Exploring MTBoS: Mission #2

I like blogging. I have mixed feelings about Twitter.

With blogging, I am free to talk. I can say a lot or a little, though I mostly say a lot. With Twitter, I feel like I’m writing snippets of thought without much context. Some people love the challenge of limiting their messages to 140 characters. Some think that this forces us to get to the essence of our message and cut out all the bullshit.

It generally frustrates me because I feel like I’m not being understood or I’m just not speaking clearly. But like it or not, I still read my feed every day and tweet to various folks. I may not love everything about Twitter, but I find it valuable enough.

So what don’t I like? In addition to the character limit, there are a few other things that get under my skin. The first is the endless platitudes and affirmations. They drive me nuts. If they inspire your or make you feel better during a tough spot in your day, then I’m happy for you. They don’t do that for me. I wrote about this after my very first Twitter chat. I think part of the problem is that because of the character limit, we’re left with hollow messages filling up our feeds day in and day out. The solution is that I should probably weed my list of who I follow. I need to start removing folks who add noise, not content.

My other problem is attitude. This is another issue I wrote about previously, here and here. I can’t stand the attitude among some educators that all teachers should be in a Twitter PLN, and the implication that teachers who aren’t “connected” 24/7 are somehow terrible, uncaring teachers. Look, some people love teaching so much that they like to think and talk about it all the time. “Hi, my name is Brian, and I’m an eduholic.” It works for me, but I don’t begrudge those that want a life away from their classrooms. Heck, I even want time away sometimes, and I’m not going to feel guilty about that.

The thing is, neither of these issues really apply to #MTBoS. I’ve never felt like I’m having to read crap. Instead there are always lots of interesting discussions going on about teaching, students, and math. Just within the past 24 hours I talked about strategies for getting students to be better estimators, the reasons people leave teaching, and the need to be explicit in our meanings of terms like direct instruction. Those are extremely satisfying interactions, and it’s because of my connections through #MTBoS that I had them. If it weren’t for the folks I’ve connected with in #MTBoS, I probably would have ditched Twitter completely last winter. Thankfully that isn’t the case, and I appreciate this group more and more every day.

4 thoughts on “Exploring MTBoS: Mission #2

  1. Gregory Taylor (@mathtans)

    Definitely food for thought there! Some things I agree with, and some I don’t, which is always a good sign. If we all agree, it’s boring, if we all disagree, why are we talking.
    First, I also tend to write a lot when I blog. Which is partly why I like that twitter forces me to condense… I’m also a writer, and feel like that’s a skill I need to hone. But that’s me.
    Second, I agree that affirmations aren’t helpful – particularly if you have a differing opinion, and now someone’s affirming the guy you’ve rejected! (Micro-Invalidation.) But on the other hand, sometimes you really want to be part of a conversation, and all you can think to say is, “Yeah! That’s what I would do too…” Which as you say, can also be good to hear for some. So I have no idea if we’re coming out ahead there on balance.
    Finally, great to hear that your MTBoS interactions have been positive at the least! If you notice that waning, or problems popping up, say something – as I suspect you will. I think it’s important to have people speaking up, as opposed to giving up.

    1. bstockus Post author

      I agree that things are definitely richer if we find some things to disagree about. Often I find that I blog about things that bother me, which is likely because I’m not in the classroom currently, so I can’t share all the cool things my students are doing. So instead I find myself to reacting to things, usually things I don’t agree with.

      I was happy to write a post about problem solving with my students for mission #1. That actually got me jazzed and made me miss the classroom and working with students. Hopefully I can maintain a balance. Though I do have strong opinions, I’m hardly a negative Nancy. I don’t want my blog to end up giving the wrong impression!

      And speaking of impressions, I’ve only gotten good ones from interacting with the MTBoS folks over the past year. They’re such a friendly group. I was sad that I couldn’t make it to TMC13 this year, but hopefully I’ll be able to swing TMC14. I’d like to meet some of the folks face to face.

  2. nik_d_maths

    Sweet post

    The character limit on twitter drives me nuts sometimes too; it can rip context out of a discussion point and make your tweet be completely misinterpreted. the constant re-tweet thing that happens sometimes in twitter chats is one of the reasons I don’t participate in #ukedchat – I don’t need to see the same tweet 30 times; nor do I need to see everyone patting each other on the back!

    That said; I love the MTBoS folks – maybe its because I’m closer to them so I don’t mind the things that annoy me about others I don’t know (interesting – perception of people on twitter affects your thoughts about what is tolerable; what a shocker)

    Tweet soon


    1. bstockus Post author

      Glad you liked it. I hear you about tweets lacking context and being misinterpreted. I’ve had a few instances where someone thought I was criticizing them, which was not the case at all. I made the mistake of trying to explain myself, which ultimately dug a hole and just didn’t help matters. If I’m going to criticize someone or some thing, I want them to come to my blog to get the full story!

      And, I love the MTBoS folks as well. While I don’t necessarily *agree* with everyone all the time, I don’t find that they tweet in the same (annoying to me) way as some of the other educators I follow on Twitter. Generally the conversations are on useful topics like debating something about math ed. or sharing lesson ideas. All in all, I’m so happy I connected with this group.


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