Blogging and Distributed Leadership

I read an interesting article the other day about education reform from “Mind Shift”. The article suggested that school leaders wishing to get better results from their teachers need to do more than just delegate responsibility. They need to “distribute leadership”.

This is an interesting concept, and to be honest, the article is a bit fuzzy about it. This much is clear — the goal of distributing leadership is to produce an engaged network of people who share an interest to more efficiently learn from what they do. There are some presumptions – mainly that the folks getting this new leadership role are qualified and that improvements in output can be tracked so the sharing is useful.  But if we set these aside, the result is what we want from networking.

That brings me to blogging. blogging started off as a means of self-expression. Folks wanted the chance to broadcast their ideas, feelings and whatever and they /we( have been doing so at a fever pitch. But … broadcasting is not the same as building engagement. And, except for a few cases, blogs generally don’t do this. Mea culpa.

So can blogs — at least some of them — aspire to that higher standard? Can we think of blogging as a tool that promotes distributed leadership? I think this is an important question. If the answer is “yes”, we have a tool that all of us can use to empower folks. That would be a big value added. If the answer is “no”, then blogging is like traditional media. Broadcasting for information exchange and entertainment, but not for building new and more powerful networks.

What do you think? And you might ask me the same thing. We are in the very early days of using the internet, so it is pretty safe to say that the “jury is still out”. And if this so, it is a good time to start thinking about how blogs might achieve this goal. What are the characteristics that distributed leadership (DL) blogs share?

I will be writing about this as we go forward. Hang on to your hat!

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