language learning and teaching (I was Communications rep for UCML for some years),
european language networks (I still hold a communications role for EuroCALL)
open education (curating on open practice and through the Open Ed SIG) and
My use of Twitter has been fundamental to all of these roles. The open nature of the platform enabled me to make connections and build a network. I became proficient at using tools such as TAGS Explorer and Wakelet to curate tweets and provide insights against hashtags which could inform strategic direction for these causes. The networks and connections have made a real difference to my professional and personal life.
|Image from Pixabay CC0|
The openness of social media has been vital to the visibility of connections such as this, likeminded educators have been able to share wisdom. Sadly we only hear about the more negative aspects of openness such as the use of platforms to spread false discourse and harmful abuse. I have always maintained that we need to be present in such environments in order to understand how they work and call out abuse. In much the same way as bringing light to dark environments in physical spaces.
I recently attended at #socmedHE22 conference hosted at Northampton Uni by the lovely Hala Mansour where I was able to share my #openbadges work and meet up face to face for the first time in ages with old and new friends for the first time since the first lockdown. My second attendance at this small but likeminded grouping. Many friends have been contacts through #LTHEchat another vibrant network of open practice which relies on Twitter as a platform. It is clear that many years of interaction will be lost if we all decided to leave en masse. Not something I can bear to contemplate so I stay and curate my Twitter feed with a vengeance to block and mute the voices I cannot tolerate.
As many uses of social media become "mainstream" parts of organsational communications strategies there will no doubt be further attempts to monetise the content and control the discourse and so those of us who work (unpaid of course) to uphold social justice will have to continue to consolidate our networks, amplify our influence to counter the voices of the powerful, wealthy 1% and treasure our values. Currently I am experiencing Discord and Mastedon as places where this can happen. I hope to see that further through the OER23 conference backchannels too. Once platforms move behind paywalls more people will be excluded from participation and the existing inequities are further widened. I am therefore placing a call to arms for those who are active in this space to consider the ethical implications of their actions. We have much to lose. On a personal note I will also continue to support and advocate for the work of the Internet Archive as a means of protecting years of recent history mediated through social media platforms.