This post is my plea to you. Please start blogging.
As conferences cancel…
It doesn’t take too many clicks to see that COVID-19 is impacting our field’s ability to communicate with one another. All you really have to do is visit Better Evaluation’s events page and start clicking to see all that is now postponed or cancelled.
The EERS board regrets to announce that it is necessary to cancel what would have been our 43rd annual conference.http://eers.org/
UK Evaluation Society Annual Conference 2020https://www.evaluation.org.uk/event/annual-conference-2020/
*** regrettably cancelled due to Coronovirus ***
Considering the very important public health issues at hand, the CES has decided to act prudently and to postpone the deployment of its 2020 conference initially planned for June 13-17, 2020. C2020 will become C2021!https://c2020.evaluationcanada.ca/
It is with regret that in order to protect our ANZEA wh?nau, and given the extraordinary volatility of the current environment, the ANZEA Board has taken the decision to postpone the ANZEA conference scheduled for July.https://www.anzea.org.nz/anzea-conference-2020/
aes20 conference postponed due to COVID-19 pandemichttps://conference2020.aes.asn.au/
This year’s conference has been postponed and will now be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre from 27 September to 1 October 2021.
Of course it’s the right decision. Anything in the near future involving travel and crowds needs to be nixed for everyone’s health and safety.
As for why they don’t just go digital? Here’s a secret, if you don’t know how to organize, structure, and produce large digital events, it can be really hard and really expensive.
And for the last decade most associations have been approaching digital as a nice to have or added bonus, not an essential backup. In other words, the heavyweights are just not prepared to go all in on digital.
Is the field of evaluation non-essential?
I don’t think so.
It’s like education. It gets put on pause for a minute before we start to realize that hey, this is really important.
The world is changing before our eyes and far more rapidly than most would like. And the return to quasi-normalcy still doesn’t seem imminent. When times are tough, many of the programs we support with our expertise and methods are likely to become endangered.
In an uncertain world, giving sometimes turns into hoarding and defunding. Effective interventions get put on the back burner. And sometimes they go away entirely.
There is a harsh reality that underwrites our profession.
Like it or not, funding and attention is finite. Hard decisions will be made. And effectively using evidence to influence those decisions is one of our primary roles.
As a profession this is not the time to stop connecting with one another.
Blogging is a form of presentation.
Blogs are not like mini-journals.
They’re more like mini-presentation rooms. Room that don’t require a physical space and scheduled time to exist.
Blogging is presenting.
And in a field as practical as our own, presentations matter.
Just think about your last presentation. Could you turn into a blog post? Or maybe a few blog posts?
What about that presentation you were planning to give at a now cancelled conference? In your head, has that presentation idea been cancelled that too?
Your expertise has value, it can still be shared. Our field still needs you to share.
Creating your own presentation room.
This part is super simple.
Don’t over think it. Seriously, don’t over think it.
Go to wordpress.com, click “start your website,” and follow the prompts.
The design doesn’t matter right now. You can change it at any time, I change my designs all the time. You can just use your name for the blog title. The about page also doesn’t matter. Write something simple.
Your goal. Setup the basics so you can write a post and hit publish.
Blogging is actively presenting.
You just need to do it.
Amplifying your reach.
Once you have a presentation, then you need an audience.
Blogging is not like a webinar or any other kind of live presentation. You don’t need the audience before you give the presentation.
Easiest way to reach people is to just reach out to friends/colleagues. Share the link for your new post. Then hit social media.
I always encourage evaluators to use twitter, because a lot of evaluation bloggers use twitter. And evaluation bloggers like helping other evaluation bloggers reach audiences.
Relaunching the Eval Central Blog of Blogs
Over a decade ago I started eval central as a blog of blogs. For the last few years I’ve experimented with new formats.
The forum is cool and so is the series of unwebinars I started. But the more I have reflected the more it has become clear to me that we need the blog of blogs.
This is how we amplify indie presenters.
By connecting a bunch of evaluators who blog into a single megablog we can leverage the shared audience it creates. This creates a platform we can then use to amplify new voices.
After I auto connect the blogs, I auto connect the evalcentral twitter account. Now whenever anyone in the network blogs, it then gets tweeted to evalcentral’s over 4,000 followers.
So here it is, the brand new Eval Central Blog of Blogs: blog.evalcentral.com.
I’ve started bringing together some established indie evaluation bloggers. Now I just need you. You’ll find a link to submit your blog on the site.
But ultimately it’s not cheap and I am just an indie evaluator/designer. So if you like my work, please consider becoming a Patron.