Over at the Learning Circuits Blog (LCB), Tony Karrer and Dave Lee have hit upon an excellent idea on how to use a blog as a focal point for a larger discussion. "The Big Question" works by posting a question on the LCB and then asking people to post on their own blogs and add a comment with the relevant link back at the LCB. You can also just add your own comment to the original post. Fabulous job guys - kudos!
Turns out that the question for this month is "should all learning professionals be blogging?" As of the writing of this post, there were contributions from Dave Lee, Tony Karrer, Brent Schlenker, Stephen Downes, Harold Jarche, Bill Bruck, Jim Belshaw, and Rodolpho Arruda - with a number of comments as well (and all of these are excellent and mine will be but a pale imitation and late as well). I think that Dave and Tony have both hit on a sound dynamic and a great starting question. (I am a big fan of huge questions and one of the best places (beside LCB of course) to go for these is The World Question Center at the EDGE). But enough of all that - let's get to my answer! <drum roll> My answer is ..........yes........and no.
My explanation lies in re-formatting the question (we're always doing that too). I don't know if all learning professionals should be 'blogging' but I think that they should all at least blog - at least once. There is a concept in anthropology known as liminality - in short a threshold space. The Wikipedia definition I think speaks to this particularly well: "The liminal state is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition, during which your normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed, opening the way to something new."
To me there is something that happens to a person when they hit that "publish" button - you cross a threshold - you move from consumer to producer - you put your intellectual neck on the line and I really think that you aren't the same person after that. Whether or not you continue to blog is largely immaterial although the threshold is not a binary space entirely (that is that you do cross it once and you are different but the more you cross the more different you can become).
So yes - all learning professionals should blog at least once. You'll gain a better understanding of the technology and the dynamics involved in a much more authentic way that just reading blogs gets you. And my answer is no - if you are too busy (although Stephen Downes nicely addresses that question here - remind me to post more later about the value of stopping) - of if you find your point of view is not sufficiently different from what you're reading or for whatever reason - you shouldn't feel obliged to continue to blog.