When I first started tweeting in 2015 it was done as a shout out to have a voice. There was a lot of frustration. As a head of a small coastal primary, the world of education was happening to me, and I was literally voiceless.
In retrospect I wish I’d given myself a better name, @smithsmm is a rubbish twitter name. I could have been @CoastyHead or @Rantyhead.
Twitter allowed me to do two things, firstly share my passion for picture books. #PicturebookPage has literally hundreds of books posted on the hashtag. Secondly to have a voice on education, to challenge, discuss and learn from others. It was exciting and clandestine.
There were moments where I would be swarmed on by Dementors, I learnt very quickly to not talk phonics on Twitter mainly because you’d be launched on by secondary Maths’s teachers who’ve taught nobody to read but know how to do it better than anybody else. I remember very early on being attacked for mentioning picture books, this was by some very prominent #edutwitter voices and then their followers, I invited them to come, and I’d explain them to them, I held my own, but the experience left me shaken. I almost walked away at that point. The same people 7 years later still do the same thing, regularly shouting down others and belittling them.
I avoided challenging; I kept my head down. I found some like-minded people; some people were massively supportive. I enjoyed talking with them.
I started to have confidence in my voice, enthused by this I decided to blog.
Now let’s be clear I’m not a writer, the anxiety of writing stuff and putting it out has often been overwhelming. Every time I write I am swamped by imposter syndrome. However, I persevered. I wrote things and no-one read them and that was OK. Writing was ultimately for me.
I enjoyed writing, I enjoyed twitter. I got opportunities. I was asked to write some pieces for the TES (never thought that would happen). I presented at Learning First and ended up between Michael Tidd (a twitter superstar) and Dame Alison Peacock. I had some jokes, more importantly I felt like I had a voice. I met some good people.
I rolled with it, I found my tribes, I muted then blocked some of the voices. I got to do more stuff, including a keynote at @PrimaryRocks1 with @ChrisDysonHT.
Twitter was a good place and a nice part of my life. Then March 2020 hit. Twitter was a saviour in the early days of the pandemic, however…
The last two years have led to a life that has been increasingly lived online. I sit back and look at how in some-ways my online life has begun to dominate my real life and I realise I need to “Get Busy Living”
Twitter is for me is no longer a torrid love affair.
This isn’t a goodbye but it is a see you around. A re-balance. More time looking up and less time looking down.