So farewell 2018!
This year I managed to write 10 posts (including this one). I haven’t been that prolific since 2015!
That said, not all the posts were written by me. January started with a guest post from Michael Griffin about the joys of Korea. I also introduced a new section to the blog called ‘letters to the editor’ and hope to have more of these. I unfortunately got a bit distract by Carol Black’s defence of learning styles and ended up dedicating two whole posts on the subject. I could write two more but I think I’ve probably spent more than enough time on that.
I also wrote a couple of posts on politics in the classroom the first of which got over 2,500 views at time of writing. I’m quite proud of that one. I also wrote a second blog post on suggestopedia and clearly, after the woeful number of views I must now accept that I am the only person who is interested in this topic at all.
My most popular blog posts remain pretty much unchanged:
A rather exciting bit of news is that I got an article published with Carol Lethaby* which we started writing in 2015. Also I will be speaking in Ireland in 2019 which is exciting and nerve wracking in equal measures. That’s pretty much it for me but I’d like to spend a bit of time in this post thinking out loud about twitter.
some thoughts on twitter
I’ve been a big fan of twitter since I joined in 2012. It was fun and I liked the community aspect of it, particularly when I was living alone in Japan. Being able to talk directly to people who may have influenced you in various ways is great. Twitter also has the potential for massive impact. You could start an account tomorrow and assuming you had something interesting and novel to say, be talking to and possibly changing the minds of thousands of teachers by the end of the week. That’s way more effective than academic articles or conference talks. Twitter is not all fun and games though. One ill-judged tweet, or even a comment taken the wrong way could mean career suicide or jail time without even leaving your house.
This year I haven’t enjoy twitter that much. In fact I think my enjoyment of it has been decreasing for a few years now. Particularly noticeably (to me anyway) is the amount of argumentativeness and snark. I thought perhaps this was just me being overly sensitive until I heard Mike Griffin make a similar point on a podcast recently.
I think Mike is correct that we should perhaps view the period of niceness as the anomaly. If regular EduTwitter is anything to go by he’s probably right. Hana Ticha has written about the “hostility” that people encounter on twitter and how it has led some to quit or think about quitting. There are, for me at least, just a handful of people who make it a less than pleasant experience but twitter has lots of tools, like ‘mute’, ‘turn off retweets’ and (in one case) ‘block’ which can remedy a lot of what is wrong with the site.
I mustn’t exclude myself from this either. I probably (unconsciously) make other people’s twitter experience unpleasant.
I don’t particularly like arguments online, and twitter has something of a multiplying factor in that you may feel in the ‘spotlight’ when discussing something on a ‘public’ platform and this can make people feel more defensive and aggressive. One writer notes that “tweeting is one of the most emotionally arousing activities you likely engage in on most days….studies show that tweeting raises your pulse, makes you sweat and enlarges your pupils -all indicators of arousal.“
But more than the quality of some twitter interactions, IOS new ‘screentime’ function which tells you how long you spend on your phone has been quite eye opening for me. I didn’t realise how much time I spent on twitter. Some days it is as much as 5 hours a day. Even if it’s only an hour a day (and it rarely is) it’s hours which could be spent doing other things, like writing papers, reading books or just going outside. I can’t claim to have ‘no time’ to get things done when I spend hours on twitter every day.
I also find it harder and harder these days to concentrate enough to even read a book. As soon as I start I want to reach for my phone. After reading that other people seem to have the same issue, I’ve decided to take a break from social media. I’m not quitting and plan on still using twitter to post links to blog posts but I’m going to try to get out of the habit of daily interactions. why post this here and not just do it? Well, I’m hoping that posting it here will help to keep me honest. I don’t know how long I’ll last (3 months is my goal) but we’ll see.
Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great 2019!