I shared a blog post a few months ago (Everybody shares, nobody reads) about our consumption of information from blogs and Twitter. I’ve since shared my frustrations with numerous colleagues about the large amount of surface conversation out there, both online and at face-to-face gatherings. I may seem a little judgmental and cynical with this post, but I’m OK with that…I’m trying to provoke some deeper conversation.
Surface conversation is fine, but it cannot be the majority of what we do. “Surfacy” conversation can be reinforced by the formats that we use today – Twitter, Twitter chats, blogs that are often 500 words or less, bite sized podcasts, etc. These are great places to find our focus/passion and connect with like-minded individuals. But here is where I’m a little perplexed – Where do these conversations grow and develop beyond the surface interactions? I see blogs from major organizations and thought leaders that have zero to a handful of comments but thousands of shares. I see people who mindlessly RT content I bet they haven’t read. How does these actions contribute to a deeper conversation around ideas? If I’m missing something, please tell me where these conversations are happening.
I wonder if this is a larger issue of information literacy. We are so inundated with information, in every possible area of interest, that we become paralyzed. We lose any and all sense of focus. We don’t prune our “following” list; in fact, we mindlessly follow to increase some irrelevant number. We don’t slow down; we whip our social media life into a high pitched frenzy in fear we will miss out on something. In actuality, we miss out on a lot – deeper, richer thinking and conversation. We don’t actually read blog posts and comment on them (and revisit to engage in the conversation). I know…you say we can’t possibly read and engage in everything that comes our way, but let’s ask ourselves how discerning we are and how focused we are to take the conversations that interest us to a deeper level. How much of our “conversation” reflect deep thinking and rich engagement with ideas – beyond the vapid “great post” feedback? Am I generalizing or is this lack of depth in our thinking (as a profession) a real problem?
What would our schools be like if we made connections (online and offline), found a focus and actually engaged in deeper conversations around that focus? OK…rant over. Looking forward to any comments and pushback…