Sunday, 29 June 2014

Twtrland: I'm an EdTech Influencer? Really!

How do you become an influencer? What would you do if you were one?

Earlier this week I read a great post by Brian Fanzo, now that's no change from any other week as he's introduced me to some great Twitter chats and I enjoy his content. This particular post was called "Did they put the wrong person on the Digital Top 50 list?"

Nice Bloggers Finish First
Now I don't know if that's the first time you've read a post like this or if you're hearing about these humble influencers for the first time, if so I wonder if this might comes across as false humility or anything... not because the words from this post sound inauthentic but because you hold the view that.

"If you're on social media, you're out to be heard and to make a name for yourself"

I can assure you this is not the case! I was dragged kicking and screaming to social media and only relented when senior people at major companies said "Social Media comes with the job now."

OK, so having a digital footprint is required but these "Influencers" surely have a strategy and appearing to be "nice guys" is part of that, right? It would be easy to fake in a post or two, right?

I've been following a number of these "Influencers" in social media and community management ever since I heard about "Community Managers Appreciation Day" and as I highlighted in my ISTE13 Reflections post;

It appears to me that being influential is less of "a means to an end" for the truly successful "influencers," and more a case of their authority being a byproduct which comes from sharing knowledge and expertise because they enjoy helping others to achieve their goals. These people are generally very agreeable and approachable. To me this makes sense, after all how many people want to engage with a selfish arrogant know it all... even if they do know their industry inside and out!

Of the "influencers" that I come into contact with there are more who fit this profile than any who let their egos get the better of them.

Are you an "influencer?" find out here
I'm An Influencer? Really?

I was truly shocked when I opened a Twtrland account and searched for people involved with EdTech in the UK and see my account come up.

Find new people in your industry to follow with Twtrland
What? I thought? An influencer? I can't even get my own kids to do their homework... or stop my wife from spending money... never mind influence anything in EdTech!

And if you do want to focus on EdTech any work I do appears to get largely ignored within the area of education I would like to work in... But not elsewhere. This is a source of frustration which I have written about previously; 

I thought that Brian's post was down to earth and amusing, and I wondered if I would ever react with the same kind of humility and attitude if I ever appeared in any education lists like this, which I thought was a long way off. 
A tough question I have to ask myself from time to time
More recently I made the offer of a free trial of Crowdmark as Founder James Colliander appreciated that the model of roll out I have been working towards had merit... but is in it's early stages.

But when members of SMT unsubscribe from an update with an offer of free Tech that actually works in this pro-Tech FELTAG era, you feel anything but influential... you feel demoralized and question the value of what you're doing.

So when I logged into Twtrland I can genuinely say that it was a total shock, I sure don't feel influential. This newly discovered status saw me thinking "Are you sure they mean me?" this was followed by the though of "If they do then maybe it's not me... maybe it's them?" 

"Some sectors can be a challenging target market for startups as there are two painful truths about them 1) They are hard to reach, and 2) They have no money. The product may be compelling and users need the solution, but the supplier is not able to reach their customers effectively" David Feinleib, Why Startups Fail

This is especially true when you have some Silicon Valley EdTech startups asking if you'd be interested in working in US education. 

If It was Easy Everyone Would be Doing it!
In my EdTech report I highlight that one of the implications of education being so difficult to deal with is that opportunities for our young people are lost. I think that this is a problem that is worth keeping chipping away at, even if it does mean enduring a few personal setbacks.

Here is a an example of a lost opportunity for our young people, one that I hope I might be able to exert and influence.I have to address. After attending Ian Cleary's webinar on "How to build an award winning profitable blog in 6 months," and news of his new blog academy (Which comes with a money back guarantee), I thought;
  • There are no jobs for young people, of the jobs there are
  • Businesses are screaming out for people who can create good content
  • Teachers are looking for good PD with digital leadership
  • Students need to be taught digital citizenship 
We need to get teachers and students onto this! 
I wrote to Ian and asked if he had any intention of rolling this out in education? The reply I got was;

"I'm currently focussing in on working with businesses and it would probably take a lot of time to get accreditation set up through the colleges" 

My reply to Ian was that: "A course like this from someone with your experience could have a big impact on educators PD and student outcomes, so educators being hard to reach simply isn't good enough. This is a crazy reason when we are in the midst of high unemployment and employers are screaming out for people who can produce good content"

So I'd like to test any influence that I have with one of the best causes I can think of... an idea that could assist teachers with their Professional Development on social media, that could help students to find work and/or work for themselves, teach them digital citizenship... and has a money back guarantee.
Ian Cleary Blogging Course

Oh and the cost? That's up to you... the more educators who register an interest (regardless of geographic location) the lower the cost will be. I've already let Ian know that way to many educators pay for tech out of their own money.

We know that school and college admins don't mind paying for services once they have demonstrated value. Therefore if there are enough digital leaders in education who are interested in this to establish some case studies, the course could be free for the first intake. If you'd like to be considered for a free pilot please follow and Tweet @IanCleary that your interested during #ISTE2014 (1st July).
I'm an Educator and I'd be interested to know more about your blog course

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