This post is reactionary. No offence, none taken. Its about why I don’t Twork and why you should consider both avoiding it — and be aware of people who do. I think they used to call it Twittetiquette or something. I’m going with “Don’t be a twork”.
One of my all time favourite posts is Alan Lavines “fear of a Googled past“. It’s followed closely by Endorse is the new like. I think Alan’s blog is my go to place. For me, Alan has an enviable balance of creativity, hardcore tech skills, insight and humour. I know that sounds like a suck-up, but seriously, he practically invented the Internet as far as teaching goes — and remains true to the ‘open and non commercial’ agenda that was so attractive to many people ‘back in the day’.
I never feared posting things online. I don’t Twork (Tweeting about work or colleagues) and what I’ve posted I stand by — and on balance I think it’s helped people make a jump, try a new thing or consider an alternative view (even if it’s counter to their own or deliberately inciting).
Twitter today isn’t simply about content or sharing — it encompasses power relations which each person is left to mediate. In the literature we’re talking about patient zero (you) when it comes to knowing what this means.
All I can offer is how I see it now — by thinking about how it was then. I believe you can and should connect, collaborate and share — but do it in a way that doesn’t cloud your ‘human’ side as the cyborg takes over and attack someone because you can – no offence.
In the grand tradition of lists posts — here are 7 things I think are important.
- Don’t assume that people who seem ‘usually’ positive are not attempting to manipulate you. If they are not lashing out at something, then they may already by cyborgs. [Personally, I'd keep well away from the happy-clappers with their motivational posters].
- I don’t advocate following anyone. I support the idea you need to find a diverse number of people to follow. [I don't actually know who follows me, I pay no attention to it, but I'm aware some people fixate on it. I don't have time and unless you can time travel, don't get addicted to 'the feed'].
- Following hashtags and topics such as #gbl and #minecraft so that you get a diverse taste of opinion (positive and negative). Don’t just follow #edu or your discipline.
- From your hashtag observations, create new lists which are meaningful to you.
- Mediate your own consumption using your lists. Here’s the thing – don’t tune in to the happy-clapper channel everyday. Live dangerously … spend time looking at what the opposites are, what the counter-narrative is saying and find new groups. For example if you’re in education and not following startups — then you’re missing out on what will come next.
- Consider why people are positive or negative (at that moment in time) — what is it they want?, what is it the fear?, why are they saying this? and why now? This is help protect you from being sold to as well as getting too wound up about one issue. The world is full of issues — head in the sand doesn’t work for those who most need you to pay attention. Of course you can — but I tend to pay attention to the rebels, especially the ones who do it for the love of it.
- Think before you endorse any Tweet with a re-tweet. If you appreciate a link, a joke, an observation — anything — just FAVOURITE it. The author knows about it, you did the hat-tip, it’s all you need to do.
I don’t Twork. I never Tweet about they thing I do at work, nor the people at work who I work with. I may talk to people I work with, but that is entirely social – hey @edugnome!. I don’t spy on workmates, I don’t follow people based on work-status and in fact in all the places I’ve worked, most have no interest in using it, and I’m not interested in Tworking about them. I don’t Twork in a manner that suggests I am some always positive rock of authority to impress customers, or to be a banner-man for the organisation. It’s part of not fearing my Googled past and having a clean feed – which takes in much more than ‘good times’ users.