The internet is a wonderful thing, and it gives us easy access to so much information. I enjoy reading what other educators have tried out in their classrooms, and I benefit a lot from online posts and YouTube tutorials related to work (teaching, technology, classroom activities, etc.) and my hobbies (beading, crafts, etc.) However, I hardly ever post anything myself for various reasons.
A big part of this is probably the fear of negative or unexpected reactions as people online can be harsh and judgmental. The article Digital Identity in a World that Never Forgets really resonated with me. I have often watched how public figures have been forced to issue a public apology or even resign because of an unwise picture or post. I have noticed how culture has changed and certain issues have become much more sensitive over the years, and I feel it is unfair to judge something that happened in the 1990’s by today’s standards of correctness. As the authors point out, we need to show more empathy when judging “mistakes” and take into consideration the context and intent. It is quite alarming how an unwise post can cost someone their job.
Another reason for my hesitation to interact online is that I find social media exhausting. The sheer number of posts is overwhelming, and the duplication of content is exhausting. There seems to be a need to repeat what others have said to show solidarity, and I find reading the same thing uninteresting. I also sometimes feel pressured to participate in certain groups on WhatsApp or Facebook to secure my place in the group, and this feels very artificial.
I appreciate the tips given in Alison Seaman’s article about how to build a PLN using Twitter. While I do follow several educators on Twitter, I have not approached this in a methodical way, and I never retweet or comment. I think I don’t fully understand the culture of retweeting. Perhaps I feel that this is simply restating what someone else said, and is somehow not a good thing to do. It seems to go against the general culture in education and research that emphasizes the need to always contribute something new. This is something I need to think about (and my feelings about this have changed throughout the week).
I have very much enjoyed week 2 in DigPINS. I really loved the scavenger hunt activities, and I will definitely try to incorporate a similar activity into my teaching next semester. I went beyond my comfort zone and tweeted my scavenger hunt responses, and I actually feel I am more comfortable now with this platform. I might even be getting the hang of retweeting! I do believe that I will continue to engage more on Twitter as it is a very rich resource. I also experienced the thrill of getting likes to my posts! I enjoyed the Wisdom and/or Madness of Crowds game. It really emphasizes the importance of networks and how relying on a limited network could really influence the information we are exposed to. I feel I learnt a lot this week which is great as I was skeptical about the idea of networking at the beginning. I have experienced the joy of learning something new and discovering more about myself. I can’t wait to see what week 3 will bring!
Banner Image Credit: Giulia Forsythe