Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Power of Social Media

I learned a very important lesson this month about the power of social media. I joined Twitter just over a month ago. One of my New Year's resolution was to become more connected as an educator, and I had heard that Twitter was a great resource for staying on top of current trends in education and for connecting with other educators. I decided to jump in.

I could (and probably will!) write an entire blog post devoted to Twitter's usefulness for educators. Between #edchats and PLNs, there is a great deal to share about and a great deal for which I am thankful. I had read many articles on how to get started, but nothing I read prepared me for just how powerful Twitter can be.

During the Superbowl last month, there were several commercials that seemed to strike a cord, both positively and negatively. One commercial in particular, aired by Coca-Cola, proved to be quite controversial and ignited a wave a criticism and praise online. In case you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out below.



Many people took offense to the fact that this 'American' song was being sung in multiple languages. As an English language teacher, I work with children and adults everyday who speak languages other than English. I believe multilingualism adds great value to our society and that trying to homogenize our language does a great disservice to our potential.

Before Twitter, I would have have probably struck up a few conversations with friends and family on the subject and left it at that. This year, I decided to weigh-in and share my own thoughts with my humble group of followers (a few dozen at the time). Unbeknownst to me, my tweet was picked up by USA Today and embedded in an article that was eventually read by tens of thousands.
Over the next several days, I realized just how powerful that exposure can be. Many people from around the country and around the world tweeted back to me to express agreement or disagreement. Some were exceptionally kind, while others were much more confrontational. My small group of followers quickly doubled and I was left in awe at the power words can have when spread through social media.

I am glad that my voice became a part of the conversation and I am thankful for tools like Twitter that have allowed me to jump in. Although I'm sure that most of what I post online probably won't be picked up by mainstream media, it's good to know that my voice does matter and so does yours! Don't be afraid to take the plunge and join a community of educators who value communication and collaboration. It's never too late to start!