Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Twitter is Down: Good Time to Thank Ev Williams!

At the time of writing Twitter is down. Panic stations! What do I do? How do I communicate to the outside world? Should I take to other channels and vent about one of my faviourite social media platforms being down?

Nah! Apart from anything, I'm used to an intermittent internet connection with my old tech and other connectivity issues that have affected me over the past few years. So I think I'll use this time to reflect on a few differences between education and tech companies and to thank Ev Williams for giving this random EdTech sales guy a voice.

Twitter Down: Panic, Vent or Laugh?
So I can't Tweet out to people at the moment. I've been assisting DigCitSummit Co-Founder Marialice Curran with her UK Digital Citizenship Summit, a project that started as a Tweet and will culminate this Saturday (23rd January) with a conference about the safe, savvy and ethical use of technology at Bournemouth University. This conference has been crowdsourced by educators, students, parents, EdTech suppliers and industry experts over the course of the past 8 weeks.

Not being able to Tweet out or DM people involved has affected some last minute preparations as Twitter is down. Should I be frustrated and vent? Or should I celebrate the fact that the micro-blogging site has facilitated this event?

How strange that something that a service that I derided for the first 4 years of it’s existence and which costs me nothing to use that today I demand that it work on demand 24/7. Then I dare to even think about getting frustrated on one of the few occasions that I can’t access it?

I pay nothing for use of a service  I’ve come to rely on? 

Our attitude to Tech sure is a funny old game today, and I think this is more than apparent in education than in many other sectors.

Can you imagine getting annoyed with your local supermarket if they stopped you when you tried to walk out of the shop without paying for your shopping?

But this is the expectation, we expect our tech free? Weird or what!

Or what if we were to ask Connected Educators, what would you miss most if it took a day off, education policy makers at central and local authorities or your faviourite tech tools?

Culture! Culture! Culture!
Being involved with the UK Digital Citizenship Summit I've experienced the confusing culture that education policy makers have as well as the fantastic can-do attitude when educators self organise and just "get stuck into" a project... and I know which I'd have the more faith in when it comes to getting stuff done! 

Given the choice I have been and will continue to explore a number of ideas where my preferred option is to collaborate with innovative, growth mindset educators and various tech tools just to see what happens and what might be achieved... whether or not any policy makers and the "good and the great of education" choose to engage.

We've seen some fantastic collaboration with various educators and industry experts over the last few weeks. The job title and organisation people represented in their day job didn't matter a jot! What mattered is the willingness to get involved, and then do all that's possible to implement an "No Asshole Rule" and environment

The Why of Companies, Not the What...
Something that intrigues me if the "Why" of companies more than the what:

"Every venture, at its inception, is imbued with a core purpose and set of values that emanate from the founder, shape the organisations culture and largely define its future, for good or ill.


Amazon is famous for its "customer obsession" largely because of its founder, Jeff Bezos, is hell bent on making it the "world's most customer-centric company." Google's mission to "organise the world's information" reflects its founders surroundings - Silicon Valley and Stanford" David Robertson, Brick by Brick 

This is echo'd in other books like Jim Collins advice that you get "The right people on the bus first" AND THEN decide on the destination.

This is highlighted in the book that I'm reading at the moment Nolan Bushnell's "Finding the Next Steve jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent"

"Tiffany & Co started out as a stationery store. Nokia was once a paper mill. Berkshire Hathaway began as a textile manufacturer. Kutol Products (Play Doh) was a soap company. 3M began life as a Minnesota mining company"

Likewise, Twitter started out as a podcasting company but realised their idea would have problems when Apple created Itunes. Micro-blogging was a fun project.

Thank You Ev Williams!
Before reading "Hatching Twitter" I was aware that Ev Williams was a Tech entrepreneur I had no idea how instrumental a role he has played in giving me a voice!

Ev Williams created Blogger before going on to be a Co-Founder of Twitter. His "core purpose and set of values" seems to be about giving more people a voice

"We built both Blogger and Twitter with the ethos that more people having a voice in the world is a good thing." Ev Williams

Ev has now moved onto Medium and something that I've also found really interesting is articles like his "Inside Medium" blog posts.

All of my experiences to date are 100% in line with MIT's Bill Aulet's advice that "Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast." Culture matters A LOT and isn't rated at all by education policy makers (As evidenced by the number of times the word "Culture" features in documents like Ofsted's "Common Inspection Framework" documents).

So THANK YOU Ev Williams for giving me a voice and being able to connect with educators like Marialice Curran and her group of volunteers who have taken a random Tweet and ran with it (In between managing their day jobs and family lives) to pull the UK Digital Citizenship Summit together over the course of the last 2 months. 


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