Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

The Vulnerability of Social Media Participation


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

This is just a quick weekend post to reflect on the vulnerability we open ourselves to when we blog or tweet or participate in any online community.

I only started blogging over a month ago – Dec 18, 2013! 30 posts already, so almost daily (sometimes twice a day… I know, it is too much)

Someone (apologies if misrepresent those thoughts) was commenting on facebook that not everyone has the same confidence about writing, doubting the value of what they have to say, or whether others will find it useful. For me, personally, i think we make ourselves vulnerable to participate in social media, whether by blogging, tweeting, or participating in any discussion. Unlike Jenny who talks about deliberating before writing, i am happy to share my half-formed thoughts… On the condition that they are accepted as such, not treated as complete. (I compare those with peer-reviewed work and articles that get published after editing in magazines – that work gets raised to a higher quality by peers and editors BUT social media writing can potentially get so much more feedback that benefits everyone’s learning in the process).

Having said that, it means that sometimes what I blog about is not necessarily up to some people’s standards. Maybe i will write something with good intentions that would offend someone or have unintended consequences. Before the internet, this happened a lot behind the author’s back, right? It still can, of course, but now there are opportunities for engagement..

Which adds another element to the mix: will they like me? My colleagues at work got overwhelmed with my reflective/provocative emails, so i started blogging. But my colleagues at work still talk to me and show their respect for my ideas in person. Online, it is a big risk: will anyone really benefit from this? Will theylike me? Do we want to see how often our blog has been viewed, tweeted, discussed? Do we want to read about it in someone else’s work?

Why do we write? Sometimes, like Frances commented, i write for myself, because it helps me organize my thoughts. I share it to get feedback from others and interact and further develop my ideas. Yesterday,i wrote to express thoughts and feelings i felt others must be having as well, and in a way that blog post made me realize i was not alone and i am glad i put myself out there. On the other hand, i worried that by arguing for inclusion, i might have alienated someone else on the other side of the spectrum. I hope i have not. I was just arguing that we are each free to pursue this course however we like for whatever goals we have.

Now if only I could take that sentiment and use it in all facets of my professional and personal life…


  1. Pingback: Chaos, safety, vulnerability, and community in massive online interaction | Reflecting Allowed

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