flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Looking Back on a Week as @EduTweetOz

This week, I took control of the EduTweetOz rotation curation account. Like many, @edutweetoz provided some of my first education connections with those like Jason Borton (the first week I ever followed) and TER Podcast. For so long I had thought that it was for somebody else, those in positions of responsibility, those with something important to say. Of course, this was my own misgiving. However, I always found a reason why now was not the right time.

So even though many encouraged me, it was only this year that I finally got around to putting my hat in the ring. It really hit home when more and more people were curating for the second time. So I signed up.

I must admit that the experience was not what I necessarily expected. In part I think because I did not know what to expect, but really because it is something rather unique. I once had a run at curating the short-lived @vicpln account, but it was something of a non-event as it did not have much of following and the account never really got beyond infancy.

So here are my three takeaways from the week that was:

Finding Your Voice: Some people seem to come into the week with a real agenda. They treat it like some sort of perpetual edchat, posting nightly questions around specific themes. Others approach the week as a means of telling a particular story linked with an association or edu-organisation. This methodical manner is not mine. My intent was simply to continue the conversation. After running through various approaches, such as providing some sort of quasi-episode of This is Your Life, I decided to simply do what I usually do within my own account and respond accordingly. I was mindful of sharing too many of my own posts, I, therefore, made a concerted effort to highlight other voices in the village.

Other People’s ideas and Arguments: An odd thing that I had to deal with early on was responding to replies to past posts. This was brought to the fore when one of the account administrators posted a piece on low literacy and forgot to include [admin] in the tweet. This did not really worry me until it escalated into something akin to a tribal dance with both sides applying war paint and sharpening their spears. I am all for debates and discussions, but usually when they are mine to have and to own. I neither felt compelled or comfortable, so I just killed the conversation, quietly.

Public Notice Board: Just as it is confusing as to what voice to use with the account, I was intrigued with the number of tweets shared with the account for no clear reason. I got the impression after a few days that there are some  who use the account as something of a public noticeboard to amplify their own voice. Fine, I had the choice to retweet, but it just seems to me like bad faith. This reminds me of the lesson I learned from Alec Couros in regards to Twitter and spamming.

So what about you? Have you ever taken control of a rotation curation account? What was your experience? Did you find any challenges? As always, comments welcome.

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A #RoCur Reflection by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

14 thoughts on “A #RoCur Reflection

  1. Very interested to read your reflections Aaron as I have also agreed to take a turn at the wheel at the end of this year. Well done for putting out that fire that had nothing to do with you. That sounds a little off putting. I have had some thoughts about having an agenda and really should write them down when I have them. They may disappear into thin air by December. Impressed with your work this week Aaron. You are a natural responder.

    • I must admit that responding is something that I have really become more mindful of as a coach. I don’t think I was always so forthcoming. Creating the conditions for online conversation can be challenging.

  2. It sounds like you ‘enjoyed’ an interesting experience Aaron; somewhat different from that which one might usually have when reading, writing or responding online? It appears that you felt in some ways pulled in different directions; torn between being yourself and fulfilling the needs of the post/role, however they might be interpreted. I wonder if it’s in any way similar to the different obligations one has when moving into school roles which carry additional responsibility?

    Do you think you learned anything over and above what you do as a ‘normal’ participant in the milieu of social media?

    • The more I think about the notion of assemblages the more I feel that nothing is really seperate. If anything, I feel that a rocur account has the potential to amplify everything that is both good and bad about eduTwitter.
      One thing that I was left wondering was if people engaged differently with you when you are still doing what you ‘normally’ do. Can’t think how I would test it, but it felt as it there were some usuals who were silent.

      • Hmm, I think you’re right; evaluating that wouldn’t be easy to test retrospectively, but could probably be designed in prior to the event.
        I wonder though what the causes of that perceived silence might be? Might be nothing more than the topics covered not having any relevance, but might also be indicative of something more systemic; problems with the RoCur. That would definitely be tricky to unpick, though not impossible.

  3. I’m in the midst of ‘data walking’ and rereading the interviews, blog posts, tweets and observations I’ve made over the past year or so. One episode opened up when I was copied in on a tweet by Aaron:

    A #RoCur Reflection another @twitter reflection @IaninSheffield
    — Aaron Davis 🏘️ (@mrkrndvs) October 30, 2016

    The post referred to in the tweet was one in which Aaron was reflecting back after concluding a week occupying the ‘chair’ of a RoCur account, @EduTweetOz. RoCur is Rotation Curation and is where a different person each week takes the helm of social media account, usually Twitter. For @EduTweetOz:
    “Each week a different educator will take responsibility for tweeting. We hope that people will use the space to share their experiences, pose questions, engage in dialogue about current educational issues and help each other out.
    Guest tweeters and other educators will be showcased on this blog to share their passion for education with the wider community.”
    This was a phenomenon that I was only peripherally aware of so Aaron’s post provided the incentive to dig a little deeper.
    Aaron’s blog post provided a few insights from his perspective, but I guess different people will have very different viewpoints on what undertaking the role will have done for them. As Aaron remarked, different people have different agendas going into the role, so the account will be different depending on who is at the helm … which is I guess one of the main points. (In the week I’m writing this, Tamika Worrell used NAIDOC week as her framing, for example) There are no rules specified, other than being respectful, so people are ‘free’ to explore issues they choose, in a way they choose. Aaron felt he needed to do the things he usually does through his own account, and whilst that worked most of the time, there were a couple of things that dragged him in unexpected directions.
    I wonder what the account does though? And I guess that can be in (at least) two ways – what it does to/for/with the temporary guardian, and what it does to the audience that the account serves. What difference does it make to people? Without having enjoyed a RoCur experience, what I offer then can be no more than speculation, but I’ll take a punt.
    Firstly, it appears the account isn’t short of volunteers, and as Aaron remarked, some people have returned for a second shot. One assumes therefore that people are getting something positive out of it. It’s possible that the account gives its custodians a larger voice (it has around 12k followers) since they’re likely to be reaching more people. Not only will they be reaching more people, but in all likelihood, different people too. This has benefits for both sides in terms of exposing one another to different opinions. The host will have the benefit of offering their views to a different group of people and therefore being challenged in different ways, albeit for a short period of time. @EduTweetOz followers on the other hand, hear a different voice each week; perhaps a different voice from the ones they might normally choose to follow. An echo chamber antidote?
    Another potential outcome for the host, is that they’re obliged to at least consider that they’re temporarily inhabiting a different persona. They’re speaking from behind a different avatar. Whilst some (most?) people will aim to ‘be themselves,’ others may view it as an opportunity to be more or less radical; more or less sensitive. I wonder if this might be analogous to temporarily ‘stepping up’ in school, where you have to do someone else’s job which is a post with more responsibility than your own. I remember having to take on the Head of Department’s role early in my career and being aware that I often needed to respond differently than I would have done as me, the plain old physics teacher. There were new considerations and I changed as a result.
    I wonder too about how a given follower might be affected by an account which might be espousing one particular set of views one evening, then another the next day. Does it keep them on their toes? Do they need to step back for a moment, perhaps check the new host and their background before responding? In other words, does it encourage people to take stock before responding and to try to get a sense of where the person is coming from before sending their 140 character rant? Maybe, maybe not.
    It seems to me to that what a RoCur project offers most of all is that it stirs up the pot. It destablises the status quo and in being unsettled, we’re obliged to think in a different way. There’s a lot more to unpick here and it’s a shame I can’t devote more time to explore RoCur further, but I’m pretty sure to do it justice, it would need a full study in it’s own right! Time to write your PhD proposal …?

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  4. Ian Guest gathers together the actors associated with my post (and subsequent tweet) reflecting upon my experiences with EduTweetOz.

    The Retweet is a repeater and amplifier, causing the original message to appear and then reappear in Twitter timelines; a nudge here, a prod there. This is more than creating or extending a network of practice or personal learning network, it is networking.

    He provides a useful take on some of the human and non-human players involved in Twitter and Twitter Chats, with a particular focus on the place of the hashtag.

    Hashtags cooperate with other actors, repeat themselves and become more insistent. In collaborating with other human and nonhuman actors they do work by forging connections and facilitating communication exchanges. Hashtags don’t simply work for teachers in this regard, but work with them, sometimes coaxing, sometimes cajoling and sometimes compelling.

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