Social Media Renegades
Imagine my surprise yesterday when ABC7 News reported that Chancellor Dennis Walcott had developed a set of social media guidelines for NYC Department of Education employees to follow. For the last seven years, I’ve run amok from what others might consider decency in social media (re: I curse a lot in other platforms). At first, when I got blocked from my private blog, I thought my swearing had put me over the proverbial edge of their sensitive Internet filter. Then, as I began to clean up my act on my eponymous platform, I noticed the filter was lifted for my sight. I win! That is, until my arguments became less curse-laden and more potent.
My site has been blocked since 2010, and I’m honored.
What people don’t see about social media policies is that there are so many exceptions to the rules that they often look sloppily put together, like a CYA umbrella policy from an era where even Bill Gates thought we wouldn’t need as much memory as we do for our hard drives. Like media who only report on the sordid relationships between (a miniscule amount of) teachers and students, teachers and other teachers, and teachers with … themselves. Like principals who don’t understand social media until someone sits them down and says, “When we tweet, we don’t have to actually whistle.” Like parents who don’t actually teach their kids how to interact with other people or with the devices they buy for them.
Like teachers who are any combination of these three.
The premise for social media guidelines seems like an attempt to curtail and dissuade people from using social media to even use it in a way that’s already ethical. People, thus, will likely fall into two camps: the “I’m not going to worry about what they’re talking about over there” or “Social media’s too dark a lane for me to even get to know so I won’t touch it.” The second crowd worries me the most because teachers have a great opportunity to place themselves firmly in the future of their own profession, guiding students in learning how to use the world’s information for more than connecting to friends.
Instead, the entire scene just reeks of regression. That’s why the future of education will take a brand of forward-thinking educator (teachers / principals etc.) with enough deft and savvy to advocate for technology use in the classroom and enough courage (for lack of a more appropriate word) to wrinkle the social media guidelines and them into the recycle bin.
Digitally and physically.