When Looking From Outside In

Lately I haven’t been on twitter much. Life has had other plans and I have had to follow along. Mostly I have missed the relationship factor & conversations. When I sign on it is either to “post and run” or to glance through a timeline. I’m used to having around 30 “@” a day. Now I get less than 10. I now see what people are talking about when they say they twitter is fast or they cannot keep up. I sort of feel like a stranger when I jump on. I’m pretty sure this is what new tweeps feel like when they join. I’m not sure that this is a good thing.

When I joined twitter 3 years ago we were all new to the medium so it was easy to jump on. Conversations were helpful, sharing links, and new friendships were slowly evolving. Developing a PLN was pretty easy. But last few days in my drop in I’m not seeing that. But I saw some things I am terribly guilty of and I can guarantee I’m going to work hard not to fall into this again.

We know at times we can be an echo chamber. I don’t think that is entirely bad but can be exclusive. Over last week as we all get ready for back to school I saw so many negative tweets about teachers. These were not from teacher haters like Michelle Rhee but from people in my PLN. Stuff like
they should be fired or how tired of these teachers some are not how to reach them. I am so guilty of this so if I point fingers I haven’t forgotten 3 more are pointing back at me. We tweet a complaint, others have the same and it snowballs. But imagine you are one of “those” resistant to technology or not sure how to change ways. First of all I’m pretty sure they are not resistant to make you crazy or to disrupt your life but because they are afraid or do not know where to start (I have been writing about this a lot lately I know, sorry to be repetitive). But say they go to a workshop about twitter & see a list of tweeps to follow. They sign up and see that? Once in 4th grade I heard my teacher telling another teacher I was dumb and she was sick of me. From then on I hated her class. Never tried in class and never wanted anything to do her again. It didn’t make me want to change!! So teacher new to tech logs on to follow tech leaders and this is what he/she sees. How discouraging.

I’m really not judging everyone just reminding. I’m not naive to not know people have had conversations or even written posts about what I tweet. Yes I goof off a lot here. I also am open about my struggles, which some have said some mean things about, that’s my personality. I know it is not most of our personalities to talk bad about people when we can help. We are educators, that is what we do, help and teach.

I hate to be the soapboxer but I am really worried about the perception we have to others. We need to be helpful & welcoming. Not discouraging or “can’t do this here.” What are we doing to help and encourage?

Sorry for my tangent but this has really been bothering lately. And I really to miss so many. Hope everyone’s year is going well.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Josh says:

    Great post, Amanda. I, too, haven’t been engaging in the Twitter stream nearly as much. As much as I’ve wanted to, there has been way too much going on with school beginning this week. But I would also agree that I don’t always feel like I’m missing much. Seems to be a lot of the same discussion about how great PLNs are and how bad certain schools/admins are. Some is new and legit, more seems to just be rehashed. I’m hoping as we get going with the school year, more of the great things we are doing start getting shared. Because that’s what makes Twitter so great. And that’s what brings in new people. Hope you have a great beginning of the year!

  2. Becky says:

    I ditto Josh’s comment. I haven’t been tweeting much at all. People are probably sick of my 365 day pictures because that’s most of what’s getting sent from my account. I’ve considered paring down who I follow…and it’s looking more and more appealing. I don’t need more negativity in my life. I give myself enough of that as is! =)

    Keep on being the change!

  3. Chris Wejr says:

    Thanks for causing me to further reflect, Amanda. I was speaking with another BC principal, @tomschimmer, a few months ago at his workshop on assessment. I saw a style that really made sense. On twitter, we often see people who believe one is good the other is bad… Including me. I have blasted those who believe in their grade books and decimal point percentages. I have been very critical of those who focus on rewards and awards. He said to me, “by mocking and belittling, we alienate those who need to hear the message the most”. He was saying this to me but was speaking about his own experience. I am very passionate about formative assessment and student motivation… By giving people a gentle nudge by asking powerful questions and offering small steps, I have seen far more progress than the “you are wrong” approach.

    I want people to ask questions but if they are afraid they are going to feel stupid, then how can social media be beneficial? People DM me because they are afraid to ask, in their minds, silly questions publicly.

    Thanks for causing people to think and encouraging us to balance the pressure and support rather than alienating with harsh words and sometimes… mockery.


  4. Cristina says:

    I think many educators share your perspective and many have stopped using Twitter for the very reasons you mention above.
    What I also noticed is that difficult conversations do not actually happen and most tweets are related to the use of technology. Only now and then pedagogy is the focus and even then it is talked about from a homogeneous viewpoint – and then we wonder that the very people who “resist” that approach leave. Besides, this “converting” is a questionable process in itself…because it starts from the assumption that some are better than others.
    Good post. I hope more people will read it.

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