Twitter: The Harvey Dent of the Internet, the site with Two-Faces

Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, the man with originally good intentions as the crime fighting District Attorney of Batman’s Gotham City, turned into a crazed loon after being attacked, and like all good supporting-heroes-gone- bad, he begins to destroy the very things he set out to protect.

Somehow this reminds me of Twitter, or to be more precise, Educational Twitter. If the virtual world of the Internet could be shown as a map, the land of Twitter would be accompanied by the warning ‘Here be Giants’ . For Twitter is full of Giants, educational and otherwise. It is the land where the big people rub Capitals Letters with the little people. Unlike other social media sites, the communication can be one way, no need for Add Friend. You can keep talking without listening. This can generate a key element of the dialogue – a belief that your opinion is important, needed and should be SHOUTED until people hear you. That’s a good thing right? We have fought and defended our freedom of speech. However, just as in Animal Farm, some voices are more important than others and in the land of Twitter, Here be the Giants.

Educational Twitter is no different to any society. There are leaders, sycophants, labourers and naughty children who keep putting their heads above the parapet, only to have them swiftly smacked down by the grown-ups, their ‘Noses pressed up against the glass’ of others conversations and exchanges (Tatamkhula Afrika, Nothings Changed).

The dominant voices of educational Twitter favour a preferred style of discourse..sound familiar? A discourse in which personal opinion can be twisted, ridiculed or worse still, marginalised.

I have been a passionate Twitter account user, both in this account and in my subject account. I have gathered some phenomenal resources in the past 2 years, made some fantastic connections and been able to network and help other Subject departments. And then there is the other side of Two-Face, where I have seen people almost bullied, exposed and self-destruct through their temporary forgetfulness at the public nature of this arena. And these are just the Teachers….

I, for one, hope that that footprint I leave on the strange double-sided land of Twitter, is positive, supportive, builds and fixes. The Old School Harvey Dent Gang will suit me just fine.

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3 thoughts on “Twitter: The Harvey Dent of the Internet, the site with Two-Faces

  1. I came to this post a bit late, Kate, but I’ve found it interesting. I think it’s important that we raise awareness of these issues and discuss them; that we examine our own Twitter presence and adapt and adjust if we don’t like the way our voice or online relationships are developing. I’m thinking about where I might fit in to the “leaders, sycophants, labourers and naughty children” model….

    I also liked your comment, “You can keep talking without listening”, which echoes what I said at the #PedagooLondon #TeachMeet a week ago – Twitter, and especially blogs, can be too much of a monologue – everyone talking but not enough people reading/listening/reflecting/sharing – I think this is something we can all perhaps do more of!

    Thanks again for the post.

    • 🙂 thanks again Jill! It can be both wonderful/productive/supportive and self-absorbed/self-congratulatory/self-promoting! But, that duality could be levelled at many things in life! You don’t strike me as any of the categories above! :)) I have certainly felt like the naughty child with face pressed up against the window :))) you’re right though – productive discussion/debate comes from two-way communication. Twitter by it’s very nature breeds soundbites and over-simplifications. We have much to learn *from* each other in teaching, which is why putting the ‘face’ on Educational Twitter through events like PedagooLondon is grounding and reminds us we are professionals engaging in discourse with other professionals………Or at least that’s what I hope!!
      Your thoughts are much appreciated!

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