Twitter: Tough to get a message out, but easier to get information coming in

I’ve been blogging here for nearly four years with limited success in getting a message out.  The value of Bridge to Tomorrow has mostly been as a personal (but open) diary of thoughts on science education policy.  I use my own search box frequently to hunt down sources of information that I’ve linked and even to remember my own thinking on certain topics.

A little more than three months ago, I issued my first tweet at @PaulCottlePhys.  If the figure of merit for “getting a message out” is the ratio of followers to tweets, then my ratio (22 followers divided by 112 tweets, about 20%) is pretty dismal.  As in the case of my blog, there have been a few moments where something I tweeted seemed to deliver a message to someone who desperately needed to read it (the refusal by the Fordham Institute folks to acknowledge that their comments about deferring improvements in science education because of the implementation of the Common Core are destructive is probably the best example).

But overall, the value I’ve found in having a twitter account is the information that comes in.  For several years I’ve done nearly daily Google news searches on terms like “Florida science education” to see what’s out there.  But the tweets I get from some of those I follow have given me access to articles I would not have seen otherwise.  This morning, Education Week’s Erik Robelen (@ewrobelen) tweeted about a review on an OECD blog about a book titled The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way.  The book seems interesting, and perhaps I’ll invest in it.

But there was another little tidbit in the review, a Churchill quote:  “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”  That quote probably belongs on a plaque on the wall of my office next to the print of Picasso’s Don Quixote that an Associate Director at FSU’s Honors Office gave me on the day I left the Director’s job in 2006.

Update (8/17):  Along the lines of appropriate quotes, here is one from T.S. Eliot via one of my son’s swimming T-shirts:  “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

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