In the last few years, the community of literacy advocates has exploded. Overwhelmingly, that explosion has happened in Facebook – and it’s high time we changed that.
Facebook is home to a growing number of ‘Science of Reading’ groups, most notably the Science of Reading – What I Should Have Learned in College group, with 179,000 members and often growing by 1K per week (!).
It’s also the place where Dyslexia Moms (and Dads) have tended to connect. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; 79% of US moms check Facebook weekly, and 83% of moms say they find helpful info there, so finding a Facebook group for support squares with old habits. And predictably, as the national conversation about literacy has grown, parent groups for Science of Reading and dyslexia have been multiplying (my favorite here).
But friends, if you want to influence children’s reading outcomes in America, you need to be in Twitter. Full stop.
Twitter is the town square. Our elected leaders are there, and so are most of our superintendents. They pay attention to the public discourse about their work, and it’s happening in Twitter.
Twitter is also where you’ll find journalists, who notoriously find sources via the platform. Many reporters leave their Direct Messages open, making them easy to contact. You can also react to articles in real time, influencing public discourse about journalism without needing to pen a letter to the editor.
Critically, Twitter is the only platform that defaults to open/unlocked accounts – in contrast to Facebook, which is more of a walled garden, meaning that your superintendent and school board usually can’t see your posts.
So for literacy advoates, Twitter is where you can tell your state education secretary that you want more transparency on student reading outcomes or a better state literacy plan. Or you can tell education Secretary Cardona that he needs to focus more on literacy and less on other stuff. It’s where you can ask America’s superintendent’s association why they promoted Lucy Calkins to every superintendent in America a few years back. (Seriously, why?) These conversations have the potential to be quite impactful, if enough of us join the chorus.
Finally, you don’t need to be a power tweeter to have an impact. In fact, most Twitter accounts are just lurkers! 25% of Twitter accounts write 97% of tweets, so if you just read and Like stuff, you can be an above-average Twitter advocate. It doesn’t need to be a huge time sink; in fact, my favorite section to present in Twitter training is “How to be a stellar advocate from the grocery store checkout line.”
Yet the best case for joining Twitter is your own learning. It’s the best place to discover latest literacy articles – in fact, Twitter is where Americans most often go for news. Yet beyond the media, I promise you will learn things in Twitter which you won’t learn elsewhere, because we don’t get media coverage the gory details related to children’t literacy. You’ll find educators explaining important issues with Balanced Literacy curricula in ways that have never been covered by a journalist. You’ll find parents posting insights about popular reading curriculum; some Moms have practically become investigative journalists. You’ll find accounts dedicated to explaining the relatively new high-quality curriculum alternatives. Twitter is easily the space where I learn the most (and share the most), and I know I’m not alone.
So, while no one’s clamoring for another social media app to check, you simply must engage in Twitter if you want to advance the cause of children’s literacy.
And friends, I’m here to help. While Twitter is a fairly easy platform to use, it isn’t all self-explanatory – but I can turn you into a savvy Twitter user inside of an hour. On Thursday, October 27th at 8pm ET, I’m hosting my latest Twitter training for literacy advocates, with 101-level and 201-level info. Want to know how to search Twitter? Navigate the interface? Find the national literacy conversation? Write Twitter threads with multiple quote-tweets? I got you. Yes, I’ll send a recording to those who miss it in real time, so register here for that, too.
If we can get a fraction of the Facebook group momentum into Twitter, we can move mountains for kids. Let’s do this.