When Participating Isn't Appropriate (Thank You, @kwhobbes!)

Kelly Christopherson has done an excellent job in articulating exactly what I've been trying to say for months now about social media participation.

From my experience, if you can sum up your contributions to the school and learning in quaint little anecdotes, little stories about touching tales and quips about snippets of days, then you really don’t get it. See, for the most part, I can’t share what happens in my days because it’s confidential, too difficult to describe and, really, there’s no quaint way to tell the story. It’s about the lives, spirits and souls of the people in the two buildings as we begin to forge a new direction and the interconnectedness here.

I guess I find that many of the things that others write about to be, well, common sense and something that is within my realm of experience for too long to be thought of as actually unusual. Whether it’s talking with parents about a student with learning needs, helping parents with students with special needs, creating learning spaces for students, finding supplies and supports for teachers who need them or questioning people in positions of responsibility about programming and support, it’s what an administrator does because it’s what’s best for children. And I believe that is what defines my job – doing what’s best for children.
As I wrote (and for which I've since been scolded):
The fact of the matter is that there exist a very large number of effective educators that are simply not able to contribute in any significantly recurrent amount to online discussion. All told, it's not that they're incapable of participating and it's not that they're unwilling. Rather, this group maintains perceived silence online because their professional priorities prohibit them from spending the time or energy required to provide plausible contribution.
Now, I realize it would be nice if we had genuine, original online input from every educator. In fact, I'm still surprised by how exciting things get when technology facilitates a global conversation. (Just look, for example, at the quality and range of keynotes that will be presented next week at Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray's Global Education Conference!)

Nevertheless, like Kelly, I've learned that as an administrator that are definitely times when participating really isn't appropriate - and when an educator's greatness might just be measured in how well they refrain from participating, rather than by how witty they're able to be while distributing dirty laundry before strangers. Along those lines, I've also found that there are even appropriate times when a mere retweet is all you're gonna get. You can tell a lot about a person by the articles they pass along (we are what we share), and some online interaction can be a lot better than none.

For what it's worth.

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