ISTE 2010 - Can you ever really know that edublogger beside you?
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
On the Internet, we write ourselves into existence.
That’s a wonderful thing. It allows us to reach audiences that we otherwise wouldn’t reach. It allows us to try on personas - and perhaps to reinvent ourselves - in ways that may be difficult in our everyday, face-to-face interactions.
But it also can be misleading.
Several recent incidents have caused me to revise some of my pre-existing beliefs about a few fairly prominent education bloggers. I now think and feel differently about them than I did just a few months ago, simply because I now have more information and thus a more complete picture of who they are.
I’ve been thinking about this as I get ready to head to the ISTE conference later this week. I won’t necessarily be wary as I interact with my edublogger peers, but I may be just a little less willing to accept things as they appear on their face. Not much, just a tiny bit. Most of the time people are as they appear - face-to-face or online - and I’d rather be a naive, trusting optimist than a negative, surly skeptic. But we have to recognize that we all also have secrets, ones that may remain uncovered because of geographic and/or interactional distance.
That edublogger who’s active in Twitter every evening and has a bunch of followers? He seems cool but maybe he beats his kids.
That edublogger with 20,000 subscribers and a heart of gold online? She seems great but maybe she’s cheating on her spouse. Or a cutter.
That charming, effervescently cheery and witty edublogger that everyone loves to hang out with at the conference? He seems wonderful but maybe he’s embezzling funds. Or a kleptomaniac. Or a drunk driver.
As you head to the ISTE conference later this week, or simply interact with folks online, I leave you with the thought:
Can you ever really know that edublogger beside you?
Update: I'm not as pessimistic as this may read. I'm just thinking out loud here...