Reading Seth Godin is a little bit like attending a fancy, high end reception..not necessarily a full meal but lots of juicy, interesting little items to snack on. Like this one:
“How long did it take after the birth of blogs or Twitter for you to begin speaking up? Before this, you had no cheap, easy, allowable way to speak your mind to the world. You weren’t allowed. Then you were. And yet most people who use these tools took years to take action and start. ”
I would add, “And still many either don’t think they’re allowed or can’t figure out what they need to say.”
Many schools and organizations would like to keep you from speaking up. When you speak up to question, initiate or wonder, you cause work and trouble because someone may have to respond, grant/deny permission or defend. The meetings where no one talks are short and efficient. Agenda items get passed, people get out early. Seems like a win-win. Schools are filled with enough challenges that you speaking up is unconsciously seen as trouble. But most of the meetings contain unexpressed thoughts and ideas that while complicating matters, could perhaps be exactly what’s needed or at least suggest new possibilities. In most cases, people don’t speak up because they’re not allowed. Not explicitly, but implied by culture or past experiences.
That’s why I blog and do the Twitter. You don’t have to listen to me if you don’t want to. I’m not afraid to say something stupid (insert smart remark) or play. I’m also not afraid to wonder or question. I’m also trying to model for others, fellow teachers and students they they too are allowed and that they have something to contribute.
I’ve written often about why I think blogging is a big deal.
- Becoming Narrative Champions
- How to Make Better Teachers
- What Stupid Will Get You
- In Search of Reflective Practitioners
- There Must be a Link
- Why Audience Matters
- Chalk up another one for Blogging
Godin’s nugget reminded me that we/you are now allowed. Even if you work for some antiquated organization that says you can’t participate in is global conversations, you can. Maybe under a pseudonym but your voice matters. I subscribe and read every person in my district that blogs or tweets. I hope I reach the point where I can’t because there are just too many. At that point I’ll work to make sure at least someone else is reading their stuff because it matters.
PS. Weird, I even felt like I was writing in Seth Godin style.
Latest posts by Dean Shareski (see all)
- Hafa Adai! A Wonderful Journey With Wonderful Educators - May 30, 2020
- What’s Happening in Guam? An Educator’s Story - April 15, 2020
- Do We Need Coaches or Mentors? Both? - July 8, 2011
> How long did it take after the birth of blogs or Twitter for you to begin speaking up?
When I was in grade 5, I was producing my own newspaper (‘The Eagle Report’) that I produced on a mimeograph machine. Through school I ‘spoke up’ through no end of activities, everything from model parliament to more newspapers even to a mock revolution.
Before university I wrote software, created posters and poems and such, was a union agitator, and more. Oh yeah, and I did some wring for CKCU, Carleton University’s student radio station.
In university I was on the student newspaper as well as a prolific pamphlet writer and poster posterer. I also did a stint on the campus radio station. I worked at a development education centre (Arusha, in Calgary) doing psoetrs, newsletters, live seminars, more. I ran for the students union (more postering). In grad school I sat on the representative council, doing communications (posters, pamphlets, handbooks, etc). I did some speaking, set up a mock graveyard, ran a number of demonstrations, wrote white papers and position papers.
After university I set up a bulletin board setvice (Athabaska BBS, using a Maximus system). I ran for office (phone calls and personal visits). I was a communications coordinator in a political campaign (mailouts, more posters, press releases, candidate interviews, signs and placards, forums, radio advertisements; I even bought a fax machine). I ran for mayor in Brandon (posters and campaign brochures, a website). I was active online (creating major sections in a MUD, building my own MUD, participation on discussion boards, mailing lists like WWWDEV, DEOS and more. I set up a community website. I messed around with Geocities.
Then – only then – did I start a blog. And that was still years before Twitter.
When Seth Godin says this:
> Before this, you had no cheap, easy, allowable way to speak your mind to the world. You weren’t allowed.
He’s wrong. Completely, 100% wrong.
There have _always_ been ways to speak your mind to the world, whether the pamphleteering and bill posting of the 1700s or playwrighting and minstraling of earlier years, to ham radio, to phone trees and PTA meetings and civic government and more. I have spent my entire life speaking my mind to the world. For someone to say it was not allowed is to simply misunderstand history, and to not get what is new about blogging (and what is not new about Twitter).
But Stephen those things weren’t necessarily cheap and they certainly weren’t easy. If they were, more would have done it. Those barriers made people subconsciously think they weren’t allowed. I agree, in theory they were but it the belief was that unless you participated in broadcast media, your voice was insignificant. Call it the long tail, call it on demand publishing, but perceptions have changed. I understand what you’re saying but easy entry has empowered me and millions of others to say what you want say.
It’s been interesting to notice the number of educators in my province of Saskatchewan suddenly turn to twitter during our current contract negotiations to participate in conversations they previously had only in small circles. I’m not suggesting it’s brand new but believe it’s a reminder that anyone can now say what they need to say.