Earlier today, I sent a link to a student’s Twitter account to a staff member in the school he attends with a request that she share the link with a counselor in the school. I read some things that caused me to worry for him. Nothing too extreme, the sorts of things that kids, particularly young adults in the space between adolescence and adult, say and that are important. I like this particular student; I only met him briefly in a presentation at a school in the district, but I’ve enjoyed getting to know him a bit better from his tweets. Smart kid. Needs some attention. Worth it.
I find much of value in getting to interact with many district students via Twitter, my preferred channel for such interaction. Our students are online, and they are curious about the world, and they have things to teach us, if we are prepared to listen and learn them.
But sometimes, they will say things that may make us uncomfortable. When that happens, it is up to us to follow up. That’s the job.
If I go to a conference of school counselors and/or social workers, is there going to be someone there talking specifically about how we should be using social media in our work roles? I hope so...
Also, while I'm no twitter fan, it seems vastly better to me for communicating with K-12 students than, say, Facebook, since you don't really have a profile and the semantics of "following" are very different than "friending." I can imagine getting in trouble for something one of my "friends" posts on my (or their) wall (or whatever), but it would be a lot harder to get in trouble for something posted by someone I "follow."