Building community with #NaBloCoMo

It seems November means lots of things to lots of people. Writers try to do 50,000 words with #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and bloggers try to do a new post every day with #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month). I got excited about that one, but realized that I just don’t have that many good blog ideas (you’ll see that my rate is more like 1/wk or so on average).

However, there’s something that I think I could do, and I think it’ll scratch a particular itch for me. Introducing #NaBloCoMo or National Blog Comment Month, where you can try to post a comment/question on someone’s blog once per day.

When I say “scratch an itch,” I’m referring to the craving I have for community/support/conversation with my online science/math-teacher buddies. It’s great to read about (and sometimes write about) cool/frustrating/weird/fun things that we do, but I REALLY like it when I enter into a conversation with one or more of my buds about a topic. Sometimes that happens on twitter, but often it can happen in the comments section of a blog. I’m hoping I can do my part to get some of those conversations going this month.

Please join me. Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Read some blogs. I use feedly to keep track of posts from all kinds of science educators. Many of us (though, sadly, I’ve not done this recently) put links to other blogs we like on our blogs. Twitter is another great way to find good blogs. Here are some hashtags to watch: #physicsed, #sbgchat, #highered, #globalphys, #modphys, . . . (I’ll maybe add more later).
  2. Find one that generates a question from you (that way, you’ll likely get a response from the author, starting a good conversation).
  3. Write a comment letting them know what you liked, didn’t like, wondered about.
  4. VERY IMPORTANT: check the “email me when other comments are made” box (or whatever it’s called). This way you can stay up on any conversation that happens after your comment.
  5. OPTIONAL: put #NaBloCoMo into your comment post.

Some comment/question starters for you if you need one for this post:

  • Here’s 17 more hashtags to watch . . . . How do you get skeptical people to join in?
  • Here’s 138 more blogs to look at . . .. Why is your blog so boring, SuperFly?
  • I came up with this idea years ago but I called it ____. Why aren’t you using my hashtag?
  • How can I do this and write a novel in the same month?
  • (longtime readers will get this joke:) I’m in this class and I don’t understand how this post helps me with our standards.

About Andy Rundquist

Professor of physics at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN
This entry was posted in blog, teaching, twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Building community with #NaBloCoMo

  1. peternewbury says:

    Awesome idea, Andy! I love writing blog posts and wish I could do it more often. But it’s even better when someone comments. During #NaBloCoMo, I want others to feel that hit of adrenaline when they see they’ve kindled a conversation.

  2. bretbenesh says:

    I will do my best, although I am a little swamped right now. I have a couple of blog posts to contribute once I get some time to actually write them.

  3. Joss Ives says:

    Great idea Andy. Left some comments on a few blogs yesterday and this one can count for today (lame, but it’s bed time) #NaBloCoMo

  4. Melissa says:

    I love this idea! I’m stretched thin and hence have eliminated my own blogging and greatly reduced my blog reading, but I’ll definitely make an effort to comment when I do read. I must say that I really like your attempts to get conversations going on your blog posts by providing a fill in the blank starting point for reactions that people might have.

    • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

      Thanks, Melissa. I’m curious, did the blog posting reduce at the same rate as the blog reading for you?

    • Jared Stang says:

      Fantastic idea, Andy! I will do my best to keep up with #NaBloCoMo.

      Like Melissa, I also really like your ‘comment starters’. In fact, I have copied the idea on my own blog, hoping to generate comments on the points I’m still wondering about after writing a new post.

      Have you found the comment starters are working as you intended? Do you get more comments in general, or more about the specific prompts you give? Also, has it helped to raise the quality of the comments?

      • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

        I think the best part of the comment starters for me is it’s an easy way to admit what I haven’t fully thought out, and to note things that I have further thoughts on if people want to hear them. I don’t know if they’ve “raised the quality,” but I think it probably has gotten some of my students to comment. How has it worked for you?

      • Jared Stang says:

        In fact, today was my first post trying out this strategy, and you were the first to comment! I agree that it seems to be a good addition to the post and it seems like it provides a good way for the blogger to drive the direction of the comments.

        After reading a few of your posts, I thought it seemed like you invited students to comment. Is there any worry in letting them see ‘behind the curtain’, through the content on your blog? Actually, I can’t think of anything but possible positive outcomes from that; still, it is a lingering question for me.

      • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

        I do invite my students to comment (via email and in class). I used to think it would be good to keep my blogging a secret from them, but now I love showing them how hard I work on class preparation. The material I’m teaching is often centuries old, but my approach is always changing.

  5. Pingback: NaBloCoMo results | SuperFly Physics

  6. martenis says:

    Saw your tweet proposing #NaBloCoMo, and I’m giving it a shot this year. I couldn’t manage a blog, but conversations in the comments sounds like something I might be able to do. Thanks for the challenge.
    So here’s my first comment. And here’s a question on this old post of yours: Are there any blogs new to you (in the year since you posted this) that you’d recommend to other physics teachers?

    • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

      Glad you’re joining in! I don’t really use a blog roll anymore, though I do use my rss reader still. I think the newest blogs since last year are all the physics teacher 180 blogs (teachers who post a picture with description per day). I’ll make sure to post all the blogs I comment on this year once again.

  7. ibeatty says:

    It’s 3:53 AM. Why am I reading this now?

  8. Pingback: on habit formation: maternity blogging | Appetite for Instruction

  9. melsimba23 says:

    I love this idea- see I always want to comment more on the blogs I read, but typically refrain because I always feel that I need adequate time to reflect and write up a “good”, or at least thoughtful, response, but rarely end up having that time, and comment almost never. But, case in point here, I’m going to take this challenge to comment with at least some initial thoughts every day, even if I haven’t had the time to organize them into something as profound as I might like. Maybe with practice they will evolve from rambles like this to something more coherent on the spot.

    • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

      Awesome! I was reading another post trying to make people feel better about not updating their 180 blog on a daily basis. Commenting can be as easy as “cool idea, thanks” or “wait, what about . . .”

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