Sometimes I wonder, there is a lot of content that gets repeated, retweeted, and passed around, but how much of it is actually read? Milton Ramirez’s tweet got me thinking (because I do try to reflect):
I’m sure any marketer or business person could tell you how wonderful Twitter and social media have been for their website traffic and ad revenue, but what should teachers care about traffic? Sure, it’s interesting (and even useful depending upon your role) to know who visits your website or blog, but those data don’t provide much value in and of themselves.
I’m wondering how much window-dressing is going on through social media. I consider myself very active. On a scale of 1-to-10, where 10 is the most active one can be healthfully online, I’d rank myself at an 8 or 9 on most days. The truth is, I’ve always been addicted to social interaction, feedback, and connecting with other people. They are what keep me fueled and on fire for life. What can be dangerous is when you lose yourself in something like that.
Twitter provides a rush of information and interaction like being in a big conference hall where anyone (experts and ed celebs included) can be reached. You get a nice little chill the first time you get “RT’d” and someone repeats the same message you sent out into the blue. The echo can make you feel validated, your name is stamped on it, others can see it, and it’s really real. However, the drive for building a following loses all value and authenticity if it is one based on numbers rather than people. If you just search for “social media expert” on Google, you’ll find a list of results amassed with keyword flailing marketers bound and determined to optimize themselves for search.
Teachers: we have to be different. We aren’t selling anything, not seeking “followers” but collaborators and fellow learners. Twitter can’t work if you try to make it about you. It must be about US. Soren Gordhammer of Mashable says in his post Zen and the Art of Twitter, “Give what you want to receive.” The simple advice for those who seek encouragement is to offer it rather than beg for it. The same is true of attention.