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Do twendships exist?

Posted by: | October 5, 2010 | 3 Comments |

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” –Anonymous

I am not a mushy person by nature. Really, I’m not. I know you have read the first quote of this post and might have thought, “Hey, isn’t this blog about leadership and education?” I promise you I haven’t fallen off message—stick with me for a moment.

The more I am in educational leadership, the more I realize the power of positive relationships among colleagues. It is amazing the quality of work that can be accomplished when there is a level of trust between everyone. I wrote in a previous post the value in strong relationships on the productivity of teams. I stand by the fact that there is no substitution for taking the time to break down barriers and establish a level of trust among colleagues.

In planning for professional development for our principals a few weeks ago, my colleague Sean Nash reminded me of this image he had posted on our district’s online professional network over a year ago (feel free to click on the image to see the full size). It is from a blog post by Mike Arauz:

Picture 1

This made me immediately start thinking about my other “friends” and colleagues in the digital world. Since I began my global learning journey via Twitter, I have “met” numerous people.  These are folks with some of my same interests who I would not have otherwise had a connection with had we not all been using Twitter to learn. I think some people equate believe Twitter is a social media tool used only to socialize. In actuality, I would counter that for me it is a social LEARNING tool.  I have learned an enormous amount of information from folks with whom I interact on Twitter.

friends-team

Even more, I’ve found friendships with folks online–ones that run exemplify every piece of the above spectrum.  I know things about people I’ve never even met and will likely never meet. I know when their kids go to Kindergarten for the first time, when they get frustrated at work, and when they go out for coffee.  I know when their family members lose their jobs, when they get a new pet, when their pets die, and the name of the particular philosopher or thinker has influenced them the most.  I read their latest blog posts, I converse with them about a picture they post, and I congratulate them on promotions. In a way, these are my co-workers, too, and there is nothing wrong with feeding those relationships either.  There are some I haven’t had the guts to speak with yet…but I will. I believe the more I continue to use Twitter and this blog as a social learning tool, the more solid friendships I will form with folks I will likely never meet.

More importantly, though, is the enormous growth I have and will continue to experience, as I get more and more comfortable with sharing and collaborating in a global, digital world. That is something immeasurable, yet so powerful, and this leader wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Images

Spectrum of Online Friendship by Mike Arauz on Mike Arauz: The Blog

Timeout: Drawing Up the Final Play by A. Strakey on Flickr

under: Education, Leadership
Tags: , , , , ,

3 Comments

  1. By: debbie sisco on October 6, 2010 at 5:59 am      

    How true… how true. My largest distrust of the digital world was that there was a lack of the human element. Funny thing, As I move in this direction I’m reconnecting wi.h old friends, strengthening relationships with family member scattered about the planet, and making new friends that, like you, I may never meet in person.

    In addition, my conversations with fellow principal’s in the district have moved beyond just conversation surrounding the behaviors of students they send to my program.

    Thank you for opening this world to me.

  2. By: Laura Nelson on October 6, 2010 at 6:45 am      

    Well put.

  3. By: drdial on October 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm      

    Isn’t it funny how something that folks perceive as a barrier to friendships, collaboration, and communication can really be tools for enhancing these three things if used correctly? :)

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