doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

How a Message Changes

Sunday afternoon, Sylvia Duckworth posted another of her terrific Sketchnotes.

She had taken the content from one of George Couros’ excellent blog posts “8 Things to Look For in Today’s Classroom” and visualised it.  I like it.

Now, think back to your own elementary school experiences.  I’m sure that we all did this activity/game in class.  The teacher would whisper a message to a student.  That student would turn to the student sitting next to her/him and whisper the message.  Then, they would turn and pass it along.  and so on, and so on, and so on.  When it reached the last student, the student would share the message that was received after passing through a class and it would be compared with the original message.  It’s a great lesson in communication, understanding, gossip, etc.  (and fun too!)

I seem to be in the middle of Sylvia’s original communications now, being tagged by her in a Twitter message.

So, the original message was this.

But, I’d seen this one first.

I thought that I’d give her a hand and retweet it so that those that follow me but not follow Sylvia would enjoy.  (People that follow both of us would get both messages!)  The problem was that if I did a retweet, I couldn’t send it.  It would exceed the 140 character limit.  So, I did a MT to acknowledge that I’d modified her original.

It’s only proper etiquette (as I understand it).  However, her original message had changed by my doing so.  I’d removed @Braddo @karlyb #edchat.  I suppose that it could be seen as a way of stopping the spam for them.  But, it had changed.

As it turns out, Sylvia’s diagram seemed to strike a note with others who went on a retweeting binge of their own.  (I’ll remove the senders’ names to protect the innocent …)

RT @sylviaduckworth: 8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom by @gcouros @rebezuniga @rohdesign @dougpete @mtechman

In this message, it properly retweets Sylvia’s message but also edits out the #sketchnotes, etc. hashtag.  It now gives credit to the five Twitter names.  Taken out of context, it looks like a group post!  As I write this, that message has been retweeted 63 times.

Then, we have this message.

MT @Ladywolf2014 “8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom by @gcouros @rebezuniga @rohdesign @dougpete @mtechman ”

There’s no reference now at all to Sylvia as the original author. by @gcouros @rebezuniga @rohdesign @dougpete @mtechman ” @giselleruest

Now, it’s a picture by the five of us with a quotation and another person added to the list.

This is cool.

8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom by @gcouros @rebezuniga @rohdesign @dougpete @mtechman ” #ppteachers

We’ve now removed the extra name, kept the quotation mark and added another hashtag.

And it continues.

I think it’s wonderful that George wrote the original blog post and that Sylvia drew a sketchnote of the content.  What’s fascinating is how the message changes as good intentioned people try to spread the message.  Dare I say go viral?

Fortunately, Sylvia did sign her original work and give credit to George’s original post in the image itself.  That part doesn’t go away, if people care to look for it.

But the whole thing makes me smile when I think back to elementary school.  I wonder.  How many good Twitter messages have lost their original intent or gained other content by our desire to share and the Twitter limits of 140 characters per message?  Like my good teacher-librarian friends would say – on the internet, you need to be a sleuth, not take things necessarily for face value, and trace back to the source wherever possible.

That’s always a good message to remember.


2 responses to “How a Message Changes”

  1. Very interesting read, Doug, thanks for this! You’re quite right, the tweet went viral, thanks to you and others who retweeted it (@gcouros – 68,000 followers). I actually started to feel kinda bad for the people I mentioned in the original tweet because I assume that their Twitter inbox was barraged for a few hours (for example, you!) It lead me to discover also that when a tweet goes viral like that, you tend to miss tweets that people send you. Prime example, I completely missed this post! So I realize now that when people with tons of followers don’t respond to a tweet I send them, it’s likely because they never saw it (therefore not to be taken personally!) Most effective way to get someone’s attention is to DM them (assuming they follow you back).

    Thanks for all of your support in my sketchnoting journey. It has been quite a trip!



  2. […] How a Message Changes | doug — off the record […]


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