This summer I have become a Twitter fan and have used it as my primary source for connecting with others and learning new information. I have only now realized how interwoven Twitter is with digital communication. The other night during a Twitter discussion, someone noted how we mostly pat ourselves on the backs, share our ideas and agree with each other. I noticed how many people, including myself repeated what someone else had previously said and began to wonder were we becoming a 'Twitter Borg". I have also begun planning on how to use this tool for the benefit of my school as an administrator.
However, we live in a world where everything should not be shared with everyone and the attempt to share digitally can sometimes leave room for massive misinterpretations. Have you ever been in a public forum and heard someone say something and thought to yourself "Do they know we can hear them?" Perhaps you have read something and your interpretation caused you take on an emotional swell of feelings towards a person or a group. The fear of all large groups is that someone in the group will say something that grossly misrepresents the core beliefs or values of the whole group causing backlash for everyone related to this person. Retracing and repairing such mistakes would be time consuming at the least and job threatening at the greatest. Although training is always necessary, it often takes a back seat to emotions. When this happens there will be many questions to answer.
As a leader the questions I address to myself before having to address them with anyone else are:
1. How did this happen? (What are the origins of this mistake?)
2. What did you do when you discovered this?
3. What fail safes were in place to prevent this?
4. How do you plan on preventing it (or similar situations) from happening again?
When I look at those questions I am uncomfortable at hosting school wide PD or meetings on an open source such as Twitter because of the lack of ability to edit tweets if and when the need arises. This may seem like censorship to many but it is part of my job to protect students from anything that could distract them from being successful learners. (A poorly chosen word or phrase can grow into a beastly distraction for a school and / or a school district) Secondly, the community holds me responsible for what comes through the school and to the public because it represents their shared beliefs.
This fall I will begin using Twitter for sharing information with the community and I will continue using Twitter personally to learn and share.
As for me and my school I will continue my quest for an in-house collaboration tool that allows me to control who sees what information with the ability to edit in real time.
For others, I challenge you to be open to all options and/or looking at ways to make Twitter even more conducive to our needs as educators.