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EdTech Update




« Tech abuse | Main | Achieving consistent happiness »

Social media - overwhelmed and feeling guilty

OK, Utecht, cut it out. I know I should be playing with Google+, but give me a break. I can't keep up with the social networks I have now.

I'm already feeling guilty that...

  • 99% of the tweets I receive go by unread and I get to Twitter only a few times a week.
  • I skim my GoogleReader, diving into only about 5% of posts.
  • I haven't wished anyone happy birthday on Facebook for six months
  • I've never had a single useful interaction with anyone on LinkedIn and turn down most requests for connections.
  • My blogging is slipping.
  • I can't keep up with the half dozen email lists to which I am subscribed.
  • Our district is only just getting rolling with Edmodo this year.
  • While I have had a Google+ account since they were first offered a year ago, I haven't done anything constructive with it - not even a Hangout.
  • Don't even go there with Pininterest, FourSquare, Instagram, and the "social" components of YouTube, Slideshare, Delicious, and other Web2.0 tools.

And here's the scary thing. Unlike most of the young teachers here on staff, I don't really have much of a life outside my professional interests. I don't go to sporting events or watch TV. I don't have a young family that demands my attention. I don't have hobbies like woodworking or car restoring or cross-dressing. (Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.) I enjoy technology and learning new things, but for me this is all becoming overwhelming.

Jeff, I still value a graphic you created some years ago. Uh, it's this one: 




Remember it?

Here's my question: Is the ability to select and discriminate among social networking tools a needed, teachable skill? Or should every tool be used by every teacher?

My thought is that when any pundit recommends a new tool, they be required to suggest a tool that is no longer useful. 

So, buddy, what is getting less attention from you now that Google+ is getting more attention? I certainly hope it is not Ms Utecht or the Mariners. 

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Reader Comments (8)

I use Twitter and Google +. Never really got into Facebook. Twitter, to me, is more like a feed reader but I do post some. That's the one I follow more librarians/educators on.

Google + is growing on me, but then I do have other interests. I've found some circles of other sci-fi geeks and a lot of cool scientists there. I have a "Librarians/Educator" circle, but apparently Larry Ferlazzo is the only one who posts there.

So I think it's whichever network works for you and your style of reading/posting. Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to use it. You're right, there's way too many.

I think if I had to pick just one, I'd go with Twitter just because there's just less decisions to make.

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Randolph

BTW, he and I have corresponded and can find no apparent common ancestry.

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGregU

I read your tweet (s) and your blog. I would classify you as a bit curmudgeonly. That's a compliment. I hope to be you some day.

Although I've been using twitter for over 5 years, I hesitate to mention it or push it as something educators have to use. My advocation for a tool or space only comes in my ability to articulate and model its value. Even then, I've chose the "describe, not prescribe" model. I don't think Jeff's intent was to prescribe but I understand why it comes across that way and thus have been highly cognizant of avoiding that tone because of the feelings you shared here.

Use G+, don't use G+, I couldn't care less. If you can give me a compelling reason to do so, I might. For me the Hangout feature is still the only thing there I've found useful. I do like that Jeff's suggesting there might be value but unlike many who were on the twitter bandwagon a few years back, I was equal parts embarrassed by my use of it, (still am in the sense that I continue to share about my naps and dogs) and also my inability to fully articulate its value and certainly wasn't able to suggest that others would find it as well. To this day, I'll reference twitter in a presentation but rarely go beyond that unless I"m sure I'll have a chance to remind folks, nothing is for everyone.

All that rambling to say, I here ya.

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDean Shareski

When it comes to social media, the most important thing you can do for yourself is try to be everywhere all at once. Pick two or three places, max, that you want to have a meaningful presence or places that you enjoy most.

Not everyone enjoys the speed and the brevity of Twitter, and that's alright. You don't have to read every tweet and I would recommend not doing such-- in fact, Twitter has started sending out helpful digests of content you may have missed. Alternately, only 10% of Twitter users create content-- their 100 million active users log in and consume it at least once a month. It's alright to hit "Read All" in your RSS reader, too -- those things are built for skimming, and sometimes the best thing about them is the Instapaper "Read Later" feature. If you get the most from blogging, blog. If you get the most out of content discovery on twitter, tweet. But do what you enjoy and what won't stress you out.

It's one thing to know about all of the tools and networks that exist and the best ways to use them when needed, but it's too easy to be a jack of all trades and master of none when it comes to being connected. Some of the people who appear to be the most social media savvy end up posting the same content to eight different networks when one or two would suffice, proving that having an account and knowing when to use it are two different things entirely.

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessy

Great post - something I have thought about when suggesting students or teachers try a new service or application. No one really wants to add something new to their schedule - they want something different. If I can suggest something new that replaces two older services, then I know I have a great idea.

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKenn Gorman

The whiteboard sums it up.

Mortality, if recognized, messes up our global e-media. We have finite time in a culture that cannot recognize death.

Do what matters, as you do (I may be your number one fan), but this kind of guilt is not worth the time of a man of your stature.

Just sayin'....

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Doyle

Great post, Doug! I totally agree with all of your points. I stay behind on my Twitter feed, my blogs and sometimes stay off Facebook for several days. The only difference is that I've stopped feeling guilty. I used to try to keep up with all of the new web 2.0 tools, but now it's just impossible. There are so many new ones everyday. We can't possibly keep up. But we can learn how to use some of them really well and call it a day. We can realize we won't know everything about everything - and that's okay. I think this realization came for me when I consciously decided not to invest in Pinterest. I knew I didn't have time for yet another network. I'm cool with that. I don't have 24 hours a day to give to the interwebs.
We can still teach well and be good librarians without being an expert on every single social network out there. :)

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam Hill

Hi Ninja,

I sometimes wonder if people had to actually pay - even 10 or 25 cents - each time he or she posted to Twitter if the quality if the Tweets might go up? Even being very selective about whom I follow, I get a lot of worthless stuff.


Hi Greg,

There are people who claim to be related to you?

Hope your school year is off to a great start. Staying busy at TIES? How was the great European adventure?


Hi Dean,

I think I was a curmudgeon when I was 12. It's a noble calling.

I admire the folks who experiment and find value in new, especially non-educational, technologies. But what I really admire are the folks who are very discriminating about what they endorse. What's the sense in being the first to promote something of little value to educators?

Grump, grump, grump.

Busy start to the school year.

Thanks for the comment,


Solid advice, Jessie. Thanks for the comment.


Hi Kenn,

Respecting the time constraints of teachers is so important. Anything around here of even slightly questionable value gets a lot of eye rolls!


Hi Michael,

It is purely tongue in check guilt. I sleep just fine knowing I am not on Google+

Have a great start to your school year.


Thanks, Pam. Nice to know I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed some days.

Hope you are having a great start to your school year.


August 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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