On Baseball and Social Media

Will it work? Only time will tell. But it is safe to say that perceptions of the slow pace of baseball will be mitigated by reading FB comments, in real time, as the action is unfolding. The disconnect for those who have never played the game – not even on the playgrounds of their childhood – can be offset by seeing your name and photo on a live broadcast, as you interact with a Hall of Famer or a complete unknown. The focus of truly following a game of baseball can be balanced with a need to multitask, as a live game takes up just part of your computer screen or goes mobile with you on your smartphone.

– From Eduflack’s latest on LinkedIn Pulse, Despite the Hype, MLB on Facebook Isn’t the Strikeout People Expected

Bringing Student Voice to the Ballot Box

Across the nation, folks are rightfully applauding young people for stepping forward and ensuring their voice is heard on the issue of guns. But haven’t we seen this dance before? Haven’t we seen younger generations speak loudly in the community, but then fail to turn out when it comes to voting?

The numbers of the percentage of young people voting — particularly in 2012 and 2016 — is disturbing. As valuable as marches and turnout in the streets may be, nothing is more powerful that that vote at the polling place.

Over on the BAM! Radio Network, we explore the topic, hoping that activism moves beyond the number of Twitter followers. Give it a listen.

Transforming Concerned Students Into Powerful Voices of Advocacy

We are now seeing students wanting to take a greater role whether it be in elections themselves whether it be in issues like school violence. I think we’re also seeing very slowly but we’re seeing that same thing happen in education itself where we’re seeing that for centuries now whether it be our colleges or K12 systems, schools are built largely around the system, they’re built around the adults who are there to deliver the education. And we’re seeing more and more from students that the learners themselves want to be in control. They want to be the ones that decide what is best for them. It’s why you see the rise of personalized learning in schools. It’s why you see the rise in mastery based education. I think you’re seeing the same thing as students are beginning to talk about the type of atmosphere that they want. You know we’ve we’ve seen it now as students have begun to dip their toes in issues like bullying and cyber bullying. And we’re now seeing it specifically with school violence. I think the challenge to students is we have this belief that today’s students have a shiny object syndrome that they’re focused on this right now and next week they’re going to be focused on something completely different.

From Eduflack’s recent interview with Doug Simon and DS Simon Media on The Power of Social Media Live and the Modern Education System. Come for the transcript, but really just watch the video. It is far more engaging (and it shows that Eduflack doesn’t just stay in his basement)

When It Comes to Online Info, We Only Have Ourselves to Blame

Even forgetting all of that, we can’t overlook that Cambridge Analytica was simply mining data (and microtargeting voters) based on the information that we willingly, easily, and freely handed over. While we may not have answered the quiz or clicked on the link to specifically provide voter targeting data to a political campaign, we shouldn’t be surprised when our information is used for that purpose. No, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn there is gambling in Casablanca.

Consider that I can learn a lot from a person based on the websites they link to from their Twitter accounts. Thanks to procedural cop shows, we all should know how easy it is to track criminals through their online search histories. Instagram can be just as reliable as a dark house in telling me if someone is home. And LinkedIn can help my employer know if I am looking to move to a new job.

School House Rock taught us that information is power. We shouldn’t be surprised when people use it to strengthen their positioning. Short of going off the grid entirely (or voting straight Libertarian), there will always be those who gather our information and use it for their own benefit.

From Eduflack’s latest on LinkedIn Pulse, Don’t Blame Facebook Data, It’s Your Fault!

Donald Trump as Social Media’s Howard Stern

Our national obsession with the Twitter habits of President Donald J. Trump continues. But as we rush to critique the latest overnight bursts, as former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama recently have, maybe we need to recognize that Trump has mastered the medium that so many of us merely play in.

Over at LinkedIn Pulse, dear ol’ Eduflack explores how Trump is using forums like Twitter as they are intended, shying away from the better angels calling for editing, review, and restraint when it comes to social media.

And as usual, I take it a step further, comparing Trump’s Twitter skills to the radio prowess of Howard Stern during the shock jock’s heyday at WNBC, while Michelle Obama’s model is far more akin to slices of processed cheese.

Give it a read here.

The Blue Bird of Ed Advocacy, 2017 Edition

After a year’s hiatus, Education Next magazine and the Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrilli today released its annual list of the Top Education Policy People and Organizations on Social Media. The lists are definitely worth a gander.

As someone who spends a great deal of time on the education policy Interwebs, I was pleasantly surprised by how this year’s rankings shook out. We are seeing more voices of color on the respective lists than in previous years. We continue to see members of the media strongly represented. And, from dear ol’ Eduflack’s perspective, we tend to see fewer members of the “education reform” community, both individually and as organizations, on these lists than we did in previous years.

Petrilli and EdNext smartly included a list of “Other Educators to Follow,” which provides a terrific list of classroom voices who are providing important insights, as they should, into the education discussion.

The top five education policy people on social media (meaning Twitter and measure by Klout score) are: 1) Diane Ravitch; 2) Randi Weingarten; 3) John White; 4) Xian Franzinger Barrett; and 5) Patrick Riccards (they really like me) and Andy Smarick.

Based on total Twitter followers, the top five education people are: 1) Ravitch; 2) your Eduflack; 3) Weingarten; 4) Alfie Kohn; and 5) Betsy DeVos.

The top five education organizations on social media (by Klout score) are: 1) NEA; 2) U.S. Department of Education; 3) Edutopia; 4) Teach for America; and 5) Ed Surge.

Based on followers, the top five orgs are: 1) U.S. Department of Education; 2) Edutopia; 3) Education Week; 4) Huffington Post Education; and 5) US News Education.

Yes, the ranking still uses Klout scores. Folks can get all over Petrilli for this (as they do every year), but if you do, how about offering another quantifiable metric? In this instance, Klout is like VAM scores. It is a vastly imperfect measure, but it is still the best one available.

And yes, the focus is on K-12 education folks and organizations. So those focused on higher education are not the focus of these lists.

A huge thank you to all of those who follow @Eduflack on Twitter and find enough value in what I offer to retweet and like my randomness. Just about everything on Eduflack is education related. I try to stay way from personal opinions, and instead focus on news articles and research studies in education. From time to time, I will offer personal opinions. And from time to time, I will include posts on the NY Mets, MMA fighting, and Guatemala. I strive to make it a relatively impartial clearinghouse of education policy info.

Please check out all of the lists on Education Next. And if you are on Twitter but aren’t following someone on those lists, be sure to add them to your feeds immediately!

 

Is It Too Much to Ask for a Little Civility

As Hurricane Harvey was bringing devestation to Texas over the weekend, EdSec Betsy DeVos did what most public officials do during such disasters. DeVos tweeted her thoughts and prayers to those affected by the hurricane, noting that the US Department of Education is prepared to help. 

It’s what is expected. It usually gets little notice. It’s what we do. 

But this tweet was different. What was a pro forma statement by a government leader became a lightning rod. Sportscaster turned talk show host turned Resistance instigator Keith Olbermann saw a need to respond. Knowing that DeVos remains controversial was too much for Olbermann to pass up. So he tweeted this response. 


The Saturday Olbermann message has been, as of Monday morning, been retweeted more than 17,000 times and favorited more that 48,000 times. Anti-Trumpers across the country celebrated the former ESPN newsreader for being so bold. 

Really? Have we gotten to the point where using a tragedy to both personally insult a government leader and use some of the vilest language possible in the process? Is this the new normal?

I get that the Resistance believes that shocking, ugly language is the best way to make its point. Dear ol’ Eduflack has written about the dangers of such an approach previously. But what are we really saying here?

If a teacher used such language in the classroom, would we now be OK with it? What if it was said in relation to the President? Or to those who organize nazi rallies? Would that be ok?

What if a teacher used it in relation to Robert E. Lee? Or slave-owning Founding Fathers? What if a conservative teacher used it in relation to Obama? Or to Hillary?

We quickly forget that our kids watch us closely and model our words and our actions. When we, as parents, cheer over the use of such language, we tell our kids it’s permissible. We condone such ugliness with our kids. Heck, we celebrate it. 

At the end of the day, Olbermann got exactly what he wanted. He was cheered by the left Nd celebrated on social media. But he has added nothing to the debate, nor has he contributed to the discourse. All Olbermann has done is take a rhetorical level we thought was as low as it could get, and drive it deeper into the mud and muck. 

And that’s a cryin’ shame. Our political discourse deserves better. And so do our kids.