For those of you who know me, you are acutely aware how much I have recently started sharing my thoughts on teaching, ed-tech, positivity and life in general through social media. I started a blog called Tech Tuesdays to share tips with my colleagues. I cleaned up my twitter account and started suggesting official school hashtags. I’m now active on Google Plus (Yes that’s still a thing) and I have decided I need to massively upgrade my blog. On top of that I still have a personal Facebook page that I use to connect with friends and family. Here is where many of you loyal readers (all 3 of you!) will start to ask…
And not just why do all of this to begin with, But why would I spend so much TIME doing this (I know some of you are thinking it – WASTING my time doing this). It’s a valid question. We all need balance in life (a blog post for the future). Let me discuss two recent social media news items:
1. Recently Twitter trended the hashtag #Describetwitterin3words. The responses varied from the super positive to the super negative and everything in between. You can check it out yourself
2. The interim CEO of Reddit just resigned and, story aside, one of her quotes really struck me: “In my eight months as Reddit’s CEO, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly on Reddit, The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity.”
Why point out these stories? Because there is tons and tons (and tons) of mundane crap on the internet. Worse yet, there is a lot that’s downright horrible. This, my friends, is called humanity.
You can’t pick your family or your coworkers. You are stuck with them for better or for worse. You CAN pick who you interact with online. There’s also no obligation – pick it up when you want.
I’ve heard so many people tell me that they just don’t get it. They just don’t understand the appeal of going online and reading about people, “Doing their laundry” or “Brushing their teeth”… Why is it they always cite household chores??
Here’s the deal – there’s a massive stereotype about social media. It’s for teens. It’s self-indulgent and narcissistic. It’s encouraging kids to be bullies. It’s a government conspiracy to track all of us and sell us more crap…. on and on.
Now, there’s an ounce of truth to some of those. Here’s the paradox I can’t get over. If those ideas bother you then you should do something about it! Choose to use social media to connect with other educators. Choose to use social media to teach your students. Choose to use social media to spread positive vibes and model decent digital citizenship for the next generation. It is NOT all stupid human tricks and funny dog videos (but hey, that’s fun too). Do you like to write? Start blogging. Twitter CAN be a form of writing. There are tons of naysayers, but you are telling a story when you post online. We desperately need quality passionate people to add to the digital world. Moreover, your kids will be on there whether you like it or not. Wouldn’t you rather have a firsthand understanding of the best way to utilize this tool so that you can teach the next generation? Don’t sit back and complain about the negative impact social media is having on society. As educators we not only have the opportunity to impact change in this area but I believe we have a moral obligation to do so.
I’m a big believer that you have a choice in all things. You have a choice to be happy. It’s not a state that you arrive at. You have a choice to complain or to be positive. You have a choice to use social media for good.
Here’s the rub – most of you reading this already know this. So I’m issuing a challenge to you:
Make it a goal this coming year to get 1 unconnected educator online. Don’t worry when people sarcastically ask if you are going to tweet from the meeting you are in (because you probably are). Flood the online world with so much positivity that the next generation won’t tolerate the bullies, the flamers and the trolls. You have a choice.
2 thoughts on “Happiness is a choice. So is social media.”
I honestly thought twitter was the most ridiculous idea ever….after multiple failed attempts at finding a use for twitter…I went to a silly little workshop that completely changed my view…and now I see twitter as a tool to connect with others in the simplest way possible. I love twitter for it’s simplicity yet infinite possibilities to connect and expresss myself. “Everythjng should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. -Albert Einstein Thanks for another great blog entry!
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I’ve flip-flopped between using social media in my sixth grade classroom. I’m one of those who doesn’t want to read about someone’s laundry or brushing teeth or especially complaints about our school. I’m looked at like some kind of freak because I won’t accept a friend request on Facebook from anyone I see everyday at school. I have a personal blog and a recipe blog. Both blogs are by invitation only. My introverted personality has a lot to do with this. Blogging sometimes does appear narcissistic, but I see the benefits of writing and sharing ideas with others even if mine is shared with family and a few close friends. My husband quotes Doug from King of Queens, “closing the dome” whenever I deny a request. I’m tempted to “open the dome” often, but honestly, as far as Facebook or my personal blog goes, I’m never glad I did.
Twitter is another thing. I have a better hold on interacting with those I choose. Ideas and information I’ve gained from Twitter have been invaluable. Other than the occasional off topic tweet during a chat, I’m thrilled.
You’ve cause me to think. As educators we do have a responsibility to model positive use of social media. We do need to be teaching the next generation how to utilize this tool for the good of society. I’ve been seriously debating opening my school Facebook page again simply because that is the only way I can reach some parents with information. You post has helped my decision. I’m opening the dome. 🙂 I’d love to hear any advice you have on the topic.