This week, "Shamash Says" turned one year old. There was no candle on a cake, but instead a birth: to twins! Shamash stayed up till the wee hours of the morning creating two sister professional blogs, and they have all their fingers and toes.
"Shamash Says" began as an experiment to see if a non-tech-geek English teacher could maintain a personal blog. A year ago, Shamash barely knew what the word “blog” meant, yet alone how to act on one. So she entered the blogosphere a bit naïve, and completely unprepared for how blogging would revolutionize her life.
To this day, Shamash knows the names and faces of but two friends who blog. The rest: she met in the blogosphere.
Here’s what happened this past year.
In the last 365 days, Shamash:
- made connections with other educators, from The Netherlands, to Hong Kong, to California, to Georgia. Through these online relationships, she exchanged lesson plans, helpful teaching tips, and valuable ideas for incorporating blogs into the classroom.
- found motivation to write. A teacher by day, and a writer by night, Shamash had been lacking the “gumption” to write on a daily basis. "Shamash Says" gave her a good reason to make writing part of her daily routine.
- discovered an audience. Writing isn’t fun folks. It takes discipline. Like Dorothy Parker, who said, “I hate writing; I love having written”, Shamash found it difficult to work in a static environment. Her growing audience of readers at the blog kept her on task, and served as a reminder to write on a daily basis.
- learned terms like: technorati, tagging, creative commons, delicious, rss feed, pings, visitor stats, and flickr
- wrote an online eulogy for a professor in California whose blog presence will be sorely missed. She never met him face-to-face.
- maintained long-distance friendships. "Shamash Says" is better than email. It has pictures. And hyperlinks. And travel news. Through the blog, Shamash kept in touch.
- learned the value of digital imagery. With a blog, Shamash can snap a picture, post it, and comment. Because she blogs, she takes a lot more pictures.
- found fodder for her published works. Some of what is found here at "Shamash Says" serves as a springboard for the more “serious” writing: submission for publication.
- discovered how the blog could be used in education. So, she’s using blogs in her classroom. And her master’s research focuses on blogs in education. And she’s presenting a workshop on blogs at an international teacher conference.
All this (and more!) because on November 7, 2004, Shamash started a blog.
It’s been one hell of a ride.