Looking back roughly a year ago, I began a journey I never thought I would…full immersion in the Social Media world. I avoided Facebook like the plague, thought Twitter was a communication device for celebrities, had no idea about Google Hangouts or Voxer, and thought blogs were something used in English class. Man, my views were wrong. Although my perceptions of Social Media change depending on the percepted purpose of the user, many of these tools can be used in a very productive manner.
I would say I avoided all of these as I was scared. Why would I put myself out there for others to ridicule? Why would I share what I have done for someone to tell me what I was doing was wrong or to question why I was doing something at all? I had an associate principal, at that time, Matt Degner (@mwdegner), that pushed me to share my ideas with others online and I was resistant. I worked directly with people that had perceptions about my practices, what would happen if I shared them with the world? Matt questioned my philosophies and questioned why I looked at sharing with such negativity. I did nothing illegal and every day I looked to improve, so why not share my ideas? He urged me to look at how I could positively help someone else. He suggested that not only could I help someone else, my ideas could be strengthened and improved through this process. Sure, some of my ideas may be rejected, questioned, or not used, but many of my ideas could change the way people think, learn, and/or teach. He urged me to change my perspective to think about how you could positively help someone. This reminds me of something my principal, Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy) said this summer, “Don’t tell me why something cannot be done, but tell me how we can make it happen.” In other words, stop finding ways to not do something. My perspective was beginning to change.
I was already involved in Faceboook, but nothing I did there helped me become any better at what I do. I used it merely as a communication device for my family to see pictures of my children and to this day, this is its primary purpose. With the strong urging of the two above gentlemen, and a long car ride to a conference, I signed up for Twitter. I will be honest, I was a little skeptical at how this could help me improve my practice, but less than a year later, I am a huge proponent. I began following a few people and “lurking” when it came to the “chats” that happened on various nights of the week. I would read all of the weird things both Jimmy and Matt would post and I became more curious on how this could help me. I would post articles and blogs that I found on Zite and the people that shared my same philosophies began to follow me; my virtual family was growing. I then began to be an active member and the doors opened. It is amazing the number of people involved in Twitter that share the same stance Matt was pushing; it’s all about sharing, growing, learning, and getting better each day. I now correspond with thousands of individuals all looking to improve the educational experience for our children; what a great feeling. With the encouragement of Jimmy, I began blogging this summer and I pledged to do so once a month. It is amazing to see (or hear), that my experiences and ideas are shared by many. I am still getting used to the idea that my messages may help and/or inspire others.
I am still a novice when it comes to many of the other forms of Social Media, but I continue to pledge my spare time to researching any of these tools to assist me in becoming the best at what I do. I suggest to never closing the door on anything without first giving it some effort. Sure, you may put time into something and find it is not the right fit, but I am sure you will grow along the way. I have changed my perspective; the question is now can you?