I'm Two

No, this post isn't a reference to my schizophrenic tweeting as kalinagoenglish and BloggerELT.  ;-)

Day 319: Don't Push My Button(s)

Although everyone who should know this, knows that it is social meDIA not social MEdia, bloggers often get a slapped (especially from real writers) for openly sharing their thoughts, opinions, experiences, impressions, annoyances, knowledge etc on the page... and are often critiqued for being the inner-most-seekers of ze eternal belly-button...

When I first came on board there were really actually only a handful of real ELT-bloggers out there in the 'sphere - excellent bloggers like Nik, Alex, Seth, Graham, Elena, Susana, Carla, David, Ronaldo to name a small few but there were a many, many more of the "do-visit-my-blog-so-you-can-envy/laugh/get-angry-at-me-bloggers" - which wasn't doing the sphere any favours and many of these have died off now. 

Pretty much, right from the get go, I knew that I very much wanted to do something different to the prolific navel-grazing going on: I wanted to create and participate in a global, educational, community of practice.

Still, as much as I've tried in the last two years to keep my writing aimed at you, you, you... at what you're interested in reading and learning more about sometimes I too, especially when I witter on about social media, can be a wee bit "me, me, me" and... well, get ready folks, because this post in particular is going to be just that...

because as of 2 days ago,

Kalinago English is celebrating her second birthday (all be it that celebrations are actually taking place with a box of tissue paper parked by the bed: worst head cold in years has gotten me in its deep grips)... but nonetheless, I am  super happy to be part of  the wonderfully, engaging, dynamic world I write in and want to celebrate that - this place where we hold a conversation between peers: in the democratization and exploration of our knowledge and educational experiences.

From my first hesitant post

What a crazy bunch of months these have been. Teaching, teacher training, meetings, writing, website developing, foruming, blah! But all that's just an excuse, and a way of avoiding this task in front of me BUT what's the point of starting a blog if I am not actually going to write in it, eh?
I reckon the problem is one of focus or purpose: I mean what should I actually write about? Ha, isn't that a funny quandary for a writer.   Developing a website by myself - learning all the tips and tricks, nah. Boring, done.
Teaching with technology,hmm...interesting, teaching speaking skills, teaching in general, writing materials... Hmmm. Yes, I just answered my own question.
That's what a blog's for after all, the on-line diary experience, to answer one's own musings so I will write about all the above and, as time whittles on, probably more.
How about I start off with a chat on using video in the classroom? That's a question I get asked loads in my workshops. AND it's MUCH, much, much easier that you think.
Yah. That'll be my next post. Tomorrow.

I then went on to publish 234 articles - ranging in topics from teaching with technology, to teaching English, to teaching Dogme-style, to talking about issues in our field, to musings and rants about social media.

And somehow from the first six months of only family and friends visiting to amassing a global audience who've now, collectively read over a 104,000 pages, it has really been you who has kept me working - pretty much because you've kept coming 'round to visit me, saying hey and letting me know what you thought of my words/links/tips and when I got nominated for awards, you voted for me.

Thank you so much - you have really kept me busy!

Alex Case has been whittering on about whether or not the ELT blogosphere is dying out... and I'll say nope, not at all.   I think, to be honest, yes twitter and facebook have become incredibly distracting and addictive places to hang out but in many respects the ones who were blogging about themselves are now tweeting their updates instead... so it doesn't so much matter that they've gone.

In other cases some of the greats in our 'sphere got bogged down with real life and career commitments but I expect (hope) we'll see them launching back with a vengeance over the next few months.

From observation, though, Alex is right, we aren't commenting, visiting or linking back as much as we used to - I'm not sure if it was due to OneStopEnglish's stock-market that somehow, may have, unintentionally, forced us to look inwards, to stop from paying attention to each other and working on our community...

or if it was just perhaps that we all felt a bit overwhelmed by late 2009 when so many newbies came on board (ten on top of the other, all demanding special attention and back-links to blogrolls before proving their mettle (and dropping out after the first three posts),  making many a social-faux pas with  "visit my blog please" "do an interview with me please*"  requests by the dozen...:)  yet really, aside from those, some outstanding newbies have come along to teach us fantastic new things - way too numerous to count or list them but in particular Eva, Ozge, Darren, Marisa, Shelly, Jason, Mike, Nick...

so, perhaps it wasn't that but instead when the edu-VIPs came on the scene and showed us the what-for on the comment front (not great for the ego when you watch someone get 100 comments in a day (who knew there were that many people who had something to say!) while you're averaging 1- 5) lol, still some of these giants have in fact helped us to become sharper thinkers, to hone our posts with care, to cross the t's and dot the i's.

All in all though I think the die-hards amongst us have indeed muddled on through, those of us who're serious about our genre, about sharing our knowledge with our friends and peers and I reckon in the end, that's all that really counts.

Anyway, back to my own lovely jewel-encrusted belly-button... as we speak I've got another 46 articles lying around in draft and I've also sketched out numerous guest-posts to hit the 'sphere with soon, so

I'll see you for my third...

"do an interview with me please*" - why this is a serious no-no when you enter the 'sphere, as it seems not to be obvious for many newbies:  You write 6 lines of text and then ask someone else to write a reply for who knows, 6 hours, actually answering questions they've answered thousands of times before.  You think you have struck gold and found the easy-way-to-blog... but in fact, you look like a lazy chump :-)  Sorry, them's the facts. Don't do this.

23 Responses to “I'm Two”

  • Marisa Constantinides says:
    September 19, 2010

    Happy second birthday dear Kalinago English and congratulations to you and your creator, my new-old friend, Karenne Sylvester.

    I recently celebrated my first birthday and it was all because of you I got involved in this wonderful adventure!

    I still aspire to your high productivity, your tireless blogging; even when your head cold has done its best to befuddle the old brain, you still churn out brilliant post which keep me motivated and I want to thank you for that!

    I wish you loads of more brilliant ideas and posts coming out of your fingers in the apparent effortless way in which you would have us believe you produce them - a sure sign of a highly skilled performer!

    With much love


  • Alex Case says:
    September 19, 2010

    What better time than a birthday for some navel gazine! Personally, it wasn't so much the number of comments on Scott's and Jeremy's posts that came as a bit of a shock, it was the quality of the posts. Being completely incapable of competing with that, been trying to stick to things they don't do, which of course includes navel gazing but really really should be (I keep telling myself) getting more worksheets up

    100,000 hits is amazing for a blog, and you can at least multiply that by ten for the blog posts that never would have got written or visited elsewhere without your help and inspiration.

  • Alex Case says:
    September 19, 2010

    PS, talking of Onestopblogs, came here via there and noticed that I am above you in the top ten for the first time in most of those two years! I'd never noticed the effect before, but I think you are right that I got there by blogging about blogging, which is possibly not such a good thing

  • Anonymous says:
    September 19, 2010


    Your posts have "presence" and radiate a sense that you put thought and emotion into what you share. That is what makes them so "valuable". Numbers are great but quality even more so.... what those of old called, "grace".

    I'm not a big one for navel gazing or what Alex refers to as "blogging about blogging". I like meat and potatoes. But this post is definitely an exception. Enjoyed it and all the valid points/thoughts.

    I'm with you - there is no dearth of blogging on the horizon. Just change, there will always be a need for the voice of the people / teachers. That's what it is about for me - widening the speech pool.

    Again, great start to the 3rd year.


    September 19, 2010

    Alex, sweetie.. you know it's not hits! Hits are for chumps - given the number of images I have on my pages...

    :-) Thanks so much for popping by with your congrats, I always credit you for getting me started!

    Know what you mean about not competing - such shock that these great writers would turn into great bloggers too - eh!

    Congrats, everyone is beating me at OneStopEnglish these days - boohoo boohoo :)))

    September 19, 2010

    Thanks so much Marisa - and congratulations for your first birthday and am looking forward to your second!

    You're right, it is an act: the effortless part... it's always been work, but work am glad to do!


    September 19, 2010

    Hey David,

    Thanks so much for dropping by and saying hey! I love it when visitors add to the conversation (always much nicer than the fleeting tweets that flitter by) especially, because I feel that the value you mentioned often exists in the value added by readers.

    I'll try to stick to the meat and potatoes this year!


  • Nik Peachey says:
    September 19, 2010

    Hi Karenne

    Happy second birthday and well done for getting this post out despite the cold. I was looking over some random files scattered about my desktop yesterday and found the beginnings of an article entitled "what I've learned from my first year of blogging". I started it more than two years ago and after 3.5 years of blogging I still haven't finished it.

    I'm not really sure what that proves but, despite the summer from Hell, I'm still starting more articles, posts and books and from time to time even finish and post a few and despite the fact that increasingly they are going to other sites, due to economic circumstances, the thing that I still love best about what I do is clicking that 'publish' button on my blog. I'm not sure why. Whether it's because I'm sticking my head above the ramparts and saying what I think or feel is important, or whether it's because I've built another step onto my personal publishing empire, or whether it's some kind of ego trip and believing I've done my bit to push education and thus humanity another step further in what I believe is the right direction, I don't know.

    I have to say though, as far as the comments go, to be honest I don't much give a sh_t.

    I think that's my short answer to what I've learned from 3+ years of blogging. I've had some really nice comments over the years, and that's great and I've had masses of spam and people trying to sell or promote themselves and that wasn't so great, but I have to say that if I never got another comment again, I wouldn't be too bothered and I'd still be out their publishing my stuff whenever I could. I guess at heart I'm just a blogger and that's what bloggers do.

    Happy blogging.

    Nik Peachey

  • Marisa says:
    September 19, 2010

    Happy anniversary to you, Kalinago English, and to your creator, Karenne! Thanks for your spontanous, conversational style and for your tutoring posts, which teach us all a lot!
    Marisa (@Mtranslator)

    September 19, 2010



    .... pause... uuummm... dunno, I'm fond of the comments I gotta admit, I remember when Jason turned his off and I was in a kind of shock -I mean, I thought, it doesn't matter if it's one or two people or a handful or a crowd, but by golly, it does matter to know, as a blogger, that you're having a conversation with your peers not just "broadcasting" to the wide-open space - I guess that'll be the difference between us (and there will be many who are like you and many like me and many somewhere in between) but na ja, that's the sphere and you still churn out the good stuff... though nowadays for the big dudes in publishing :-) (enjoyed your Guardian article though heartily disagree and from my perspective, down on the ground surrounded by teachers who don't know their PowerPoint from their Excel that those mobile learning stats are a wee wee group and therefore fixed - but that's another convo' (for IATEFL perhaps) :-)))...

    September 19, 2010

    xxx :) thanks so much Marisa!

  • Unknown says:
    September 19, 2010

    Hi there and happy birthday! Two years... gosh I thought you had been blogging much longer than that but then again I have referred to Alex Case as the granddaddy of blogs and he kindly corrected me on that...
    Anyway, happy birthday again and congratulations on all the work and being so tireless.

    What IS that btw about you not being numero uno on Onestopblogs any more? I kind of thought you owned that spot! :-)

    September 19, 2010

    Hey ya, Lindsay... well, technically I suppose I started blogging in 2007 but um 1) it was not an EFL blog and only my creative stuff and is now private... and um 2) the first EFL blog was in 2007 but it was crap and I abandoned it and um, 3) it wasn't until the Dude gave a presentation at ELTAF in 2008 and I blogged about it that I actually thought I might be able to do something with this one - he kicked me in the pants so to speak on what a great marketing tool it could be... then I bought all kinds of books on blogging and got stuck in and then realized the beauty of blogging is in the community... ya live, ya learn.

    And... yes, after a year sitting pretty on no.1 it is nice to have some serious competition and that Jason Renshaw sure is giving me a run for my fingers - he's churning a quantity of quality postings, I can hardly keep up!

    But seriously as I've told a number of bloggers the secret to OneStopBlogs is on their site (plus I asked them at IATEFL)... the sauce (without the secret ingredient) is in the blogs which link back to the blog in question. So the idea, basically, is really quite beautiful and non-commerically-publishery at all - it's designed to stimulate community and conversation (I was being ironic above) - if you churn out quslity posts that spark interest then other bloggers link that work and when they do your ratings rise.

    Gotta love Macmillan for knowing more about the 'sphere than most bloggers do :)

    Love lots, back to bed, methinks. cough...cough, sniffle, achoooo


  • Janet Bianchini says:
    September 19, 2010

    Hi karenne

    Happy 2nd birthday and many congratulations on your amazing blogging journey.

    Here's hoping you carry on writing in the same honest and thought-provoking style for many more years to come.

    Best wishes


  • Alex Case says:
    September 20, 2010

    I did read that guest post of your somewhere where you explained the difference between hits and pageviews, but like all techical stuff then instantly forgot it.

    Again, I'm not sure bloggers being interested in a post is a particularly good test of anything. Not only do I get a lot more hits when something of mine is mentioned on a forum or email newsletter, as those are people who don't usually read blogs they are exactly the people we should be reaching out to.

    Kind of connected to this:


  • Cecilia says:
    September 20, 2010

    Hi Karenne!

    Happy 2nd blog anniversary!!! I hope to see the 3rd, 4th...

    I am speaking as a VERY late bloomer in the whole web 2.0/blogs/twitter/using technology for professional development - because that's what I am. Educators like you are a true inspiration, and I can only thank you (and all the ones you've mentioned in your post, most of whom I regularly read as well) for taking time to write on this blog and share your practice, your knowledge, make us stop and reflect. So, thank you :-)

    September 20, 2010

    Hey ya Cecilia - thank you - it's a crazy world, the one of 2.0 but an exciting one!

    September 20, 2010


    re your latest post - hmm, too big a problem to handle?

    Whaddya do, it's up to them as educators to educate themselves? So many have written on the NNEST issue - check KenWilson's blog for a fine debate... personally, I have known great NN teachers with mastery levels of English but also others who don't get it yet get paid more than I do to teach it...

    It's a global world, no one said it was fair.

    Regarding the comment on the differences in the type of visitors/hits/page-views one gets on one's site - that was a guest post I did for Mike, essential reading for anyone contemplating entering the 'sphere:

    (and it took me days and days to compile so bookmark it):

    Blogging Terms

    In fact, that post's part of a series, there are more great links here Thoughts on being an edublogger

    I disagree with you, of course... I have lots of readers who don't write blogs and aren't on Twitter (though that fell over the summer when I was drowning in projects and had no time to do the email/yahoo/group updates I usually do) and all of us do have these types of readers - so when each of us, as beacons if you like, promote each others work to each other (and our global audiences) then we all benefit, because we all pull new readers into the blogosphere as a collective body (or practising practitioners) - hence my zealous work with BELTfree (did you notice that 15 of us got into top 100 of Bab.la? that didn't happen by accident :) but by constantly working with each other... and nowadays my tweeting as BloggersELT (start paying attention to your Twitter stats... they should be coming your way even more too) is focused on the same idea - to show as a "force" in the democratization of information and therefore reaching the people who need reaching...

    September 20, 2010

    Thank you Janet! I live to speak out loud...

  • Henrick Oprea says:
    September 20, 2010

    Hi Karenne,

    what else can I say besides 'congratulations'? Well, I guess 'thank you' is on the way as you are well aware of the influence you've had on me. Despite never having talked to you about it, it was only after getting involved in the blogosphere that I realised how enriching it could be.

    Two years! That's quite a lot! I remember when I started I didn't think I was going to last a month, but hey... all the support and, yes, the comments do make a difference if we use blogs as a tool for reflection. I really like the collaboration that goes on in this blogging world. I guess I see your point when you said you were surprised that Jason turned off comments, but that's something I don't think I'd do. Well, I have never been as read as he is, so I haven't got a clue how hard it might get with spammers and all that.

    Once again, congrats and a happy journey till your third anniversary! :)



  • David Warr says:
    September 21, 2010

    Happy Birthday Karenne.

  • Alex Case says:
    September 29, 2010

    PS When I first saw the title and the picture of someone holding their belly, I got entirely the wrong idea of what the news was!

    September 29, 2010

    oops!!! talk about some subconsciou wishful thinking... Alex - but too late for me I'm afraid!



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