Shameless Self-Promotion in Education’s Social Media Spaces

Poking through my feed reader last weekend, I stumbled across a provocative Chris Wejr bit questioning whether or not social spaces were becoming nothing more than online popularity contests where people spend more time pimping their own ideas than they do listening to — and learning with — others. 

He writes:

I wonder the point at which social media becomes more about marketing
the user than about the learning that can result from using it to
connect with others. 

We often hide behind the idea that “the intent is
good and we are sharing good stories of education” when we participate
and promote education and social media awards and “top” Twitter lists.
 

Do we really need these awards to share stories if social media is
already about sharing good stories?

In a lot of ways, Chris is right, isn't he? 

While blogs and Twitter and Facebook are SUPPOSED to be "social spaces," there's definitely a TON of broadcasting — pushing out ideas to nameless, faceless hordes — going on. "Having followers" has become WAY more important than "finding co-learners" to FAR too many people.

But I think I understand the obsession with digital bling in education's social spaces, y'all.

We work in a nameless, faceless profession where there are few — if any — real opportunities to be recognized as individuals for what we know and can do. 

Even in our own workrooms, we've clung to the notion that every teacher and every lesson is equal and, all-too-often, we've created workplaces where accomplished individuals are shamed for daring to step beyond the group.

I'll never forget how embarrassed I was to win a Regional Teacher of the Year award here in North Carolina a few years back — an honor presented at an surprise all-school assembly. 

Weird reaction, isn't it? 

At a moment when I should have been full of pride, I worried first about what my peers would think.

Perhaps more importantly, we work in a nameless, faceless profession where it's REALLY hard to make enough money to actually support a family. 

The VAST majority of full-time teachers that I know have to work part-time jobs just to make ends meet.  The rest married people who are paid really well, live lives well below their similarly educated peers or decided to stay single for as long as possible.  The sad truth is that teaching is still seen by the those who pay our salaries as a "nice second income" instead of as a profession for breadwinners. 

Can we REALLY be surprised, then, when teachers feed off of the rush that comes from recognition or readily embrace the chance to market themselves to audiences as experts with skills that just might be worth paying for? 

Don't get me wrong: I think piling up followers rather than building networks — broadcasting instead of listening to others — is a failed strategy, for lack of a better term. 

The REAL power in social spaces is found in the relationships that you develop with the people that you're learning from — not the voice that it gives you. 

And the people in your network are far less likely to offer you help — to challenge your thinking, to celebrate your content, to point you to new resources that align with your work — when they feel like you are doing nothing other than using social spaces to push your greatness.

But aren't those self-promoting behaviors just another condemnation of a flawed profession rather than a condemnation of flawed professionals?

#interestingquestions

#noeasyanswers

________________________________________

Related Radical Reads:

Twitter Snobs or Efficient Learners

The Self Promoting Teacher

Lesson Learned – Influence is Personal

 

 

 

36 thoughts on “Shameless Self-Promotion in Education’s Social Media Spaces

  1. Zhuoannaedm310.blogspot.com

    Hi Mr. Bill Ferriter,
    My name is Anna Zhuo and I’m a student in EDM310 at the University of Alabama. I am currently a pre-service teacher. I commented on another post of yours that provided a lot of helpful information that will assist me in my future career path.
    I started using Twitter in order to expand my personal learning network and for other educational purposes. I get really excited when there are educators who decided to follow me, and I’m glad to follow them back. You see, for me it’s not about popularity. I recognize the person’s work and I learned a lot from them. I decide to follow them because of the information, resources and other useful tips and suggestions they provide that can help or assist me as a future educator. I can learn from them. I also follow them because they are educators. I respect educators a lot because they are not as recognized as they should be.
    As for me, I take pride when educators follow me. I’m just a student, trying to become a future educator. I’m nameless and just another person on the planet. Why would they want to follow me? I think it’s because I post useful & beneficial information and resources that can help them learn about a specific thing. I take pride, not because of popularity, but because I able to help someone out there in the world. Popularity contest or not, it helps bring out the educators who are looked over, unseen or unrecognized.
    Thank you for this post! All the comments are helpful as well.
    Regards,
    Anna Zhuo

  2. Bill Ferriter

    Joe wrote:
    Its oftentimes hard to keep up with all of the thank yous and
    comments but this what will continue to keep our shared edu-space a
    healthy and growing environment.
    – – – – – – –
    I think this is a super important point, Joe: If we want our social learning spaces to be as healthy as our F2F learning spaces, then we need to make sure that the same kinds of collaborative behaviors define them. That includes the notion that if someone is worth talking to, theyre also worth listening to.
    Id take that even further and say that if someone is worth listening to, theyre also worth letting them know that youre listening.
    Interesting stuff,
    Bill

  3. Bill Ferriter

    Erica wrote:
    Id add that promoting our ideas, if valid and coming from our
    experience from the classroom, can only help our cause to serve students
    in said classroom.
    And it only works of we have an audience.
    – – – – – – – – –
    And I think what Chris would say, Erica, is that we need to think more broadly about who our and we are when we are promoting ideas about teaching and learning.
    When our and we become me and mine, were missing the point to some degree about what social spaces are all about.
    Does that make any sense?
    Bill

  4. Bill Ferriter

    Sean wrote:
    In a profession that honors (I hope) humility, collaboration,
    authenticity, caring, commitment… perhaps we should be thinking not in
    the if it is to be, its up to me realm so much as we should be
    thinking if it is to be its up to we.
    – – – – – – – –
    This is an interesting take, Sean, only because I wonder whether or not our professions commitment to humility is one of the reasons that its so easy for critics to bully us and our systems into submission — or at the bare minimum, into policies that we KNOW are going to fail.
    Maybe a bit of professional arrogance — or at least professional confidence — would give us the authority that we need in order to put a stop to the disastrous policies that seem to define what happens in our buildings.
    Any of this make sense?
    Bill

  5. Sean Grainger

    Hello there. The fact we’re speaking about this is, in a way, “promoting” or “illuminating” an issue that can perhaps draw attention to ourselves. Please don’t believe I am incriminating you… I am just saying that the issues we choose to write, blog, tweet, present or whatever about, are the real power behind “self promotion.”
    The more controversial the topic, the more readers you will get; it’s a simple formula. Is the issue still an issue? Absolutely. Are there really important issues out there that are overshadowed by overtly controversial issues? Absolutely. I don’t begrudge anyone for sharing their point of view providing they carefully qualify it as “just their opinion,” but I am very cautious around those (and there are many out there) who share opinions as if they were facts… which of course leads to increased conflict and more controversy.
    I must say I do totally agree (just my opinion) with Chris and Dean in the sense that of course we all like recognition, but i do beleive that authentic recognition comes for people we are close to and that doesn’t amount to much fanfare at all… the proverbial pat on the back, you mad a difference actions people take to recognize people and let them know they, and their actions, were noticed and appreciated.
    Blog awards, teacher of the year??? In a profession that honors (I hope) humility, collaboration, authenticity, caring, commitment… perhaps we should be thinking not in the “if it is to be, it’s up to me” realm so much as we should be thinking “if it is to be it’s up to we.”

  6. Erica Speaks

    Bill wrote:
    “The REAL power in social spaces is found in the relationships that you develop with the people that you’re learning from — not the voice that it gives you.”

    Afraid I have to disagree there. There’s great power in both.
    I also agree with WiscPrincipal’s comments here. I’d add that promoting our ideas, if valid and coming from our experience from the classroom, can only help our cause to serve students in said classroom.
    And it only works of we have an audience.
    ~Erica

  7. MzMolly

    This was a really thought-provoking article, especially the comments that followed. There are people that I follow that do feel like self-promoters, but I still follow them because I try to “separate the wheat from the chaff” and tune out when it’s a “look at me” type of post and focus in when he/she/they have some interesting insights.
    Bill, you present a fascinating contradiction: you were embarrassed to receive your teaching award (congratulations, btw) but see how others crave recognition. Could that be more to do with personality and less to do with the general lack of recognition educators receive? Or could it be the push-pull desire of being both a great individual practitioner and being a collaborative team member?
    I like how Renee and Ben wrote about comments – on my own husband’s blog (not edu-related, but popular in his niche) he moved the discussion from the comments to a Google Plus thread linked to the blog and he’s seen comments increase by a large margin, different people commenting (not just the usual) and the level of discussion deepening. Maybe the tweets and blog posts can lead to lengthier discussion but in new ways.
    I also really liked John Wink’s questions about rationalizing a post, which is why I’ll post my failures as well as my successes on my blog. People need to be seen as human, not superhuman. If people are edu-stars, it shouldn’t place them far from others to reach (or join).
    Enough for now; thanks for the ideas.

  8. Joe_Mazza

    Agree with everything that has been said here. Great job to Chris and Bill for pulling it together.
    I’m learning everyday from some of the greatest minds in the field using social media tools like Facebook & Twitter. If it weren’t for those two tools – for me – my students, staff & families might not have been exposed to countless ideas, insight & access to cutting edge technologies and ideas.
    I’m happy to recognize all of these folks who I might not of otherwise have known or benefitted from if I didn’t take the plunge into the leadership 2.0 world 15 months ago. It’s oftentimes hard to keep up with all of the “thank yous” and “comments” but this what will continue to keep our shared edu-space a healthy and growing environment. It’s the relationships that matter and I’m so humbled by how many great people I’ve met and continue to know as a part of this new world.

  9. Bill Ferriter

    Patrick wrote:
    I think we all agree that the traditional resume has become a thing of
    the past and that our resume now is our digital
    portfolio/footprint/presence…I think it is important that we model for
    our colleagues AND OUR STUDENTS how this is done.
    – – – – – – – –
    Oh Patrick: This is SUCH an important point.
    Maybe there ARE some teachers getting the balance between self-promotion and selfless sharing wrong in social spaces right now — but at least their experimenting with what it REALLY means to build a digital footprint, right?
    Even their mistakes become valuable when theyre seen as an attempt to learn lessons about digital presence that they can pass on to their students — kids who will very much depend on a digital presence to move forward in their work lives.
    Experimenting with tools and services and spaces and behaviors in ANY way is important for teachers. Over time, those teachers will polish their behaviors — and then pass them along to their kids. Thats cool.
    Thanks for the reminder,
    Bill

  10. Bill Ferriter

    Teacher Mr. W wrote:
    In fact, educators are some of the biggest publicity pimps there are.
    Perhaps instead of turning ones intellectual wares into a side hustle,
    we should be focused more on good teaching?
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    Yeah, but heres the thing, Mr. W: WHY are we forced into the side-hustle? What is it about our profession that leads to those behaviors?
    Those are the questions Im most interested in. I think there are structural truths about the world that we live and work in that lead to this kind of stuff.
    Any of this make sense?
    Bill

  11. Bill Ferriter

    John wrote:
    The balance between helping others and promoting your work is perplexing. Here is how I rationalize things.
    1. Does what I promote help others?
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    Im with you here, John — and one of the things that I always have to remind myself about the powerful voices in social spaces is that they didnt get powerful by accident.
    Somewhere along the way, they shared enough valuable content — no matter who created it — to build a following. And just as importantly, no one forces followers to listen to anyone. If someones voice is powerful, its simply because individuals have identified that voice as valuable. The same group could just as easily turn away and start listening to someone else if they wanted to.
    I think Chriss central point, though, is still valuable — we should make a conscious effort to be on the lookout for new voices that may not have been noticed yet. Kind of like when we point out the thinking of the overlooked kid in our classrooms because we know that hes got good ideas to share but no one is even thinking about listening to him.
    Thats something that I think we can all do without much trouble. Add new voices to your stream — and then tell other people about those new voices.
    #interestingstuff
    Bill

  12. Bill Ferriter

    Bill Ivey wrote:
    Sorry about my long side-track above!
    – – – – – – – –
    Hey Pal,
    Youre ALWAYS welcome to side track on my blog! I love your thinking and am inevitably challenged by most everything you say.
    – – – – – – – –
    Bill also wrote:
    This is a profession that has traditionally been primarily
    women, and which has been shifting back in that direction lately. So any
    discussions of self-promotion can quickly get tied up in that legacy of
    teaching being feminine in the traditional sense and our cultures
    expectations of women. Just something else
    to think about.
    – – – – – – – – – –
    I think this is truer than wed care to admit in a womens rights, all should be equal world, Bill.
    The cultural norms of our organizations — and the cultural expectations that outsiders have of members of our profession — are still wrapped up in the visions of the 1950s. Think Mad Men, right? Look pretty. Smile a lot. Keep other people happy and leave the important work to your supervisors.
    But dont you think we further those own notions ourselves with our willingness to embrace the I dont do this for the money, I do it for the children approach to conversations about our work?
    I got into a heated argument with a fellow NC Regional Teacher of the Year a few years back because he saw me as a selfish person who wasnt willing to give enough when I told him that I wouldnt do after school tutoring sessions for my students for free. You should care about every kid and do everything you can — paid or not — to help them.
    We push those storylines at least as much as outsiders looking in at our profession, dont we?
    Bill

  13. Bill Ferriter

    Dean wrote:
    As the husband of a grade 2 teacher, its saddening to see how little
    recognition she gets for doing her job and as every classroom teacher
    knows, its a really hard job.
    – – – – – – – – –
    This is where I think social spaces have served teachers well, Dean. It really IS hard to earn recognition as a teacher.
    Whether its because were behind closed doors with kids all day and cant find the time to find our way into more important conversations with more important people or because we work in a profession with well defined norms that place altruism and selflessness at the top of our traits to be desired list, elbowing our way onto the radar of other people doesnt happen often.
    Social spaces — which we can join long after were finished grading papers, making phone calls, and leading after school clubs — are one of the few places where we CAN participate and be recognized. More importantly, we dont have to ask anyone for permission — or find PD funds to pay for a sub — to join the conversations that happen in social spaces. Finally, social spaces do have an inherent democracy about them. Good ideas — no matter who they belong to — can rise to the top. Titles dont matter.
    That equality resonates with most teachers who join social spaces.
    This is a zero-sum game conversation, isnt it? We need to realize that in social spaces, theres PLENTY of recognition to go around so scrambling for a few opportunities — a pattern that weve gotten used to in schools — isnt as necessary online as it is when were working in a building with limited dollars and positions for teacher leaders.
    Thats my a-ha for the morning…
    Bill

  14. Bill Ferriter

    Ben asked:
    I meant to say do you blog anywhere else besides here, but I got too hasty in my reply, sorry
    – – – – –
    I was wondering about that comment, Ben!
    I blog over at Smartblogs some, but most of my content ends up here.
    Good to have found your voice…
    Bill

  15. Bill Ferriter

    Chris wrote:
    My fear is that the big voices on social media continue to get bigger and some important voices end up getting lost.
    Promote the stories… Some about us and most about others.
    – – – – – – – – –
    I love this quote, Chris — promote stories of educations success, but just remember that YOUR stories arent the only stories worth promoting is probably a great rule of thumb for people to consider when analyzing their participation in social spaces.
    Its definitely an interesting conversation to me, though. I think theres a lot of lessons about our profession in the entire strand.
    Thanks for making me think..
    Bill

  16. Bill Ferriter

    Roibert asked:
    This is something I dont understand about the states. How much do you get paid?
    – – – – – – –
    Hey Roibert,
    Pay in the US varies dramatically depending on what state you live in, but after 20 years of teaching, I make $52K per year — and thats (1). 22% higher than other teachers who have 20 years of experience because I have two additional certifications that come with additional compensation and (2). in one of the top paying district in our state.
    For a point of comparison, my small 2 bedroom house (1,064 square feet) in an old, tired, semi-transient neighborhood is valued at about $150,000. Adding my wife and daughter to my health insurance — theyre currently on my wifes policy — would cost me $694/month. Daycare for my daughter is $1,200/month.
    Oh yeah — and per pupil spending in my district is around $7,500/year — which is $3,000 below the national average. That means I end up spending tons of my own cash (close to $150/month) on classroom supplies and on professional development (books, workshops, webinars).
    That salary, I think, is probably close to fair considering we only work 10 months a year too — but its definitely not enough when youre the main provider for your family. If I had the option to work 12 months, Id probably be fine, but thats not an option.
    So I either leave to look for a 12-month position or I spend all of my free time trying to shake the money tree.
    #notcool
    Bill

  17. Roibert Huxley

    Hello Bill,
    I’d like to present an anti-thesis to your argument. I lurk.I do not self-promote. I seldom use the social media sites where I have opened a profile. I keep trying, but I don’t see the benefit.
    It is not because I don’t have ideas, try new things or abhor sharing. I simply don’t have the time after I collaborate, learn, and reflect on my own practice in my own classes, school and school board. The recognition I get comes from students and peers, not from digital comments. Those matter to me. Awards don’t. I am far from faceless in my community.
    I also get paid enough to take money off the table. This is something I don’t understand about the states. How much do you get paid? I make, top-of-scale, a bit more than $70K for 200 work days of which 20 are pedagogical. The pay is low for Canada, but the ped days are better. I am expected to work 40 hours a week and I am sure some do. To give you an idea of scale a new 3 bedroom house costs about three time my gross salary and my combined tax rate is about 38%. Would that be enough recognition to change the dialogue from self-promotion?
    Your column does keep me thinking and I appreciate it. Enjoy the weekend!

  18. Chris Wejr

    Bill et al, thanks or continuing this conversation. I think some are missing the point here and are trying simplify this conversation as a self-promotion vs non-self-promotion. I have no problem with people sharing the stories… In fact, this is what we SHOULD be doing is sharing the stories. But there needs to be balance in sharing stories about ME and and sharing stories about others. My fear is that the big voices on social media continue to get bigger and some important voices end up getting lost.
    Promote the stories… Some about us and most about others.
    Thanks again Bill!

  19. Shareski

    As much as I value the posts about being careful not to promote ourselves too much I think the pendulum for the most part is still on the side you describe with very little recognition and self promotion isn’t all that rampant. At times, anyone who blogs or tweets could easily get blamed for this but it’s far less of an issue that providing teachers with opportunities for feedback and acknowledgement .
    I get an inordinate amount of praise and recognition for just doing my job. As the husband of a grade 2 teacher, it’s saddening to see how little recognition she gets for doing her job and as every classroom teacher knows, it’s a really hard job.
    So perhaps people like me, who work in education but not for a school, should be called out occasionally for self promoting. But also remember that many of us (not so much me because I’m a salaried employee) don’t have a regular income and have to create awareness.
    But if you’re talking about teachers I’d ask people to back off and let them have a little or even a lot of recognition whether it’s somewhat self promoted or not. Lord knows, they deserve every bit of it.

  20. Bill Ivey

    Dang, got off on the wrong track. 🙁 So one more quick thought – this is a profession that has traditionally been primarily women, and which has been shifting back in that direction lately. So any discussions of self-promotion can quickly get tied up in that legacy of teaching being “feminine” in the traditional sense and our culture’s expectations of women. Nancy Flanagan and others have thoughtfully explored how that plays out in the edu-blog world. Just something else to think about. Sorry about my long side-track above!

  21. Bill Ivey

    Great post. For me, what Ben said about seeking validation really rang true. As far as followers go, there seem to be around three types. There are the people who genuinely want to connect and interact with you, the people who seem to get something out of being a fly on the wall, and the people who are mostly just hoping you will follow them back. The third type, whatever. The second type, hey, go for it, and jump in whenever you feel like it. (This, by the way, is where the line between accumulating followers for the sake of having followers and feeling good about having more than a few followers gets fuzzy.) And the first type are the ones who make it worthwhile.
    That said, I’ve found that over the past few years, my conversations have mostly shifted to Twitter. Listserves where we used to have long, meaty conversations appear to be a thing of a past (and it’s a considerable loss, I think). Sometimes, I’ll try to figure out whether commenting on a blog or returning to Twitter (where I get most of my links) is the better strategy. Those “pop up out of nowhere” conversations on Twitter are peculiarly gratifying, and they do shift my thinking at times rather than simply confirming it. But as we are seeing right here, if you want to go deeper, blogs do offer that opportunity. It often seems to be a temporary community that forms around a certain piece, though, which may be a factor – kind of like attending a really good session at a conference (acknowledging that I recognize and admire a good many people talking here, so there’s more of a sense of permanence).
    Embedded in what I just wrote is the notion of choices. The amount of information flooding over us is increasing exponentially, and yet weeks remain firmly fixed at 168 hours. So I’m continually choosing what to read, what to share, and where to engage further. Often, I fall in love with the idea of searching out more information. It’s like being addicted, because when I pull back from that immediate goal and engage more with people, I am ultimately happier. But then, I know everyone else is busy, and might not get back to me. So it all returns to validation. And risk. Sharing information is not risky. Reaching out to someone who may not reach back is.
    So to try to wrap this up – it seems the people I most admire in virtual spaces, as in real life, are the ones who are both true to themselves and about something greater than themselves. At that point, it all becomes about how best to further that “something greater.”

  22. John Wink

    Bill,
    Loved this topic. The balance between helping others and promoting your work is perplexing. Here is how I rationalize things.
    1. Does what I promote help others?
    2. Do I engage in learning from others?
    3. Do I follow those who acknowledge those who acknowledge me?
    In my mind, I must feel balanced in these questions and if there is an imbalance, I must address the area that is neglected.
    Thanks for forcing me to evaluate my social media footprint.

  23. teachermrw

    This has been the case since educators discovered blogs, Twitter and Facebook. In fact, educators are some of the biggest publicity pimps there are. Perhaps instead of turning one’s intellectual wares into a side hustle, we should be focused more on good teaching?

  24. Patrickmlarkin

    Great post Bill! I struggle with this whole things as well sometimes. When I see opportunities like the Edublog Awards I start to think of the folks who have impacted ME the most. Then as I run through the list of people who have helped me think and grow as an educator (and person), I realize that I cannot rate these folks. I consider many of these people friends at this point and I don’t think any of us think that publicly rating our friends makes sense.
    Anyway, the second part of this may seem like a contradiction. But I think we all agree that the traditional resume has become a thing of the past and that our resume now is our digital portfolio/footprint/presence…I think it is important that we model for our colleagues AND OUR STUDENTS how this is done.
    Finally, there is a difference between sharing and self-promotion. I think it is up to the person who is posting, tweeting, sending…to decide what their intentions are before they press the button. Frankly, I don’t have the time to spend trying to figure out someone else’s intentions. If on some rare occasion I am offended by someone’s actions, I can:
    A – Let them know constructively
    B – Stop following them
    C – Ignore it
    In any event, I thank you and Chris for making me think about this and my own intentions in this great space that we all have to share!

  25. Ben

    Thanks, Bill! I had no intention of winning the Internet, but I’ll take the spoils none the less! Will certainly be following up and trying to make good on my comments here.
    Do you blog yourself?

  26. SuperScot

    A couple of thoughts….
    1. As with most things in life, it seems to be about balance. Some amount of “Hey, look at this idea/project (me) it’s great” is a good thing. Being proud of your work, and being willing to say it is important. However, if it’s the only way you are communicating…. it can be a bit over the top.
    2. It does seem like…. and I am as guilty as anyone… that I am wanting to read & interact with less depth in social media spaces than I did a few years ago. I need to reflect on why… I found it valuable – so has it lost value? Your comment about commenting is true in my case, I used to comment and get comments on my blog more 2 years ago than now.
    Good post…. (maybe I should nominate you for an award?)

  27. Bill Ferriter

    Ben wrote:
    The social media circus distracts us from whats really important;
    connecting, collaborating, and working on new ideas and projects with
    educators and colleagues around us.
    Far too often I see people in the
    Twitter and Facebook spaces praising that edu-star and wishing they
    could be more like him or her, when they could actually be creating
    their own edu-stars around them by turning those dreams into actionable
    work in their own school buildings.
    – – – – – – – –
    This is brilliance, Ben.
    In two sentences, youve summarized everything that both Chris and I were trying to say.
    You win the Internet. Thats way better than an Eddie.
    Congratulations!
    ; )
    Bill
    On a side note, Im dropping your blog in my feed reader. I want to learn alongside you.

  28. Bill Ferriter

    Renee wrote:
    However, your post did help me remind myself how important it is in
    social media to be a true co-learner. I am sometimes too negligent about
    asking questions of my favorite bloggers, or returning to a site where I
    have entered a conversation to continue it
    – – – – – – – –
    Im with you here, Renee. Not only are comments on blogs becoming less and less common, but so are conversations. One-off comments are WAY more common than the kind of give-and-take that used to happen there.
    Im not sure thats a good thing.
    Anyway…hope youre well,
    Bill

  29. Bill Ferriter

    Curt wrote:
    We need to fight for our profession and have no qualms about promoting
    what is going well. Stories will continue to be told about education.
    Who should be the ones telling them?
    – – – – – – – – – –
    Im with you here, Curt — and I definitely feel that social spaces have given teachers a new tool for fighting back against the negative stories that the critics of our profession like to spin. Heck, just look at Wisconsin, right? Mobilizing teachers matters when there are so many people with so many bad ideas in positions of power.
    But I think Chriss point is really more about the people who arent telling stories because they care about helping the profession. Instead, I think hes talking about people who are telling stories ONLY with the goal of moving themselves forward — becoming digital rockstars is more important than becoming voices for productive change.
    Does that make sense to you? Do you see that distinction in social spaces?
    As an aside, I dont know how much I really care about the behaviors of others in social spaces simply because if I dont like their choices, I can simply unfollow them. In the end, that choice is the security blanket against digital chumps. If someones not helpful or overly selfish, I dont have to give them my attention.
    Rock on,
    Bill

  30. Ben

    Two thoughts occur while reading this post.
    1. You’re absolutely right…the pent up, “Dude, where’s my recognition” creates this strange social space that can appear to be very “I’m awesome, look at me!” when in truth it’s more likely teachers trying to really say “Boy, I think this is awesome, right, please, someone give me some validation.”
    Now, you could argue that the numbers do matter, and once you’re past, say, the 15,000 Twitter Follower mark it really comes off more as preening and promotion, which may or may not be the case. The reality of celebrity status in this country tends to make us cynics (myself included) that “popular” individuals will eventually “sell-out”, self promote to the point of ridiculousness (this is SOOOO epic because I’m doing it), or completely be taken in by the popularity contests that recognition like the Edublog Awards have become (Do we really need to keep praising the same “10 post a day “fire hose” ed tech resources blog”, or is it time to move on?).
    Love it or hate it, self promotion walks a thin line between general “ugh” and worthwhile recognition for projects, experiences, and stories that need to be told.
    2. The social media circus distracts us from what’s really important; connecting, collaborating, and working on new ideas and projects with educators and colleagues around us. Far too often I see people in the Twitter and Facebook spaces praising that “edu-star” and wishing they could be more like him or her, when they could actually be creating their own edu-stars around them by turning those dreams into actionable work in their own school buildings. We all want to hang out with Brad Pitt, but we never stop to think about how we can help all of us become Brad Pitt if we spent more time supporting, praising, and working on building great learning experiences with colleagues in the building around us.
    It’s for this very reason that I always submit my colleagues for awards in the district and state level, I don’t spend time meticulously crafting my “Visual CV”, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social presences. I spend time and energy holding up great work down by those around me, and the projects that I find myself working within, but not necessarily having created myself. Do I still occasionally self-promote? SURE, we all do. That sort of preening needs to happen, but I’d rather spend more time helping to preen and promote other’s voices.

  31. TeachMoore

    So much good truth in this post, Bill. You’re spot on about the lack of professional recognition (and the low salaries are part of that). Like WiscPrincipal I strongly believe educators should be the ones promoting our own expertise and stories, rather than having them ripped off or mis-told by others.
    However, your post did help me remind myself how important it is in social media to be a true co-learner. I am sometimes too negligent about asking questions of my favorite bloggers, or returning to a site where I have entered a conversation to continue it. Thanks for that nudge.

  32. WiscPrincipal

    “Digital Bling,” love that term Bill.
    I have no problem at all with self-promotion by educators through social media. For too long, educators have been absent (poor?) promoters and politickers. It may have been noble at one point in time, but no longer. We need to fight for our profession and have no qualms about promoting what is going well. Stories will continue to be told about education. Who should be the ones telling them?

  33. crazedmummy

    The internet is super, because in my reader thingy, right under your entry, here is this
    http://statistically-funny.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-one-about-ship-wrecked.html
    I thought the blog was for a person’s diary, inner reflections that might be useful. I thought that people who wanted followers used Facebook and had “friends.” One of the most hated and best projects I had was at a college that required us to keep a portfolio every year. Being able to look at the successes at the end of a year, instead of the failures, was a real morale-booster. However, in a world where being competent means you will get a worse job (“you’re good – take the kids with behavior issues.” Or the extra class. Or stay after school without pay.), why would anyone want to be singled out? And when I think of all the ideas I have stolen from others, why would I be pleased to get credit?

Comments are closed.