Category Archives: twitter

Why I unfollowed you (or not)

OK this may be a narcissistic post but here I go anyways. I enjoy cleaning, well not really cleaning but throwing away stuff. I adhere to the model “When in doubt, throw it out.” So as I obnoxiously tweeted yesterday I unfollowed almost 300 people on Twitter and told people if they want me to follow they need to talk to me. I am here for the conversations. So here are my reasons for following/unfollowing someone:

* If I have had a “conversation” with you through @ messages on twitter then I kept you. If you have never tweeted @ me then I may have unfollowed.

* If I recognize your avatar in my stream because I often read your tweets I kept you. If I feel like I never have seen your avatar, I checked your page and if you rarely tweet or haven’t tweeted in months I unfollowed.

* If I have met you in real life I kept you even if you rarely tweet. Those relationships are more important than Twitter.

* If you tweet about your meals, your kids, your vacations, and your favorite sports teams I kept you. If you only tweet about education and links I might have unfollowed you. If you only tweet links I suspect you may be a bot rather than a human.

* If you are a social studies teacher I kept you. If you are a math teach I might have unfollowed you. Social studies is my new focus and math was my old one. If I connected with you as a math teacher and you are active I kept you (see first * point)but if you are a math lurker then sorry you are gone ūüôā

* If you are an international teacher or live outside North America I kept you. I am looking to make world connections related to social studies and expanding my network.

* If you are an educator in Michigan I kept you. Local connections are important too.

* If you are part of New Tech network I kept you as this is part of my new school.

In short, for me Twitter is about getting to “know” people. If you want me to follow you all it takes is a few @ messages. I don’t judge or rank my followers other than whether they interact with me as educators (not interested in spam :)So if I dropped you just starting talking to me. Also I don’t block any educators so anyone can follow me. I am not elitist. I just don’t see the point in listening you if you don’t want to talk to me.

Ps. My favorite people on Twitter are those who give my crazy ideas pushback. Yeah I like to respectfully “debate” people ūüôā

You say you want a revolution…

from Frame Maker
I find what is happening in the Middle East both fascinating and frightening. Revolutions that started in Tunisia have spread to Egypt and are rumored to be heading to Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, and possibly Libya and more. On one hand, the people have stood up against dictators, corruption, government waste,political imprisonment, and have asked for more rights. On the other hand I fear that if the current leaders are removed that¬†power will move to Muslim extremists¬†much like the Taliban moved into¬†Afghanistan¬†after their internal struggles after getting rid of the¬†Russians. Crafty leaders often use “movements by the people” to gain power and bring in a new type of dictatorship (think Mao in China).
The role of social media in these protests followed the model of the Iran protests two years ago. The¬†“day of rage”¬†last Friday was planned days before on Facebook and Twitter. The Egyptian government has responded by shutting down all ISP connections to the internet and have blocked SMS messages as well.¬†
Google and Twitter have responded by creating a new service over the weekend. It is a speech-to-tweet service designed for Egyptians to get the word out in their country. It works by turning phone calls into tweets. Egypt may now try to stop all phone lines too. I find this part pretty remarkable. Granted it was not a huge design task technology-wise because the parts to make it happened already exist, but to see Google and Twitter act so quickly and specifically for Egypt is an important act on their part. 
from darkroom productions

I think governments around the world now realize and fear the power of social media to expose their actions. China is censoring what its people can access about Egypt.  I think most governments now realize they can not get away with oppressive treatment of their people without the rest of the world hearing about it through various social media outlets.

Tyrants around the world can try to quiet their people all they want, but when they choose to rise up they can no longer be muzzled by fear and force. It is a new world we live in and I think we have a responsibility to share this with our students. We should show our students how the tools they use for socializing are being used by people around the world to organize their fight for freedom. We should tell our students how new ways to use social media are being invented to support these causes.

How do you talk about these things in your classroom?