Earlier this week, I had noticed that the Twitter users and followers had gone to 0 in count. Must have been another Twitter software update.  I knew that Alec Couros had made yet another Ontario appearance and had given him a heads up in case he was going to show his stats to his audience.  After all, it would be embarrassing to publically admit to having no friends!  What was interesting was that a couple of other people jumped in and the topic was about Twitter ego sites.


It was Alfred’s comment that tweaked my interest.  Personally, I have checked out Twitter Grader and Klout myself.   I never really considered it “ego”, just more or less morbid curiosity.  The teacher in me, of course, wants to know what these scores are “out of” and I want to see the rubric and standards and how do you determine this and … then I settle down and realize it’s just for fun.

My comment back to Alfred was my typical flippant “I just want to be on any list that @alfredtwo is on.”  Together, in the short period of time that I’ve known him, we’ve talked about some of the great social issues of the day – like the importance of computer science and the grief when your sump pump isn’t working…

But, Shelley, had a good point.  Don’t sweat about the metrics, just look at the listed count.  She’s right.  I think that’s the truest of ways to determine your value.  Just how many people have found your content so engaging that they’ve added you to a list attached to their Twitter account?  That may well be the best measure.

So, what goes into a list?  Hopefully, a great deal of thought.  I’ve got a couple that I’ve personally crafted and I take great pride in them.  One is the list of Ontario Educators.  This is quite simply a list of teachers, principals, and other people who are actively involved in education in Ontario.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a really nice visit with @cyndiejacobs who happened to be in Windsor for a meeting with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation group.  Now, Cyndie is a delightful person who is just a joy to talk with.  She doesn’t hold anything back and just shoots from the hip about any topic on the table.  During our talk which covered so many things, she asked me about a particular person who participates regularly on Twitter.  I had to admit that I didn’t know that person other than by their messages.  That seemed to come as a surprise to her.  In fact, I do have an answer in another list that I’ve created – People’s I’ve Met.

The conversation continued about so many others that are part of the regular conversation.  There are actually only a select few that I know personally and so much of it has come as a result of Cyndie and Siria’s work with building a community of learners in Ontario thanks to their efforts.  The group has now become known as “the usual suspects” whenever a call for assistance goes out.  (There are other terms that aren’t suitable for inclusion here but I’ll leave them out…)

In the context of Alfred and Shelley’s original Ego premise, it really does go to the value of Ego services (although I’m not particularly fond of the term).  In my mind, therein lies the truest of metrics.  If you’re are concerned about these things, the online mathematical algorithm based resources are nice but also take a look at who you’re reaching out to enough that they’ve added you to a personally crafted list.  It adds the human element to the process.  And, if your Ego needs some massaging, that will do nicely!



  1. Hi there!
    I’m touched by your summation of our visit yesterday afternoon. I have always known (and been told) that I speak my mind about whatever topic is out there. Sometimes it gets me in trouble but I believe that some things need shaking up occasionally!

    I hope we – at OTF – can continue along this path we have forged and bring some 21st century reality to education in Ontario and, especially, to continue our connections with the teachers.

    Great conversation with you Doug! Looking forward to more down the road…


  2. There is something about metrics – numbers that we can at least pretend mean something. I think we are socialized from an early age to look at scores. Be they grades in school or indicating numbers in sports we are told that numbers can be a measure of our worth. Right or wrong it seems to be in our nature to look for those things and celebrate them.
    For some of us there is a specific joy in statistics. I admit to being one of those people who enjoy looking at, playing with, comparing and just trying to make some sense of numbers that indicate something – anything.
    With regards to Twitter I do agree on the value of handmade lists. For most people adding a name to a list is a more conscious deliberate action than “just” following them. When someone “follows” someone on twitter it doesn’t automatically mean that they go looking for that person’s Tweets. But when they add someone to a list that is a proactive statement that “this person matters” and sharing that opinion with the world. So yes, being on a list means more.


  3. I know a few of “my tweeple” (also love this new twlanguage) offline, but the people I have met strictly through Twitter have helped me incredibly–pure, unselfish, good old-fashioned help. I must admit I sometimes feel sad when I can’t share a coffee or go out for an ice cream or shop for shoes with these new friends, some of the favourite things of those whom I follow, based on their tweets. Those who have been PDed and have benefitted from these opportunities are lucky indeed.

    I still haven’t mastered LISTS yet, which I realize are one of the “must do” things in Twitter. But now I’ll think carefully about how I craft those lists since I’m dealing with people after all.

    Your welcoming encouragement and the mixing of cool personal things with awesome technical tips and suggestions in everyperson-language together with a passion for teachers and teaching would make you difficult to categorize.

    That’s something numbers (data) will never be able to reveal, and I guess that’s your point @dougpete 😉


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