Choose your friends wisely

I had two conversations and an article I read this weekend to inspire this post.

One conversation was with a person that I followed on Twitter years ago.  We were talking about the good old days and his lack of presence on the social media platform today.  He had an interesting perspective – many of the original adopters are no longer using this as the connected platform.  And, the newer users have taken on a different tack.  While the originals were interested in sharing their research and their thoughts, his impression was that newer people were using it differently.  It’s more used for self-promotion and simply retweeting articles to support a narrow focus.  In this particular case, the person had decided to withdraw from the service completely and felt badly that he was cocooning in his classroom.  He felt that his learning time was wasted.

Then, there was the second conversation.  It was all about the frustration of seeing some people just focussing on their own self-promotion.  All the posts were about “I I I or me me me”.  There was no evidence of research or helping the educational community grow; it was all about “Buy my book” or “Hire me”.  And, of course, the occasional selfie to accompany the conversation.  It was noted that the message would be more powerful if it came from other people but it all seemed to only originate from these individuals.  A person new to the media would just parachute into the middle of it.

So, I listened to these conversations and could understand their frustrations.  For me, the solution would be a simple technical one.  Just unfollow or mute the individuals and you’ll never be affected again.  I think it was Archie Bunker who said “I’ve got lots of friends and I’m going to get me some more” or something like that.  Please fact check me if I’m wrong.  What’s wrong with surrounding yourself with the right people?

The counter to that made a great deal of sense.  There are many people who are just starting to get involved with social media and an attempt to learn and grow through social communities.  What if they make the wrong choice – follow these self-made rock stars – and think that that is what it’s all about?  They’ll never get to enjoy the learning and thinking of others and simply take the one source.  And, with that being modelled, that’s how they think that it works.

These were two very interesting conversations.

Finally, the article addressed it all.  It was shared by Shelly Sanchez Terrell who will be keynoting the Bring IT, Together conference later this week.

The Trouble With Twitter in Education

I would encourage you to read the article and the observations in it.  I especially liked the conclusion and the thoughts about modelling digital literacy.  As you read the posts from others, just ask yourself.  What exactly are they modelling?  If they’re doing it online, do they do it in the classroom as well?  And, then look inwardly.  What are you modelling?  Are you happy with it?

And maybe the best advice came from a superintendent from a few years ago – “Choose your friends wisely”.  View their efforts with a critical lens – is your precious learning time worth the wasted time it takes to put up with the nonsense?

One thought on “Choose your friends wisely

  1. I like the phrase “joining the conversation” in that article. It’s not simply “begin broadcasting”. Whether you write something yourself or engage with someone else’s thinking, the conversation is the most valuable structure we have.

    One thing I’m careful about is blind retweeting. I don’t retweet or otherwise promote articles that I haven’t read. Sharing something that has a catchy title without reading through it might inadvertently give a bigger platform to the self-promoters out there.

    Thanks Doug – nice, meaty topic!

    Like

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