The A - Listers

Recently I read a post written by George Couros that prompted me to comment as well as do some further thinking. Here is my comment left on his post with some additional thoughts based on a day of reflection.

One of the ideas that George mentions is the cliques within Twitter and how some people are considered “A listers” in the social media world. I think it is very interesting that people would be claiming there are cliques within Twitter and that people are being left out of some magical circle. Personally, I have only been active on Twitter since November of this year. In that time I have connected with people across the globe from every walk of life (educationally speaking). I have yet asked a question that was not answered nor have I felt on the outside. During my time I have learned that as with anything in life, it is what you make it.

I talk with some people more but that is a matter of who I relate to and is discussing what I want/need for my students. This is just logical. There is a magic circle of “A-listers”, but who is on the last or in that circle is up to you. Follow and read those people that work for you and that you learn from. The power of Twitter is that there is a limitless amount of inner circles that are dependent upon the user. Make your own circle rather than complain about not being in someone else’s. As George mentioned in his post, be respectful of all but realize the practicality of responding and commenting on every single thing that is posted.

The key to the success of social media like Twitter as a method of educational reform is the connection we all have. That bond is the kids. If we are caught up in who is on the “in crowd” we lose sight of what is truly important. If we are worried about how many followers we have then we lose sight of the resources being shared. If we are worried how many times we are retweeted then we miss out on great professional conversations. If we get upset that someone didn’t comment on our blogs we will miss the true point of Twitter which is learning. If we are concerned that we are not “A-listers” then we will not learn how to be better teachers.

While I admit some people are probably on Twitter to self promote, that is not always a bad thing. If we don’t share what we are doing and do some self promoting then the power of Social Media is wasted. I write about what I think and what I do in hopes that it will help someone else. I just hope that my writing will be even a small help as compared to the amount of help and ideas I have received.

In addition, some of the people that complain about not being on the so called “A-list” are left out because it is easy. It is easier to complain about not being connected than to make the effort to connect. If we spent less time complaining about being on the outside of the metaphorical circles and instead we should share, collaborate, and connect more. We might find that we will create our own circles and be right in the middle of it ourselves.

I will continue to blog, tweet, retweet, and skype with anyone that will listen. Even if I am on the D-List with Kathy Griffin, have no followers, and nobody reads my blog. I will do it because I know I will learn and that learning will be better for my students!


Profhutch said...

I so enjoyed this post. Thank you for your blog and your sharing on Twitter.

I agree that it is what you make of it!

Have a great day!

Tom Schimmer said...

Could not agree more. All of this "clique" talk reminds me of middle school drama. I've only been on twitter for a week and my eyes have been opened to a world of learning I had no idea existed. It's been great and I am going to keep on tweeting and keep on blogging with everyone else on the D-List.

But if I do, then maybe, like, lots of people will, like, read my blog and start to...oh never mind!!

Sorry...I couldn't resist! Great post!

Pam Franklin said...

I don't mind when people disagree with me, but when educators, adults, stoop to ridicule, I lose all respect for them and their comments.

Whether or not you agree with my clique post, Tom, you can RESPECTFULLY disagree. Implying that I have the mindset of a middle schooler in NOT respectful.

Nice post, otherwise. :D

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

I completely agree that ridicule should not be used and I mean no offense in my post. I know not everyone agrees with everything that I post but I welcome the discourse that often leads to great conversations.

Thanks for your reply and I hope you find a great circle of professional learners on twitter that you can learn and grow metaphorical door is always open! :)

Nick Provenzano said...

Well said my friend, well said.

Michelle said...

What I'm finding more and more about the accusations of clique-yness on Twitter is this:

1) there are people who have been friends for a LONG time. When they go to conferences and see each other, they want to be able to talk to each other F2F, because they really don't get to as often as many would think. Perceived as clique-y.

2) some people on Twitter do not respond to every @mention. My assumption is- they have so many replies, it is difficult to respond to all of them. I don't have as many followers, so I try to respond to every reply. Not always feasible, but I think that is a huge part of sharing with each other.

3) sometimes, we all bring our own baggage with us into adulthood. I'm more sensitive to issues I struggled with as a child/teen because they were MY struggles. Can we all identify with them? No. Perceptions and perspectives will be different for everyone, and we have to respect that. Just because we grow up doesn't mean we conquer all those demons.

As I mentioned on George's post- this is all great for discussion as educators... because now put your students in these places. Empathize. Realize that your students need you to try to walk in their shoes, too.

kelalford said...

Great post! I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

I often am bothered when a so-called "A-Lister" doesn't respond to me if I send them an @. Makes me think they don't have enough time for little old me.

However, I am continually flattered and thrilled to be friends or acquaintances with people I do consider A-Listers and who have over 1,000 followers.

The latter really are wonderful people. I'm sure the former are, too, but they give me little way of knowing...

You're right, we need to remember this is for the kids...and keep our egos in check.

teacher trainee said...

I'm new to the edublogosphere (though not to blogging) and I think that there does tend to be a bit of a pecking order no matter what the blogging community. However the dangers are that when the group becomes insular and aggressive there is potential for trouble in the forms of trolls and flame attacks. However from what I have seen so far, the education area is relatively free of that sort of nonsense.

Tom Schimmer said...

You are absolutely correct. I was trying to be funny...clearly I wasn' disrespect apologies.

Mrs. Tenkely said...

I remember feeling this way when I signed up for Twitter in 2007 and discovered there were other educators Tweeting... it felt like a secret society that I was on the outside of. I still think that there are groups of people that tend to talk more on Twitter but the reality is, if you don't jump into conversations and include yourself as part of the group it isn't that you are being exluded, it is that you are inadvertantly overlooked. People don't mean to overlook you but they are more likely to engage you if you engage them. Don't be afraid to just jump in! I feel like it takes a little lurking to figure out all of the unwritten rules of Twitter but at the end of that lurking what you discover is there aren't really any rules. People are just using a platform to meet and discusss common goals, passions, and interests.

Anonymous said...

Good post,

Being fairly new to Twitter and blogging, I am currently trying to figure out what I want to get out of this process. Building my own circle and PLN is a slow process.