Alphabet Soup (Part One)

About five days ago, I changed the bio on my Twitter page.  I do it every so often, once in a blue moon.  This sounds mundane (and rightfully so), but it was the first step in eliminating the dissonance between my words and my actions.  Let’s see if you can spot the difference (thanks to bioischanged.com):

Old Bio:

8th grade ELA teacher and Tech Liaison. Lover of collaboration, liver of life. GCT, ECT, Ph.D (Cand.), GEG DC Metro area. #edumatch

New Bio:

8th grade ELA/Tech teacher. Lover of collaboration, liver of life. Passionate about connecting with fellow educators. We all have a story. What’s yours?

Do you see the difference?  Spoiler: check the title of this article.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am very proud of all of the ingredients of the soup, and very honored to be a part of such great cohorts.  However, although they list my affiliations, they do not define who I am.  In addition, the old bio was very individualistic.  This did not align with my collectivist drive for connection and collaboration.

A few months ago, I wrote a post entitled, “Gone Fishin’: A Reflection on Social Media.”  I really don’t give two flying monkeys about people’s criteria for following back, or not following back, or whatever.  Your stream, your preferences, have it your way.  However, all of a sudden, I started seeing a certain word everywhere I turned, spreading virally through blog posts like a bad case of Athlete’s Foot:

I’ve been seeing one recurring word that doesn’t sit quite right with me.  This word is, “impress.”  A lot of times, people say they won’t follow back if they’re not impressed. I’m baffled.  I’ve heard this term enough over the past week that I would be remiss if I didn’t address it.

What, pray tell, are the criteria for “impressive?”  If I have less than 1000 followers, am I not impressive?  If I don’t have 50 million accolades listed on my bio, am I not impressive?

Again, I’m not addressing the way people choose to run their feed.  The way you use social media is none of my business.

But it really upset me that people would actually say stuff like, “you have five seconds to impress me.”

Oh, really?

The implication is that we can make snap judgements about fellow educators, deeming someone “non-impressive” by something as ridiculous as their Twitter bio.  I still don’t get why it’s cool to be a Twitter snob.  We are here to help students, right? To me, that’s impressive all in itself.

I didn’t sign up for social media to be judged by my peers, based on a 160-character bio, or even the way that decide to run my feed (check out this awesome article by Rusul Alrubail).

A few days ago, all of a sudden I realized that my bio, as it stood, was in direct opposition to my philosophy.  Here I was, guilty as sin of alphabet soup.  I started thinking, what got me to this point?  I wasn’t trying to impress anyone…or was I?

TO BE CONTINUED…

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