This past Thursday night I was skyping with a group of 9th grade girls in Australia as my puppy was chewing on my toes.
This needs some explanation, I know, but I figured that after critiquing Twitter from a philosophical standpoint in a previous post, I needed to throw out there a cool Twitter story of productive networking to balance things out.
(Before I get started with this: totally random side-note. Being that this is my first blog, I don’t exactly know how to respond to getting comments. Do I email the commentor back and say thanks? Do I reply? Do I just let them sit there? I’ve mostly tended toward the latter, but I’m extremely grateful for the amount of people who take the time to read my blog and comment. So for the many many of you who have not been thanked for your input, I want to do so now. I’ve had a couple posts that have generated comments that really challenged my thinking, and so thanks.)
Back to my Skype conversation with Australia. One of my earliest follows on Twitter was @intrepidteacher. I picked up on him because he has blogged about the Daraja Academy before, and is a good friend of the founder Jason Doherty. In the subsequent months we’ve had a ton of solid back-and-forth about life, politics, and of course, Daraja. (For those on twitter, @intrepidteacher is one of my favorite follows and I highly recommend him. He’s good for a solid political rant or 10, some fun updates about his daughter, tons of introductions, and in general will make you think.)
Anyway, he recently introduced me to @jennyluca. She’s a librarian and tech co-ordinator for Toorak College in Mt. Eliza, a girls school in Australia. She has been working with her students and the web for years to support charitable causes, and through @intrepidteacher’s introductions, was interested in learning more about Daraja Academy. We ended up swapping a handful of emails back and forth to each other, and the next thing I know I was invited to a Skype call with her group of 9th graders to share my passion for Daraja. It was 7:30pm my time, 2:30pm the next day in Australia. @intrepidteacher skyped in after me. And now that group of motivated girls is off working on a concert/fundraiser to help support Daraja. In fact, one of the students even joined Twitter so she can ask more questions and get more info about Daraja.
So, for the many many nay-sayers out there who think that Twitter is just a narcissistic time sink (and the critiques have been piling up in light of Twitter’s mainstream popularity), I point out this story. How else could a teacher in California (me) connect with a teacher in Doha, Qater (@intrepidteacher) and subsequently connect with a teacher in Australia (@jennyluca) to get 9th grade girls involved in raising funds for a girls school in Kenya (@daraja) without the power of the Twitter? (For those that are counting, that’s 4 continents.)
I will admit that Twitter can be a repository of narcissistic banality, but without it, Australian students wouldn’t be helping Kenyan girls get a high school education..
(In other words, I still encourage everyone to go and give it a try! I’m @marklukach….see you there!)