Social Media, Twitter and the need for networked support – how far does our support really go?

Look at the “Seven Degrees of Connectedness” and think about how you nurture, support, and develop relationships on line, professionally and even personally. Do you have a close circle, a clique, a group of educators that you depend on – those in Stage 6 or 7? Do you have colleagues that work in your school, your district, your city – that you empower or that empower you? Do you have their back when they mess up, or need a pat on the shoulder, or need a word of praise here and there? Do you have the strength to DM them a concern? What would you do if you noticed they made an offensive remark? Are you prepared to have that “difficult conversation”? Do you do it in private? In public? Do you Unfollow them? DM them?

For many of us, Social Networking has changed the way we work, relate, share, create and learn.  Just think, throughout history, innovators have created so many different avenues and channels to share and communicate and strengthen relationships at many levels – some very surface and others very intense and deep – even life changing. What about the printing press? The mail system? The phone, radio, television?  In so many ways, the transparent nature of all of these tools makes us all so vulnerable, which is why we depend on our relationships and our trust in others to help us do the right thing and be the best we can be. We want to encourage risk taking so it will lead to new innovations, new thinking, new perspectives. But, with each of these channels comes a risk. Risk of error, risk of misinformation, risk of misinterpretation, risk of bias, risk of judgement. Even risk of friendship or something deeper.

Online tools, like Twitter or Facebook also pose a risk. We know this. Have you ever said something “in the heat of the moment?” that should have been kept private?Have you ever deleted a Tweet?

Sometimes we are just learning, and along the way, we make mistakes.  When I first started on Twitter, about four years ago, I had no idea that I was “Tweeting” with location settings “ON” until @dougpete sent me a friendly DM suggesting that I take it off since he could see exactly where I live. Not a good idea.  Another time I tweeted out comment that wasn’t all that appropriate during a live debate (political) and again, received a DM from an online colleague who simply reminded me “Zoe…you have a very public audience here”. Once, I even Tweeted out my home phone number in the public stream, instead of the intended DM.  Again, an online colleague, one whose relationship and trust was built over time, sent me a little note, “Zoe, delete the last tweet”.

Whatever the channel or method, face-to-Face or online, the way we nurture and respond to relationships depends on the level of trust we have. Even in a public stream like twitter, there will always be a circle of colleagues and friends (STAGE 7) that will protect, support, guide, teach and nurture one another.  So ask yourself,

Where do my colleagues fit in the framework?
Where do I fit in the framework?
How will I respond to a Tweet that offends me?
Do I DM an online colleague to help or offer advice?
Do I make public a concern or do I DM a concern?
Do I have people to count on, in the stream, like in the Face to Face world?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My Footprints


“There’s something happening here…. What it is ain’t exactly clear” – Buffalo Springfield

Social Media has become an important part of my life.  I probably spend  more time having conversations, discussions and collaboration  with people online then I do face to face. My Digital Footprints come from a variety of social networking sites – all tell you something about me.  You don’t need to be a profiler to know what music I like or where I enjoy spending my off hours.  It is my intention to have a digital footprint that demonstrates my core values -That I am a strong believer in social justice issues, that my family comes first, that I love teaching and sharing. It is my intention to leave my own legacy – one that depicts a person that fights for what is right, a person that believes in sharing, and commitment to a cause. Last week @dougpete (Doug Peterson) wrote a blog that prompted me to reflect on my own Digital Footprint. When it started, Why it Started, How it impacted me?

IMG_1451I use twitter as my news and information aggregate, and to converse with and from people around the world.  I use Skype to connect and talk at a more personal level with colleagues, friends and family. Google Voice to make my long distance phone calls, Facebook to connect at a more personal level with friends and family, Diggo for group bookmarking, blogging to express my own reflections and ideas about the changing nature of education, Wikis to collaborate and share, Nings to facilitate my online courses, Elluminate to learn and share,  Flikr to display my pictures, Delicious to share my bookmarks,  blipfm to share my music, Google Docs to collaborate and share documents….and on, and on, and on…..

Don’t misunderstand who I am. I would prefer face to face connections 98% of the time. My online digital life however,  has opened up many opportunities. I attribute many of my successes to my PLN (Professional Learning Network). I have developed friendships across the globe – with people whom I share my visions and passions about education, about music, about social justice and about our environment.  I feel so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most innovative and forward thinking educators.

Am I concerned about leaving a footprint that can never be erased?  Not for a second.  In fact, the impression that anyone leaves – especially, face to face can have impressions that last forever. Whether it be online, or in person,  I have made a choice to uphold a certain standard.  My choice of blogs, music, friends, bookmarks, collaborators, twitterers, are all guided by these standards.

Do I stop behaving a certain way when I am not online? The day that I chose to be an educator was the day that I knew that no matter where I am – I have ethical standards to model and uphold. That is my choice.

Have you thought about your DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS? Have you thought about your  CARBON FOOTPRINT? Have you thought about your FACE TO FACE footprint?

A few resources that I’ve collected along the way thanks to many of you out there:

Track your digital footprint:

“Oh, no , when did I do this?”

What’s a Digital Footprint and why would you want one?


Online identity:

Guidelines for teachers using social networking sites:

Teachers Beware of your digital footprint:

Digital Footprint- Your Online Data Trail:

My Digital Footprint:

My FootprintSD – A talke of Two footprints – for students.

What no footprint?

Superintendent reacts to teacher Facebook pages

Print Friendly, PDF & Email