Who Gets Noticed? Telling? Or Not So Much? You Decide

A few weeks ago I noted to a local education reporter here that their Twitter follows included basically zero (or only VERY few) educators – almost all politicians and other media people and  neo-reformers (Rhee, Broad, Students First, etc.). To their credit they not only acknowledged that, but followed me and then asked me for other educators to follow, which I obliged (although I did promise more which I’ll have to follow up on – Geez!)

That leads to today when, as I was cooking dinner, I noted through another media person I follow,  that a very high state education official was on Twitter. I clicked on who they follow and noted … wait for it … that they followed basically zero educators – mostly politicians and media people. Now this person has been on Twitter for like 2 weeks or so and perhaps doesn’t get the 2 way street that is Twitter (well or their PR person doesn’t), but for someone in charge of setting education policy … it does raise my eyebrows a bit.

Next I started checking various school board members, school administrators that have Twitter accounts, and state “education reporters” from media outlets. Guess what I found? … Yep about the same story. Mostly (really almost ONLY) followed other media types, politicians, the neo-reformers (not sure they understand or care the issues there), and various others, but almost no, or literally no actual educators.

Now to be fair, I’m not saying its a conspiracy to keep teachers down (mostly, :) ), but I do think it shows a basic … um .. “unawareness”, …. a not even thinking about getting a balance or inputs. Also, it takes some time to search around and find people (in this case educators) on Twitter, but still … really?

I think mostly it demonstrates how many get a Twitter (or other social presence on the web) because “you’re supposed to,” without understanding how its supposed to work … that its actually supposed to be a 2 way street … you’re supposed to read the Tweets of those you’re connected with, and learn from them, and interact with them too. Just sending out your thoughts to seem “connected” is actually pretty (actually, very) lame … really like using everyone else. It’s condescending really … we should hang on every one of your Tweets (thank you, thank you, thank you!) but you don’t have time to interact with ours (I’m looking at you @arneduncan – but also many others).

Again, I’m not surprised by this … I just think, maybe, it is a part of what the media and others don’t get about what teachers / educators see as a deck stacked against them when it comes to coverage of education issues. Those with money, power and a high media presence (see above) get their views reported … others … not so much.

Learning is messy!

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4 Responses to Who Gets Noticed? Telling? Or Not So Much? You Decide

  1. Scott McLeod says:

    I think this is a fascinating observation, Brian, one that I hadn’t really thought about before. Thanks for sparking my thinking in a new direction. I may have to do some more investigation on this front!

    From Brian – Hi Scott – let me know what you find out! Maybe it’s just the folks I checked. Also not sure it’s an especially important finding. If what I noted is true in general … does that really influence opinions/policy?

  2. I follow almost every educator who identifies themselves as such. I don’t include educators who use their tweet stream to only push their entrepreneurial pursuits. So, that means I have over 5,000 people I follow. Obviously it is impossible to engage with twice the population of my home town, I really only engage regularly with a handful.

    That being said, I do try to respond to everyone that tries to engage me. I don’t want to ignore anyone because I know how that feels, especially on a ‘social network’. I also ‘broadcast’ things that are not directed to anyone specifically because I often find people respond who I don’t often have conversations with.

    People that use Twitter as only a broadcast without thinking of it as a conversation starter are extremely frustrating. To talk to someone face to face and they ignore you completely is extremely rude, doing it on a social network is just as rude. Isn’t that why we are there?

    From Brian – And, you are not on Twitter just to have a presence online to seem “with it”.

  3. You know, I always wonder how much of this is just due to intellectual curiosity. I just did a simply Google search on how to use twitter in education and the search results were what I’d hope people would find.
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+use+Twitter+in+education

    The thing is, they don’t even bother looking and learning.

  4. Glenn says:

    This reminds me of the screen shot that popped up in my feed the last three weeks of a “21st century professional development team” who was teaching a school wide all day pd session on “21st century skills” whose followed less than 20 people on twitter and had less than 50 follows back.

    Clearly they were leveraging technology to the benefit of everyone?

    Maybe your post and feedback to the report is why a certain local education news reporter started following me a couple of weeks ago. Inquiring minds want to know!

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