chocolate to both the best improved blog over 31 days, and to the best comment posted by a reader of one of the blogs participating in the challenge.


I've joined the challenge, so that, dear reader, means that if you post a great, insightful and fantastic comment on this blog, I might just nominate you to be in the running to win… (Hmm, is this blog bribery?)

Sharing learning
I've been learning an awful lot over today from visiting many of the other bloggers taking part in the 31-day-challenge. There's an awful lot going on at the blogs of Alex MillerBrent MacKinnonCammy BeanChristine MartellFrances McLeanKate FoyKate QuinnLaura WhiteheadNancy RifferSmokeFree WisconsinSue Waters and The Indian Blogger

Hopefully you will already identify I'm picking up on lessons from Michele Martin about making use of visuals – and I'm going to try and explore some nifty visualisation tools later this week as well.

The tasks

Day 7: Plan your Next Week's Posting Schedule

As with many of the other bloggers taking part in the 31-day-challenge, I see blogging as driven by content, not content driven by blogging. However, I do often leave unfinished posts languishing for far too long in BlogDesk before they make it onto the site, usually aided by delayed train journeys that give me the time to get them sorted out.

Snippet from The Bamboo Project BlogOne I've been particularly struggling with is a 1/2 finished post on visualisations. Particularly on ways of taking RSS feeds and managing the information in more visual ways (perhaps in mind-mapped ways like the bubble-blog idea suggested by Micheles 'test-reader' on Day 2). So – I'm resolving now to take a good look at that again tomorrow and see if I can get it online.

I've also got some writings on Youth Development and the recent 10 Year Youth Strategy in the pipeline, so I'm targetting next week to get those out. Whether or not those posts really make it does, alas, depend on whether or not the train gets delayed when I head to visit my wife fascilitating at peace school later this week

Day 8: Comment on a blog you've never commented on before

The challenge has been great for encouraging me to be more willing to comment, so I've been dropping in input, questions and comments where I can across todays blog reading. Making the time to engage in conversations online does seem to move towards greater abundancy thinking and I'm really enjoying the opportunities it is presenting. I'm a little worried that my current level of participation is only enabled by the flexibility of the projects I'm working on at the moment… and that it will be trickier to keep engaged when work pressure bite.

That tells me though that I need to think about the value there is in engaging in online conversations across the blogosphere… and if there is real value there (as I'm feeling there most certainly is), I need to explore how I can restructure my work plans to make the most of it.

A question

This 31 day challenge is intensive. And the recent knowledge jam on collaborative technology I took part in was also an intensive 48 hour online interaction.

Thanks to: http://flickr.com/photos/titanium-white/I'm interested in whether the 31-day-challenge approach could be adopted for organisational learning and change programmes (I'm going to be supporting a number of organisations on learning journeys to engage with social media this autumn) – but I'm worried that this current challenge eats up too much time to fit easily into the work day of busy teams.

Is the intensity of the challenge a key to it working? Or could you turn the 31-day-challenge into a 3-month challenge and still have the same effect?

I get the feeling the intensity is an important part of this challenge working so well to bring people together – but I'd be really interested to hear what others think….

10 thoughts on “31 days – The challenge continues”

  1. Tim–I LOVE your idea of using the challenge format for organizational learning. I think that the intensity of doing a lot of work in a short period of time would really turbocharge learning and also be a great way to build teamwork. It would be a sort of online boot camp. The problem with this challenge is that we’re trying to do it in addition to our regular jobs. I think that if you were going to use it as a training, you’d need to provide people with at least some time to get these things done, just as you would give them release time to go to training. I think a lot would be lost by trying to spread it out–more likely that things would just die off.

    Great idea and one I’d love to explore further!

  2. Tim,
    I’d love to see it used for org learning also. Perhaps I can get a group of our ASTD chapter members to run a test project? We have a new Learning 2.0 special interest group forming, so you never know.

    Also really interested in the visual aspects, my company specializes in visual communication. Even so, I find myself not being anywhere near as good as I’d like about finding/creating the images for the blogs. Love to find ways to streamline the process. I find myself cutting the corners (and leaving off the images) due to time requirements.

  3. Hi Tim, thanks for dropping by my DARnet blog, I returned the visit through mybloglog.
    This 31 day challenge would be very tempting for me if I wasn’t already busy on another 30day challenge during August!
    I must say, it is going to be quite a challenge to improve “Tim’s Blog”, since you’re starting from a high level of design quality and functionality already. Any chance of sharing which plugins and mods you’ve applied to what I think I recognise as the glossy iTheme? I’m choosing that one for another blog.
    Best of luck with the challenge

  4. I agree with Michele that time at work for learning activities is critical. One caveat is that service oriented non-profits, IMO, have a hard time allocating time to non-service activities when they are on-site.

    Another important consideration is the age of the persons you are facilitating. (I’m well over forty.) For most persons who are over a certain age, use of technology does not come easily. I think 1-to-1 teaching would be much more effective. Or provide a group session and then be sure there is someone available to answer questions (how do I get to the second tabbed page? why does my bio show up twice on my about page? etc.) at a set time (when they are free to test their skills).

    Also, make sure there is practice between group sessions. Give simple exercises with choice of specifics that motivate your learners. I find that if I don’t use a tool often, I forget how.

    Further, an intensive session would be exhausting for me — headache, sore eyes, aching back and . . .

    Group sessions usually go at the pace of the slowest person. If you teach individually each person can ask questions about where they are stuck.

    If you have limited time to teach, maybe it would work to choose a few people who can learn quickly and have the ability to slow back down to teach others. How would you assess this? My first thought is ask the people who will be the students who would be the best teachers among their colleagues.

  5. Hey Andy
    You didn’t see the blog 9 days ago! It’s come a long way since then. I only wish I had grabbed a ‘before’ screenshot 😛
    It’s based on top of Drupal mainly using core modules, but with a few extras for spam catching (spam), tag clouds (tagadelic) and content listings (views / archive).
    It uses a modified version of the GlossyBlue theme – which I’m hoping to continue to evolve a little more over the coming weeks…
    Will try and write up a little more of how the blog is put together in a post later this month… but happy to answer any specific questions in comments / by e-mail 🙂

  6. Hi Tim
    It is good to have you on board for the chocolate challenge.
    I think the intensity definitely has something to do with why we are still all in it after a week. I don’t know how we will all be after three weeks. I think it is the community feeling and that we are all in this together and learning so much from the tasks and each other that also drives this. I also wish I had a screenshot of my blog before the challenge.
    Just hope I can keep up!

  7. Hiya Tim,

    Thanks for the help in sorting out the subscription to peoples blogs! Makes blog life so much easier!

    Hope you’re ok

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