Monday, April 6, 2009

Are You a Social Media Snob: My Response

First of all I must say that I never thought that my post would get picked up the way it did. I am absolutely floored by the tremendous conversation that has taken place in the past week over my post, "Are You a Social Media Snob if You Do Not Follow Many People on Twitter." I really enjoyed reading the views of everyone who commented on the post. I especially would like to thank the folks that were mentioned in the post that took the time to leave a comment (Dean Shareski, Lee Kolbert, Vicki Davis, Liz Davis, Kevin Jarrett (you are not the first to tell me I'm all wet ;-)), Lucy Gray, and Mike Sansone).

I found some interesting threads in the conversations that took place in the comments and would like to elaborate on the following:

  1. Twitter should be used as each person wants to use it.
  2. Most educators tend to follow others.
  3. I'm not calling anyone a snob.
Probably the most echoed comment was that Twitter, like any other tool, should be able to be used as any individual sees fit. I couldn't agree with this more. I didn't write this post with the intent to create a set of rules that I felt educators (or anyone else) should follow when it comes to who they follow on Twitter. I feel that you get out of Twitter what you put into it. The more people you include in your professional learning community the more info you'll get from it. The more you contribute and help others the more will help you. It really is a matter of you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

Between what I posted in this post and "My Twitter Evolution" post I've made it pretty clear how I follow people on Twitter. I will follow most people who follow me on Twitter except for:
  • Bots
  • Marketers
  • Spammers
  • People who use offensive language (I read this at school too)
  • People in the adult entertainment industry
I have found some folks get a little annoying with too many posts that are not what I'm looking to read. I love Vicki Davis' idea of taking a "tweetcation" from them for a while.

The ability to personalize my use of Twitter is a big part of the draw for me. I don't mind some posts about people's personal lives because it helps me get to know them as an individual - not just professionally.

I hope that no one on the list felt that I was calling them a snob (despite the title of the post). I must say that the two individuals at the top of the list have contributed greatly to my work. I remember the first time I saw David Warlick speak at the Christa McAuliffe conference in 2004. I quickly ordered his "Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century" book as well as some his other works over the past few years. I have used (and suggested to many other educators) several of his resources on the web. I don't know of anyone in the edtech community that gives as much for free. His blog, podcast, and vast array of web resources demonstrates his dedication to the edtech community. I have also had the privilege to see Will Richardson present on multiple occasions. David and Will are the first two individuals I started following when I first set up my Bloglines account several years ago. I have really enjoyed reading their thoughts and stories over the years. If you haven't read Will's book, "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms" you really should give it a look.

Despite my high level of respect for these two individuals I really find their Twitter numbers confusing. They both are champions of professional learning networks and demonstrate Twitter to thousands of educators every year but follow very few people. I think I mostly agree with Lucy Gray's comment,
"I guess I shouldn't be judgmental about other Twitterers (who really knows their circumstances and motives), but I am somewhat. I do think that if people are in the public eye with this stuff and are already tweeting, they should consider how they are staying in touch with the people that admire their work. We all should be learning from each other!"
I don't have a problem with the fact that neither of them follow me (there are plenty of people out there that contribute more to Twitter than I do). I just question why they follow so few. As I mentioned above, I don't believe there should be "rules" to Twitter use so I'll just chalk it up to them both using the tool as they see best.

Thanks again to eveyone in my professional learning network for making this conversation so rich.

No comments: