The phrase we see on Twitter, when a user has chosen to make their account private, and I confess that these days, this does include me.
For over 10 years I’ve used Twitter – I was a fairly early adopter, and to start with struggled to see what was the point, but very quickly, Twitter became a virtual home, place where I could share ideas about my work, make connections and develop a “personal learning network”. It became the place I plugged my blog articles, where I found some key thinkers on higher education policy and allowed me to identify possible speakers for conferences.
More recently I’ve become less enamoured, let me explain why.
Twitter and HE
There are still plenty of users who provide great insight into HE, and organisations like HEPI and Wonkhe are a reliable guide to the challenges and thinking in the sector. On the downside though, too many individual accounts are now just retweets of that user’s institutional marketing, or a tweet to announce “I’m at this meeting today”, while making sure that the head of department, VC and institutional account are copied in. Even worse is the individual academic account tweeting about a course being, for example, 2nd in England for an aspect of student experience as measured in a league table (not of course, the original NSS data form 2 years previously…). It all gets rather tedious
As a qualified teacher, I’m also interested in thoughts of other teachers, and Twitter has been a great sources of support and links to resources as well as current thinking about education. It does get pretty vicious though, especially the ongoing fight between trads and progressives.
Oh yes, the accusation thrown out to anyone who disagrees with you. Organisations can seem to be pretty snowflakey too – they have a reputation to protect after all, and will make sure that the digital chip-paper that is Twitter never appears to challenge that. I’m sure there was a good reason why there were 5 accounts belonging to employment lawyers (individual and corporate accounts) who were following me. I don’t know the reason, but, reader, I blocked them.
And now the sewer really deepens. Politics in the UK has become so polarised, and I am sickened just reading the comments. Most worrying is that an increasing number of people cite social media as their source of news. Really? This is scary, but it’s easier to have all your biases confirmed and polarised further than it is to read a decent newspaper.
Ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now
This is a great book by Jaron Lanier. He presents 10 reasons for leaving, or at least stepping back from, social media.
Read it, just read it and re-evaluate why you think the way you do.
Am I likely to quit Twitter – nah, not completely, but I’ve been badly burned in the last year by the way some people have chosen to interpret my tweets.
Hence, I might retweet a newspaper article, but I won’t comment much. I rarely make an individual comment on education anymore. I do comment on cycling – that’s uncontentious, although despite being delighted that Bernal won the Tour, I’d have loved to see another team win for once. (Sorry to all the Team Ineos fanboys)
Oh, and I’ll be keeping my account locked as well as maintaining a long list of accounts I’ve blocked, so that I get to decide who can read what I write.