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!