On Responsible Social Media Use

Below is an adaptation of a twitter thread I wrote yesterday.  I’ve never written a blog post that essentially rehashes a twitter thread, but I believe this topic is quite important and needs to be heard.  Here is a link to the thread, which includes some great comments added by others.   

Dear edutwitter,

Please, before you tweet statistics about the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of some method/gadget/practice, make sure there is evidence to back your numbers.  It may seem harmless or even motivational to tweet something like “if you are talking at your students for more than 10 minutes, they aren’t listening anymore”, but it’s not harmless.  Impressionable teachers and students are reading your tweets and may take your off-handed numbers to heart. This, in turn, may change how teachers teach and learners believe they can/can’t learn.  Think about the previously mentioned quote. Ss may say they need not attend a lecture because they’ll only remember the first 10 minutes anyway or a teacher may limit an explanation with their Ss because, “sorry, we’ve exceeded 10 minutes.”  Something as grossly overgeneralized as the previously mentioned statistic simply cannot be correct. Studies have shown this and without any age qualifications, you’re lumping the attention span of elementary students in with high school students.  You may say I’m being negative and I should take all tweets with the best of intentions…to this, I say no. I’m not being negative. I’m looking out for what I believe to be best for the teaching profession and students. If it’s not true and may harm the classroom, I believe it needs to be questioned.  If that means I run the risk of appearing negative, I’m ok with that. I would rather be disliked and our classrooms more effective than tweet some false platitude or statistic and get 1000 retweets because it sounded cool. Let’s all make a point to be more critical of both what we tweet and of what we read on Twitter.  Our classrooms can be better off for these efforts.  

To be fair, I and others asked the tweeter of the ‘10 minute’ tweet for evidence to support the claim.  To the best of my knowledge, there has been no reply.

I’ve written at greater length about teachers being critical consumers of PD here.

Here is a post on the need for a critical eye when encountering bogus citations on social media.

Lastly, here is a post with a framework for how I attempt to respectfully question those who write falsehoods on social media.

How can you encourage others to be a more critical consumer of social media?

How can you respectfully question those on social media who write potentially harmful information?


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