“Distracted from distraction by distraction”
For the past six months I’ve had a Twitter ‘sabbatical’. In no particular order, here’s why I was so involved with Twitter:
- Fear of missing out. I liked to be ahead of the game in terms of knowing what the latest edu-trend was, and how it would give an edge in terms of student performance;
- Being part of a ‘thing’. I felt I was a conduit for key educational trends and had a responsibility to share them with my fellow teachers (yes, yes, I know), something particularly important outside of London and the other big cities;
- It’s easy to get into a good educational debate. I’m not what you’d call a keyboard warrior, but I do like discourse and Twitter is a quick and simple way of doing so.
- I started to get a ‘profile’. I have been lucky to present at MathsConf, ResearchEd and be interviewed by Craig Barton, and it’s pretty much down to my sharing of ideas via Twitter (and I like to think a modicum of professional success), and I’ll be honest, it’s quite an ego-trip.
Now let’s rebut each of the above, one at time, as a result of my 6 months ‘off’ (inverted commas for a reason, I’ll get to that).
- Fear of missing out. I’ve missed out on nothing. Thanks to keeping up with what Tom Sherrington, Schools Week, Craig Barton and others have curated via their platforms, I’ve still been able to have an eye on what’s coming up on the rails.
- Being part of a ‘thing’. There’s nothing wrong with paying it forward, but being narcissistic enough to believe you’re at the forefront of an educational vanguard simply for reading a few tweets is problematic.
- It’s easy to get into a good educational debate. I still get into educational debates. The difference is that they’re face to face, and the social nuance and contextual understanding is better grasped as a result.
- I started to get a ‘profile’. Again, more ego stroking. I began to invest a lot of personal time into the whole conference thing, outside of what is a very busy professional life. Yes my ego was getting stroked, but I get more enjoyment from quality time with my family.
So, as a result?
- I’m no longer trying to get a drink from the informational fire hydrant that is Twitter. I still post a bit, and I do have a look from time to time (hence the inverted commas above), but I take a lot more care, and it’s less of a crutch.
- I’ve unfollowed a significant number of people because the informational flow was too much. My following list is more people who contribute, rather than simply retweet or post inspirational quotes.
- I’m less anxious about ‘not knowing’. I do believe that knowledge is power, but some knowledge is more powerful than others, and there are people better able to find that knowledge than I have the time to.
- I can act on ideas better. I don’t flit between concepts any more, and I’m less prone to dropping projects before they’ve got off the ground. I think my creativity is better.
- My ego is addressed in more meaningful ways – family, working hard and playing hard.
Will I jump back feet first into the Twitter pool? No. Will I continue in staying on the wagon regards social media? We’ll see. Either way, I’ll tell you this, I haven’t missed it.