Sometimes, when we discuss social media and blogging for educators, we imply that the way we do online social learning is the way others should also do it. By doing so, we risk marginalizing not only voices whose experiences and views diverge from the dominant ideas in the edu-chamber, but also ones who’d prefer to spend their online networking time in communities which help them explore their passion for roof gardening, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or rare 80s sneakers.
Thinking, writing, and interacting with education in online social environments on our own free time may work for you or I, but who really is to say that it should work for everyone? How do we really know that it benefits everyone’s wellbeing? What if it brings more stress? Because if that’s all it does, then one thing we know for certain is that anxiety rarely improves conditions for learning.
If you’re an educator who is looking to establish an ongoing presence online which works for you, consider the following.
- Post and connect about what you love thinking and talking about, not what you feel others are hoping you would contemplate and discuss. Just like face to face encounters, it is very difficult to engage with someone who puts external affirmations before self-awareness.
- Be broad, or very narrow in the topics you write and interact about. I do my best to avoid being pigeonholed online as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean a strict theme wouldn’t work for you. Maybe your blog is all about strategies to support wellbeing in learning, or perhaps your twitter account curates resources for outdoor education. In fact, for the reluctant social media networker lurking at the edge of the proverbial pool, a narrower topic may give you just the gradual incline you need to take a dip.
- Have fun, for goodness sake. Be serious when the time is right, and profound at your leisure, but, please, enjoy yourself. We’re talking about technology which allows us to connect with people it would have been impossible to interact with not that long ago. This is something to be as unreasonably gleeful about as you wish to be.
- Don’t be afraid to be short and sweet or ramble on. Just own it. Whatever you do, please own it.
Do social media your way.