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!