Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Twitter Tuesday #9 - To Follow or Not to Follow...That is the Question.

In a recent article in the Louisville, KY Newspaper, The Courier-Journal, they reported on the increasing use of Social Networking in schools around the city.  There were a couple of things that caught me eye in the article.  First, 2nd graders were using Twitter to Tweet about what was going on in their classroom...utterly amazing.  Makes me wonder what my 3 year old will be doing in 4 years (considering he already uses my iPhone better than me).

Second was the number of school districts blocking access to Facebook, while allowing access to Twitter.  It shows me that school districts across that state see the value of Twitter as an educational tool, but are still completely terrified about Facebook, which is understandable considering the negative media attention Facebook has been getting in the media.  I have a wiki that is still a work in progress for gathering positive uses of Facebook in Education.  I am a firm believer that if you can't get parents to come to you, you got to go where they are, and parents are on Facebook...more parents than you will see at Parent Teacher Conferences.

Third, and the main point of this post, was that I discovered that the Kentucky Education Commissioner is on Twitter.  I proceeded to Tweet that he had a Twitter Account (which I think needs to be linked from the Department of Education website so people can find him on Twitter).  I did not have a chance to check his profile.  Nancy Blair did, and she tweeted up an interesting point.  Was the Commissioner of Education in Kentucky really buying into the idea of Twitter??

Communcation on Twitter can go both ways.  Mr. Holliday, the Commissioner, was only following 10 people, while being followed by over 375.  He has over 250 Tweets, so his account is still young, and it is a great starting point.  The point Mrs. Blair was trying to make was that communication in his position should and needs to goes both ways.  In order to get the most out of Twitter Mr. Holliday should be following more people, especially educators, classrooms, and schools within his own state that are using Twitter.  In order to see the value of Twitter in a position such as his, it would be beneficial for him to be able to see what educators around Kentucky are Tweeting about.

I am all for him sharing what he is experiencing as Education Commissioner.  It helps me keep up to date with what is going on at the state level in regards to edcuation in Kentucky.  At the same time I would hope that he would want to hear about what is going on in "his" schools that he might not always hear about in the newspapers, on the news. or in meetings.  Schools around Kentucky are doing great things, and not just the schools in the big cities.  Many are using Twitter to share these things.

I really did not think anything of the fact that he was only following 10 people.  I am glad that Nancy Blair brought it to my attention.  So, the question then becomes, should Kentucky's Education Commissioner, or for that matter, any state Education leader, be EXPECTED to follow?  Or for a person in his position is it more about being followed than following others? 

So many teachers talk about not feeling like they are heard by politicians and educational leaders when it comes to issues in education.  By following educators on Twitter, would this solve, or help to solve, the problem of communication?  Would more educators join Twitter knowing that they would get a better chance to be heard by politicians and educational leaders in their state?

What are your thoughts?  Would appreciate opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
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