Around this time last year I wrote a post about (among other things) my resolutions and blogging goals for 2012. I was pleasantly surprised when a few people mentioned the acronym SMART was new to them. I find this acronym extremely helpful when planning and talking about teaching and development so I thought I would briefly revisit it in this post. It is the start of the year and many people are making or have made resolutions for the new year and I have a few blogging resolutions I’d like to share.
I greatly enjoyed my year of blogging! I got so much out of it and I am excited to keep things going and to do more (and do “better?”).
So, an initial thought for a resolution might be something like, “I want to be a better blogger” or, “I want to be the best blogger I can be.” From my view, these are not really helpful because we don’t really know what it means to be a “better blogger.” What does it entail? We also don’t know what aspects of bloggery I felt I was missing and why I might want to do something differently. If I adopted this as my resolution, I don’t think I would have a clear way of measuring my progress as the days and months zip along.
One aspect of blogging that I have been thinking about a lot lately is comments. I want to do a better job of responding to comments on my blog. At times I have felt frozen by my inability to respond in a timely fashion to comments on my blog and it just snowballs into a big freezing mess of procrastination and guilt. I don’t like this feeling and I will try to avoid it. I also greatly appreciate comments from others and I fear that my late speed in commenting might not read that way. I am hoping the new year will provide a fresh start on this.
I also want to do more commenting on other people’s blogs. There is so much interesting stuff out there and I think I learn a lot by engaging the writers in the comments. I also think that comments are a nice way to encourage people to write more and dig deeper, which benefits me the next time when they write again. A virtuous cycle of sorts. I want to get more involved in this. My plans, then, might be:
I want to comment on other blogs more.
I want to respond to comments on my blog more quickly.
I don’t think these plans are very SMART, though.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound
(note: there are other variations on the wording but I will stick with these cuz I like them and because they match the artwork below.)
In the, “I want to comment on other blogs more” plan we have no idea what “more” means. How much is “more?” We also don’t know when/how often I plan to do this. For me, the measurable aspect is especially important and helpful. I like to see whether I did the thing I said I was going to do or I didn’t. Yes or no. From there I can re-evaluate and check my progress.
If “I want to comment on other blogs more” is not very SMART how is this?
I will comment on at least one blog post every day.
I might be on the right track here but every day sounds a bit dramatic. I doubt that even Tyson or Brad do one comment per day. 360+ comments a year sounds a bit much even for superhumans like those guys. I think this fails in the achievable aspect.
After considering numerous plans of varying degrees of SMART, my commenting plan at the moment is:
In order to support others, continue creating community, and to exchange ideas I will comment on at least 3 (thought provoking) ELT blog posts a week.
(As you can see I have made changes to account for what types of blogs I will comment on as well).
I hope this is SMART enough and gives a clear enough model. I am pretty confident it is SMARTer than the original, “I want to comment on blogs more.” I also feel it will be much more helpful for me as a guidepost
My plan for comments on my own blog is, “In order to encourage more comments, promote my own development, and protect myself from guilty feelings I will respond to comments on my blog within 48 hours.” Wish me luck. Feel free to remind me of this!
Any comments, feedback, questions or different opinions are welcome.
Speaking of different opinions, here are some that I enjoyed and found very reasonable and worth reading.
This TED talk on the dangers of sharing goals is also interesting and related to this post.
(HT to Brad Serl aka @bradleyserl)