I was thinking about the power of twitter and growing my PLN today when I was cutting the grass. It is like my zen time where my mind is free from the distractions of life. Anyway, I was thinking about my amaIng PLN and the whole experience I have had since diving into twitter about a year ago. There are educators who some call eduallstars or edu rockstars. Some embrace this label some dislike it. Last summer there was lots of discussion about this topic along with the thoughts on following and followers and what those numbers mean.
I will admit when I started on twitter I wanted to have my number of followers be very high. I liked the idea that people were in tune with the ideas and resources I was sharing. Then I saw my numbers grow especially on the side of who I was following. Well last week during my weekly #sstlap chat I decided to try something new. I wanted to get to know my PLN better. We did a speed dating type chat and it was an amaIng experience to get to know more about these people who many I only know as an icon or through their educational views. So back to the numbers. Well after the chat I realized how little those numbers mean. Numbers don't lead to quality relationships or connections. They didn't make me a better educator. I had wanted to have the big numbers like the eduallstars. What I realized is the higher the number grows the less I know about the people in my PLN. The less I can connect with them. The fact is the more people you follow the more opportunity you have to learn from people but it also means your twitter feed fills up a lot faster and you miss more great ideas.
So do I want to have big numbers? Well I definitely want to continue to expand on the people I follow because they are people I learn from. The number of people follow me doesn't matter. That is not to insult those who are following me, but rather to say my focus for twitter is to learn from others.
Sitting at the cool kids table-well that is like going back to high school where being accepted and social status were king. Today it is about learning, growing and sharing with others to help each other improve. As we get better so does our classroom environment and inturn the experience we provide our students. There are educational rockstars and they deserve to be recognized for being pioneers, innovators who are setting the bar for the rest of us. However keep in mind they are dedicated educators like all of us who are striving to reform and improve education. While most of us are not eduallstars, or at least not yet, we should celebrate where we are in our journey. Don't miss out on connections and opportunities to reach your goals by blindly chasing numbers. It isn't about numbers or awards but the journey to be the best educator you can be.