What Twitter has taught me

I’m an unapologetic fan of Twitter, with all the zeal of the new convert.

My habit developed under my real name, a rich mix of news, journals, science, music, tech. I’m an eclecticist, and Twitter slowly, but completely supplanted my other social networks.

I made the switch to almost entirely professional use about 2 weeks ago, at the same time that this blog started. This has been a revelation. Finding that there are others, articulating many of my own thoughts, my frustrations. And doing it it more eloquently than I could.

Among the people that I follow are many who represent what I would once have considered the ‘enemy’. However, I have grown to believe that bipartisan approaches along dogmatic political lines do everyone a disservice. My values are firmly based on concepts of fairness, equality of opportunity, but I think the present calls for a dramatic overhaul of how we ‘do’ democracy. I’m learning to accept that there will always be ‘enemies’, but we still have to coexist and the obfusquation that passes for the decision making process is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

I’m no intereb noob, though. In the old days, I loved a forum flame war as much as the next person. Ultimately, though, forums are generally closed communities. I have come to love Twitter because of the sheer mass of potential – one person tweets and that tweet could end up pretty much anywhere. I get a buzz from that.

Twitter has taught me to approach my words with due caution to impact, but it has also taught me to be less precious about my words. Each tweet is a seed in the wind, that may or may not plant. I have no idea whether the majority of my tweets are even consciously registered. but despite the high wastage (for those of us with ‘normal’ numbers of followers, distinctly not hanging on our every word), the seeds that do land can be pretty high yield.

This post is tagged ‘blather’. I’ve had a very relaxed Friday evening, and I’m feeling fired up and ready to change the world. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has dropped by for a read over the past couple of weeks. I’m vain enough to be interested in my blog stats, so I know there are people reading, in places as diverse as Britain, Bahrain and Brunei. That’s pretty cool.

Humbly, Iorek

3 responses to “What Twitter has taught me

  1. A thoughtful post Iorek.

    A few quick question-why do you post under a Nom de plume?

    Could you explain what you call ‘normal’ amount of followers? 100? 1000?

    What was the moment when you decided Twitter was just for your ‘professional’ development?

    For me it was a conference & meeting educators who used twitter this way-it opened my eyes!

    Keep up the great work & I look forward to reading more insightful posts.


  2. Thanks for your comments, Julian.
    There are several reasons I post under a pseudonym. The main one is actually to preserve the anonymity of my own children; I’m interested in digital identity, but wanted to be able to draw on parent-type experiences without creating an unasked-for digital legacy for my boys.

    The second reason is professional. I hope that the overall tone of this blog is positive. That said, like most teachers, it is the state of play in my own school that contributes most strongly to my picture of what is going on in education. I want to be able to draw honestly upon that. I work at a great school, but it could be so much better. Anonymity lends me a certain amount of latitude; my anonymity is theirs. I don’t think that being anonymous should make any difference to the normal rules of netiquette.

    Thirdly, I’ve never been anonymous on the net. That’s 20 years (nearly!) of online activity under my real name. I declared 2013 my year of thinking differently, and I meant it! I am, quite literally, challenging myself to a approach everything I do in a different way, as an antidote to stale thinking.

    When I spoke of normal amounts of followers, I was meaning those of us who count our followers in the tens and hundreds, as opposed to the kind of tweeters who can get 100 retweets through the 140 character equivalent of farting in a jar… people like Ricky Gervais!

    There wasn’t a Eureka moment, as such; there were lots of education folks in my ‘other’ feed, and it slowly became clear that there was a brilliant professional discourse going on. The title of my blog is ironic; I wanted in on that conversation. We now have the power to influence thinking beyond our own schools; I think that’s magic. Everything that has happened since that decision, has acted to vindicate it.

    I’d love to hear your own thoughts on any of these. Again, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot.

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