Bloggers Series: Susan Kistler on Writing Weekly for aea365

Hello world! I’m Susan Kistler, the Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association. This winter, we’ll be running an ongoing series on evaluators who blog. I’m kicking it off by writing about contributing each Saturday’s post to aea365. Rad Resource – aea365: The AEA blog, aea365, posts a contribution a day by and for evaluators. Aea365 focuses on tips, tricks, resources, and lessons learned in the field of evaluation by those who actually are making it happen. The content spans the field, from reviews of tech tools to suggestions for improving evaluation processes, to resources for professional development, to ideas for making the most of the annual conference. If you would like to be a guest contributor (we have over 250 each year), review the contribution guidelines and send a note to aea365@eval.orgwith your topic idea.

Hot Tips – favorite posts: There are over 700 posts in the aea365 online archive.  In terms of the 75+ that I have written to date, here are four that stand out:

  • 11/19/2011 – 40+ Low-cost/No-cost Tools for Evaluators: LaMarcus Bolton and I have been working on a project to identify and share low-cost/no-cost tools. This post both built on that passion and had an embedded PearlTree (one of my new favorite free tools!).
  • 5/28/2011 – Evaluation Contract Resources: This post gave me the opportunity to do one of my favorite things – share information about AEA and great resources from our members.
  • 4/9/2011 – Leaving Wordle for Tagxedo: For better or worse, this post about a good wordcloud generator is one of the most read article posted to date on aea365.
  • 10/9/2010 – Data-driven Journalism and Its Lessons for Evaluation: Exploring this trend through allowed me to raise issues that I believe impact the field and to share a couple of useful resources.

Lessons Learned – why I blog: For things that I value such as connecting people and resources, and network weaving, and for my own avocation, leveraging technology to improve people, processes, and programs, blogging is a great medium. Aea365 specifically serves many purposes –whether I am posting or any of our many contributors – including:

  • Sharing knowledge, expertise, and resources
  • Contributing to a 365-day-per-year community of practice
  • Promoting the association and its services
  • Providing a voice and avenue for engagement for colleagues who may not otherwise be active within the association

Lessons Learned: I started as a somewhat reluctant blogger, but soon learned that it is a preferred medium for me in that it allows for (a) direct linking to related content, and (b) positioning oneself as a guide and learner rather than an expert. P.S. I also blog occasionally as one of the team at AssociationTech. This winter, we’re running a series highlighting evaluators who blog. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

3 thoughts on “Bloggers Series: Susan Kistler on Writing Weekly for aea365”

  1. Pingback: Bloggers Week: Carrie Tanasichuk on · AEA365

  2. Congratulations on creating this outstanding blog, Susan! Information published in it is rich and useful. I would rate it as #1 evaluation blog in the world.

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