Many Twitter users have woken up this morning to find that their followers/following lists are a bit wonky. I noticed yesterday afternoon that I was approximately 300 people short of what I thought it should be. My first reaction was to dismiss it as a silly little problem, it is just a number, it will probably get sorted – I shouldn’t worry about. Mulling over it for the rest of the evening I realised that in fact it was a big problem and that it was truly bugging me.
That number, the followers/following count, may only be a simple number on the profile but for me it means a great deal. That number represents part of my learning network and I value every connection that is there. I suppose the saying “You never fully appreciate what you have got until it is gone” applies here. The lost connections really troubled me.
Each person involved with education who added me to their network I thanked for doing so and I said hi. I checked out who they were and what they were blogging/tweeting about. I found out their real names when I could. I subscribed to some of their blogs. I spoke with them about where they taught and what edtech they were interested in. More importantly I began to learn from them, their perspectives and their thoughts, their classroom practice and projects, their links and conversations.
I value their connection.
When 300 connections were lost it felt like someone had unpicked all of my our hard work. In the last 24 hours I have realised more fully what my Twitter network means to me professionally. It is only part of my PLN but it has a unique position, in the sense that it is close to being a live network. I don’t get the same number of people connecting with me via Skype, my blog or email – Twitter holds the majority. Nothing comes close to allowing me to connect with other teachers across the globe.
Is my network part of who I am as a teacher now? Definitely – and so I value every facet of it.
The majority of those 300 have returned as I write and it seems that perhaps the others will too – but I am currently 70 shy of what my Twitter network looked like yesterday morning, and that still bothers me.
“Dear Twitter try and fix the rest of the problem soon and remember you hold some of our precious professional networks in your hands. Please look after them.”