I’ve been asked to write a post to mark the fact that the TEL Tales blog is one year old. Happy birthday! Except… it’s actually a lot older than this. The current blog is in fact the third incarnation of TEL Tales: the previous two attempts limped along for a couple of months, then died.

It’s not surprising that the early TEL Tales didn’t survive – many blogs start, last for a few postings, and then fade away. The main reason that the early TEL Tales failed to thrive was simply that few people wanted to tell their tales. This is common. Last week a group of us participated in the PressED Twitter conference, which was devoted to the use of WordPress in Higher Education, and one of the presentations was called “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. The author, Suzanne Falkener, was a teaching fellow at the University of Strathclyde, and she found she had to overcome a large amount of apprehension before starting a blog. She wrote: “It’s ok to have a fear of blogging. There are a lot of ‘what ifs’ including: What if no one reads this? What if people think my blog is rubbish. What if I am publicly humiliated? What if my writing style isn’t good enough for my community?” She felt the fear and did it anyway – and the result was a blog that people found useful, with an audience that grew slowly but steadily.

I think a lot of members of the TEL team here at Portsmouth feel the same apprehension that Suzanne felt. But this time round we’ve applied more pressure to get people in the team to write something. And the same thing that happened to Suzanne happened to our team members – as Suzanne wrote: “Guess what? When I posted my first blog, nothing terrible happened. I wasn’t ridiculed. People read it.”  

We still have some people in the team who are reluctant to write. But in each and every case those people have tales to tell, and they are the ones best placed to tell them. So we’ll keep applying pressure to get them to write … and with luck we’ll still be here for the second birthday of TEL Tales.