I’m dirty on Twitter fame. Not because Twitter allows us mere mortals to gaze upon those in society whom are influential or popular with ease, but because Twitter fame for some seems a goal. Twitter famous is not fame, it is recognition of what some are calling the ‘branded worker’. I do like to be entertained by the famous – and some of them apply their craft well in 140 characters – people like Scott Westerfied, Clarkson and so on. Almost all of them didn’t become ‘famous’ because of Twitter, they remain famous in spite of it.
The idea being that if every workplace had a “insert name” blah … to me, is a simplistic if/then argument which is not true, but convenient and expected in Twitter-ism. So much so, there are endless blogs telling n00bs how to write the perfect Tweet. I once Tweeted about a post about a perfect Tweet and people moaned as the Tweet was a lie. Sucked in we are.
Influence is also interesting as Facebook tells advertisers that this is the highest goal in marketing your brand and goods. It’s well known to direct marketing of course – as repeated messages appealing to our emotional intelligence is the fastest way to changing our behaviour towards their goal. It worked before the Internet and it works even better with it.
Therefore, unless there is some sort of substance – by which I mean evidence to back up what 140 character demigods say, to me it’s just direct marketing. This takes a great deal of time to filter out, as people endlessly tweet about how their books being blogged about (usually by people they know or can heavily influence) or next so called ‘course’ in which everyone will trancend the ordinary teacher and become – an influencer.
See the pattern? Dear Twitter famous educators. The goal is not to have influence (followers, attendees and bookings in your dime-museum) it is to report on your influence in the classroom).
I don’t have a classroom, so I have no influence, just opinion. The thing about getting teachers online is not to ‘build audience’ – another gem from Facebook – it is to report on practice. 140 characters is not going to do this, nor is sticking to the stupid rules ‘pro-bloggers’ invent about what is the optimal length of a post.
We know from research that what influences teacher day to day practices are models and examples which they believe are similar to themselves – and which are supported and maintained by the over-arching organisational structure – were they feel secure in their employment and feel a sense of success over long periods of time. Is this how going to work feels? Is this what the government and hierarchies wants right now? If so, they have a bizarre way of showing it – as they too seem to preference media-influencing people though arguments which seek to create moral panic among teachers, support staff, students and parents. They then cite a lack of [effort, loyality, progressivism] as justification of reducing staff and conditions as THEY choose to remove billions of dollars from education. And they wonder why people stop giving a shit about the organisation. The classroom teacher is the only thing between my kids and youth unemployment as far as I can tell – Christopher Pyne knows as much about education as any NPC in a video games (in my view on my blog).
It seems to me, with lack of social-political vision and growing evidence that the mining boom, which has benefitted a few already rich and influential people, is slowing – and one way to keep the profit line positive is to convince all of society to do more with less – and in that, less is more. Hence 140 characters is more influential than a paper or ‘ordinary’ teacher’s blog post.
It appears to me that this is the very thing that the Twitter famous experts of Web2.0 need to un-convince people that this still matters of in order to sell their particular services – which like mining profits are in decay. Web2.0 is an old idea, useful at a time before a mobile phone was more powerful than a laptop. The S-curve of progress dictates that this is no longer remarkable, let alone essential or ‘new’. Anyone who stands on a stage today showing tools and telling teachers to get on Twitter is the equivalent of a bus-boy in my view. A relic of the the first decade of the 20th Century.
The talks I pay attention to are the ones who are looking for truth between what was once accepted as true (mostly theories and models 50+ years old now) and what might be true (technologies that people are experimenting with and reporting on). Where I tune out is where people with no personal story stand on stages and either recount a powerpoint they’ve been peddling for a decade in one form or another or present one thing and argue it represents something else- which at best is the worst lecture-model possible.
Save time and money – buy my book.