I’m rather late to the party on this one. I’ve tried most of the social networks and the only ones that I’ve really stuck with are Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook started out as being a very private thing for me, connecting only with my friends and mainly for a bit of online banter. It then morphed into something else – around the time that my parents joined and my work colleagues became ‘friends’. This completely changed the dynamic of the network, which changed even more when companies and celebrities starting seeing the potential access they had to the public.
Instagram, on the other hand, has never been about personal contacts. I know very few of the people I follow on Instagram, and that makes my use of it a little more free and easy.
Twitter was once described as your’Facebook status on crack’. And it can be. People will happily tweet tens of times per day and quite possibly about completely inconsequential things. But that’s fine. That’s how they choose to use the platform. However, and this is what I’ve only recently discovered, there is a world of Twitter folk who share very interesting and useful things – you just need to find them, your tribe.
At the JALT conference, I noticed that a lot of people had a professional face on the internet, not just Facebook or Snapchat. This is partly why I’m blogging now, to create a space for my professional self and to allow that to be separate from my private online accounts. Twitter also came up as one of the main ways that people publicly share information. The great thing about Twitter is that it is totally open. There are followers, but no friends. That provides much more freedom to connect with people. Creating a Twitter account solely with the aim of expanding my ELT horizons allowed me to immerse myself in the discussions going on. Click through a few hashtags and you can quickly find your tribe. It was truly wonderful to discover that there are thousands of people out there who are excited and passionate about teaching English. Twitter, I’m sorry – I completely misunderstood you!