Tony Gurr

How to become a famous, award-winning BLOGGER…

In Technology on 29/11/2011 at 7:46 pm

OK – the cartoon tells you all you need to know.

So, now to get to what I really wanted to talk about! Been so busy of late – even had to tweet in the middle of a downpour on the Bosphorus Bridge! 

The past few days, I found a bit of time to catch up with what has been happening with the EduBlog Awards 2011I flicked through many of the latest nominations and found the lists of “usual suspects” (I’d even nominated a couple myself) – no surprises there!

Seriously, some of these bloggers are “machines”. I struggle with one – how the hell they juggle things with 4 or 5 is totally beyond me!


I also began to find many other blogs I’d never stumbled across before (the blogosphere is no village, my friends) and ones I’d taken for a test-drive months ago and just forgotten about.

I am “male” and sadly for many of “us” reading, LEARNing and bookmarking just involves too much multi-tasking!


However, as I checked out more posts and tweets I began to realise that I’d missed a fair few other things – posts like John T. Spencer’s Klout Scores, Edublog Awards and Other Things That Don’t Matter and Adam Simpson’s “NOT my EduBlog Awards”…

People like John and Adam were obviously taking a swipe at the Awardsbut this just seemed to clash with the fun I was having finding so many great bloggers who could LEARN me stuff.


Don’t get me wrong!

I highlighted these posts because they get across the idea that there is also an “unhealthy side” to the Awards. Both John and Adam raised their concerns in the nicest of waysthere are much “louder” anti-Edublog Award voices out there.

Some of these posts (and tweets) also talk about the perils of “contests” in the blogosphere but many go on to discuss the woes of “badge envy and the incestuous practice of “reciprocal nominations – as well as promoting such radical civic action as “non-nomination protests” and the burning of underwear!

It’s almost as if they want to “stone” most bloggers to death!

Bit of a storm in a tea-cup and it all kinda reminded me of Henry Kissinger’s oft-quoted remark about higher education –

University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small”.

I totally get that “Klout” (PeerIndex and Twitter Grader, too) is the new digitised version of “the pissing contests” we see so much of all over the planet – and now, in educational blogging circles.

  • Yes, they are “silly”!
  • Yes, they feed on our “insecurities”! 
  • Yes, they make lots of people very rich – without adding to the welfare of the planet!

In truth, however, it’s pretty normal to want to see how you are “doing”pretty “human”. The problem is when we pull out the tape measures in public – and announce that “mine is bigger than yours – na, nah, na, na, nah”.

Not so cool – seriously, not cool at all! 

I must admit, I do giggle when I see the way many bloggers and tweeters “shout out” their klout metrics one month – only to backtrack and tell us how “terrible” the statistics are a few weeks later. What really tickles my fancy, however, is when we then see the same bloggers talking about how “blessed” and “humbled” they are – the day after they get a nomination!

Guys, digital footprints, duh!

I also get that many bloggers can and do fall into the blogosphere version of the “being-famous-for-being-famous-trap”Paris Hilton and Reality TV have a lot to answer forBut,  we are all only human and we can forgive eachother our lesser sins – cast the first stone and all of that! 

I think that’s what I liked about John’s post – he accepted that he’d fallen foul of the numbers game a while back, “forgave” himself and moved on.


I’ll go on record as saying I am not a “fan” of competitions – never liked them as a teacher (especially when schools “select” the best, ignore the “rest” and take the “credit” for value they did not create), hated them as a trainer and educational manager (too many in education already mistakenly see teaching as an “individual sport”) and I have been known to throw a wobbly when I see it at an institutional level (especially, when manipulated to do little more than “market” shoddy programmes through creative use “smoke n’ mirrors” – or “fireworks”)!

However, and as I noted in my post on my own nominations, setting up and running a blog is bloody hard work!

Some people (and they are easy to spot) put so much thought and effort into it, it’s just nice to recognise all that…give them a nod and try to encourage a few others to do the same.

In my nominations’ post I talked about how awful it was to try and select just one nomination from the wide range of great blogs that I enjoy – especially as a relative “newbie” to blogging meself.

I meant it…


But, and here’s the deal – I have LEARNed so much, discovered so many new sources of LEARNing (and “rediscovered” many more) as well as “meeting” so many like-minded LEARNers through the nominations of others. So much so that, I decided to do a post-script to my nominations. Just to share the LOVE and LEARNing!


In no particular order (or category):

  • The Thinking Stick (from Jeff Utecht). This one has been around for a while but it’s a bit of a “new find” for me. Jeff covers a lot of tech ground but also does a range of bite-sized posts that are very readable – no matter what and where you “teach”. 
  • Voices from the Learning Revolution (from all those great people that contribute). This is a relatively new blog that tries to keep teacher LEARNing at the heart of all its posts – and balances “common sense” and technology in a way that makes all teachers feel like 21st Century Educators. 
  • For the love of learning (from Joe Bower). Joe’s posts just add so much value to teacher thinking – besides I love his “tag-line”; Assessment is not a spreadsheet – it’s a conversation! 
  • Venspired (by Krissy Venosdale). OK – so it does not have LEARNing in its title, but that’s what it is all about (and Krissy certainly has the soul of a LEARNing teacher). I discovered this blog a few days after I put in my nominations – it’ll be on my future lists!
  • Spinning the social web (by Janet Clarey). Janet is another “blogging Yedi Master” and she can really use her light sabre! Again, does not have LEARNing in the title – but I can honestly say I’ve never returned from a visit to her site(s) without picking up a thing or five. Honest, irreverent and funny – she does some great posts on social media.
  • The Learning Nation (from Cale Birk). I just loved Cale’s choice of name for his blog. It’s quite new but is growing rapidly. Cale is a principal and effortlessly balances issues of leadership and LEARNing – I’ll be checking in with this one a lot.
  • Nik’s QuickShout (from Nik Peachy). Nik has been a “darling” of many ELT techies for years and this blog is packed with tips, hints and free downloads – well worth a visit (a day)! He (or rather his “clones” – no-one can write that much) also runs a number of other blogs you might want to take a look at. 
  • Education 3.0 (from the “guys” at EarnMyDegree). This is a newer blog (for me – the gang have been blogging since 2007) – but it’s showing a fair bit of promise. I like the sheer range of posts – and the humour they throw in.

There’s loads more where these came from – and if the nominations help us find a few of them , that’s just fine by me!

Doesn’t that make everyone a winner?

  1. I just have to say that this post is hilarious! The cartoons you’ve posted are a nice touch…they’ve made me realise that I have iPad envy.

    I never realised it before until I saw that guy with his little phone and I identified with him the most.

    Pure and utter iPad envy.

    Great post! 😉

  2. Thanks for an interesting read, Tony. If I’m honest, my post was a swipe at the awards and this is the first time I’m admitting as much. To be fair, though, I’m sticking to my guns of being someone who works in a profession where the *best* is often quantified so poorly and by such antiquated methods that seeing our efforts judged in this way is a bit off. I do feel, though, that by highlighting my post EduBlogs picked up on the spirit of my post: just because I’m not ‘besting’ doesn’t mean others shouldn’t. Let us celebrate each others’ work and if some choose to do this in a way that I’d rather not, so be it. After all, it’s finally led me to your great blog.

    • Hi Adam,

      I like a man who stands by what he says. I actually “got” what you were saying – and yes there is a bit of dysfunction in the wider process of voting for stuff that learn us. As I noted, I’m not a fan of unnecessary contests – but perhaps this time (my first time in the “game”) around I really did think that the awards allowed me to focus and find so many great resources. Now, if only I can find the bloody time to read them all.

      You do a great job with many of your posts – do you have a couple of “clones”, too 😉

      Keep up the great work – thx for dropping in 😉

      Take care,


  3. It’s strange how a tweet or a little something leads to reading some great stuff, This is a great post and fab blog, Tony, I wish I could write like you, truly. I am the plodding, uninspired type of blogger, me, certainly no blog machine… Really, where do they find this stuff they write about?

    But I like it that you are getting us to think about what the blogosphere is all about and about the pettiness and the backslapping and the challenges, hmmm … guilty as charged.

    But we all have to make a living, you know?

    Anyway, it’s great to get to know your blog – lots of great reading to do here and I will be coming back.


    • Hi Marisa,

      Thank you for the kind words – writing this one (mostly on the high-speed train back from Eskişehir) was a lot of fun. I really liked the fact that Adam’s suggestion allowed us all to take a good look back at what we had done – and be a bit naughty 😉

      I know what you mean about blogging – so much hard work to keep it going 😉

      Thanks for dropping in – take care.


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