Two different questions, obviously.
On the first, my first alternative might have been to start building some email distribution list, so that people could feel like they were “in the know”, but I want everyone to have equal access. I also want information to be available 24×7 and fully searchable. In the world of Knowledge Management (Google that and you’ll be reading for days), a topic I enjoying knowing and learning about separately, this combination of open access and searchability leads to what is called “findability”. Other than knowing the address of this blog, everything on it is findable.
I could have set up a website, too. They are open, and searchable, but I also wanted to interact and allow others to interact. Websites are typically seen as one-way communication, but a community is two-way, three-way, and much more. I want our District website to be the best one-way source it can be for our community (what do you think?), but for many reasons, interaction is not possible. So, we’ll let the District teach our kids, and you and I can talk about issues and what it means to be a board member here. Are you game?
And what about Facebook or MySpace or Orkut (name your social website)? Well, they have their purpose and I use them, but frankly, they are not a forum for individual expression in the way that blogs are and they tend to be more about connections than issues. Connections are great, but let’s focus on issues here. Connections will come, I’m sure
And why keep a log or journal online? I want to learn from others in an open forum and for others to learn from me if they choose. I’m comfortable enough in my skin to not fear commentary and in these first days, I’ve found precious little personal, public commentary on what it means to be a school board member. For many reasons, including fear I suspect, other members may not want to or can’t open up, but my experience leading other volunteer groups suggests that open, honest communications that are respectful and constructive can be very helpful in building a sense of community and helping to maintain cohesiveness and focus. I blog because I believe I have something to share with others and I hope others will share back.
In the lexicon of “Ishmael”, let’s be leavers, together, not takers.