February 20, 2013
One Year Ago: What I Know Now But Didn't Know Then
I stumbled across this amazing site a little over a year ago, thinking that I had found a decorating and style haven, only to find out that speech-language pathologists were using it as an avenue to share great ideas and materials. And many of them for FREE! I was immediately and completely hooked! I'm sure many of you can relate.
I quickly set up "boards" to collect all these great ideas and started following blogs that I didn't even know existed. And then, I took the craziest step of all and became an SLP BLOGGER! Gasp! I thought that it would be a fun, easy way to give back to the SLP community. Little did I know, that although it IS fun and I DO enjoy sharing, it's a tough job sometimes. There's pressure to perform, so to speak, and all those other fabulous SLP Bloggers keep raising the bar! Some of these amazing ladies add several new blog posts per week and produce incredible packets of materials week after week after week. How do they do that??? I am in awe. And I own a lot of their stuff.
My little blog hit a milestone yesterday: 50,000 pageviews! For me, that is huge, and I humbly thank anyone who has taken the time to read it. I never dreamed that I'd have that many people be interested in my posts. And thank you to my faithful 51 followers! I got a slow start, but I think I've found my groove and I'm feeling okay about what I post, and as long as you still like it, we're all good.
I've learned a few things over the past year about blogging.
1. Following other bloggers is a wonderful form of continuing education.
I have learned so much this past year in so many areas! Jenna Rayburn's blog Speech Room News has taught me many blogging basics and many tricks and tips in making materials. Her fun, useful materials made my treatment sessions more enjoyable and jumpstarted my creativity to create more materials myself. Thanks, Jenna! I couldn't do what I do without you!
Katie Yeh's blog Playing With Words 365 is written in a totally different format than Jenna's. Instead of sharing incredible theme-based materials, Katie writes amazing articles for parents and professionals about normal and disordered communication development, treatment techniques and resources. I find myself going to her page more often than any other, and have shared her posts with parents countless times. Thanks, Katie, you ROCK!
And where would I be without following that fabulous collection of boards on Pinterest from PediaStaff? You can find anything you'll ever need just by browsing their boards. Their pins have directed me to numerous SLP blogs and have benefited my greatly in terms of finding new, wonderful materials to use, recommending apps to use in treatment, and keeping me up-to-date with current trends and best practice techniques. Heidi at PediaStaff, you're amazing! Please keep doing what you're doing!
I could go on and on.
2. Blogging and bloggers are constantly evolving.
I've seen a trend developing over the past few months that I'm not especially fond of. A year ago, bloggers would publish their posts with unique, creative materials, often offering them as freebies, but would also publish posts that provided app reviews or tips and tricks that they find useful in treatment. Suddenly there's been an onslaught, it seems, of bloggers racing to produce huge materials units to sell on their Teachers Pay Teachers sites and not as many posting about research, helpful strategies or other topics. I miss those posts! Don't get me wrong, I love all those materials packs, I just like a little more variety.
It is easy to fall into the Teachers Pay Teachers trap. I mean, come on, who doesn't want to be rewarded by people liking your stuff and paying money for it??? I jumped on the bandwagon and I must admit, I really enjoy getting those emails that inform me that someone purchased one of my products. But I've sort have come full circle in that I've realized I need to remind myself that my main purpose in blogging is to share my ideas and creativity with the SLP community, not to make a lot of money on the side. So my pledge to you as I continue to evolve and grow is to continue to offer freebies in my posts and to continue to keep my prices low on my for-purchase materials. My greatest joy is to read your comments and find that my materials are useful!
3. The SLP Blogging community is so supportive.
I've made several new friends this year that I've never met in person. Isn't that cool? I have several people I can count on to give me a comment on almost every post, and several fellow bloggers I can shoot an email off to for advice and/or feedback. I've noticed that many bloggers are featuring guest bloggers on their sites to mix it up a little bit, and many are happy to share other SLP's posts on their Facebook pages. Several have formed a collaborative blog called Speechie Freebies that offers free materials from it's collaborators. Jenna Rayburn started an SLP Discussion Forum that makes it easy for us to participate in discussions on many different topics related to our field. It's all so awesome! I'm so honored to be a part of it.
In this frenzy to learn, find new materials and share, though, sometimes we forget our manners. We need an honest blogging friend like CC to gently remind us to be polite and say thank you. Her post http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com/2012/10/social-pragmatic-skills-for-blog.html about social pragmatic skills for people who read blogs is one that stays with me. Her words have prompted me to leave comments on posts I might otherwise not have, and to always say thank you when I download a freebie. Really good advice.
Thanks again to those who have supported me by reading my blog, posting comments and using my materials. Here's to one year down, and another just beginning! I can't wait to find out what I'll learn next!