Don’t believe the hype!
I’ve been thinking about the whole topic of Twitter for some time. It’s a strange place, don’t get me wrong, Twitter has changed me on a professional level. Many of you will know that 3 years ago, I was trying to leave the profession but Heathfield and Twitter together changed me.
Some boring facts for you:
I have about 5000 followers, I would guess roughly 3000 are UK teachers. In the UK there are 610,000 teachers, so as a result, roughly speaking, approximately 0.5% of UK teachers follow my predictable ramblings about audience, blogs and engagement.
For me, Twitter is a wonderful place where, for me, like-minded people collaborate, discuss and celebrate. There is indeed a lot of love out there, however, even more valuable than that, good honest feedback. Occasionally there are even highly entertaining heated discussions where disrupters test the quality of new /old ideas.
I do however feel that I need a reality check every now and then. 0.5% of teachers who on the whole have similar values to me is not a true reflection of what is out there. I received a phone call this week from a local school who had seen my name in Chris Quigley’s ‘Dangerous Curriculum’ and a reference to blogging. They phoned me up to ask me what on earth my name was doing in the back of this book and basically wanted to know ‘what on earth is this blogging thing?’ This illustrated to me that in the UK 99.5% of teachers or schools have NO IDEA what I or even you do. Are we the group of geeks who manage to find each other in this bubble just like new High School pupils tend to find there own in the first few weeks of High School? In our world of 0.5% we have influence, we have a voice and we have positive reinforcement. We rarely get challenge or challenging feedback!
When I decided not to go for the Headship at Heathfield, so many lovely people asked why, told me I’d be great at it and that I should reconsider. I found that really touching but equally interesting. There are a few of my followers that know what I am like as a leader. Many people on Twitter will rely on what I say about my leadership style but won’t have any other evidence to make a judgement from, this judgement will be formed from what I tweet or blog about.
I have been REALLY lucky! People like: Tony Parkin, Dughall McCormick, Jack Sloan, Tim Rylands, John Sutton, Andy Black, Paul Hynes, Julian Wood, John Bidder and Dianne Spencer plus MANY more have played pivotal parts in my development. Press attention for me, has been about being in the right place at the right time and my reputation has benefited massively from these fantastic moments – but I have been lucky!
My decision to not go for the Headship at Heathfield and Headship in general has been carefully considered. I have an uncontrollable desire to spread the power of an audience. As far as I can see, 99.5% of teachers have no idea about this incredible power. If that equates to 99.5% of pupils globally, then this is a feast for my soul!
There is so much work to do, for all of us… beware of the hype!
Picture: By Stallio