This might be a virtual slice of life, or perhaps a slice of virtual life. At any rate, it comes from the world of Twitter, and it's been the trickiest slice for me to capture so far this month.
Amid the ceaseless flow of a chat this morning, I had my first experience with Twitter's potential for sudden riptides. I observed a group of educators get swept up in a thread's intensifying current. The crux, as paraphrased by yours truly: Can teachers collaborate in a spirit of collegiality (as opposed to zero-sum competition) if they must both strive to fulfill curricular mandates and simultaneously make what they're teaching so engaging that students would still come learn if given the choice? Somewhere in there lie ideals worth striving for, I suspect, but not ones conducive to being hashed out within character constraints and without nonverbal cues. Instead, in today's chat tempest, assumptions were perceived, feelings apparently hurt. Any time a participant attempted to clarify a comment merely served to punch more holes in a floundering vessel. One participant typed about feeling "pummeled" by others' judgments.
My take-away now, a few hours later: No communication medium is without its flaws and pitfalls. Experience is teaching me ways to navigate the rising, tumultuous digital tide on Twitter and signaling when I simply need to get out of the water for a bit. I'll get back in, though, because that's proven my best way to learn how to jigsaw content, intent, and digital tools more effectively. For instance, Twitter is excellent for sharing -- less so for debating and persuading, as today reminded me.