This reality check could lend itself to any Social Networking site, so if you don’t use Twitter, don’t think this post doesn’t apply to you!
I have been using Twitter for 2 years now. To start with it was to communicate with the movie crew I was working with, but now I find it invaluable for learning and collaborating with other teachers and e-learning specialists. It has been great for my Personal Learning Network! … read more about personal learning networks.
My next post will be on the BENEFITS of Twitter, but first, lets look at the downfall of when I was jolted back to earth last week…
I had a person ‘following me’ who was extremely helpful when it came to advising me on Mac issues. I began to follow him in return as I found him lively and interesting, plus very knowledgeable. His website is very ‘tech’ oriented and of a high standard.
On Valentines day, my husband I were going to the local Italian restaurant and my Twitter friend announced that he was going to McDonalds next door to this very restaurant. It was pretty unusual that he happened to live nearby, as most people in my networks are spread over the world. He suggested I came down to meet him, so my husband and I popped in to McDonalds before going to our restaurant. When we got there he wasn’t there.
When I returned home, I got this message: ‘Mum is really MEAN and made me go home before you got there’. ZOING! After several more messages I discovered that he is 13 years old. My family and colleagues found humour in me being seen as a potential ‘predator’. Perhaps it does have its funny side, as I am an older woman with 3 grown up children, plus a TAFE teacher… but it was a HUGE reality check for me! My assumption that he was a male teacher was shot to flames. It turns out his parents just wanted to go home and didn’t think me a predator:)
I sent the link to his website, to my trusted PLN friend Sue Waters and she was also shocked that a 13 year old could be so incredibly clever! I think there is value in my blogging the experience and sharing my thoughts as outcomes.
So here is what I learned from my reality check:
- The up and coming generation are brilliant and tech savvy beyond your wildest expectations… be ready for them teachers!
- If you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME
- We careful what you say and do on the Web. You don’t know who you are being a role model to.
- Don’t underestimate or trivialize the opinions of youth. They are smart and know what they want (unlike the baby in the image!).
- If you are planning to meet a ‘Twerson’, make sure it is in public and that you bring a friend!
I respect my Twitter friend for his ability to keep himself safe and respect his mothers protection of him. I am still in contact with him and have a renewed disbelief at how clever he is. We may still meet up at our local shopping centre for a coke.. but it will be under different circumstances!
Anyone with other thoughts on my experience? Share them in ‘comments’ and I will reply to you!