It only takes one pigeon

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I learned a lesson this afternoon. I have been an avid, albeit intermittent user of social media, since “the wild west days” (a Peter Ford phrase) of the early 2000’s. I have always been fascinated with it’s purpose and use. I tweeted a picture of the solitary pigeon who wandered onto my Jubilee line train at West Hampstead is afternoon, alighting one stop later at Kilburn. It was retweeted or made favourite more times than any other message. This experience has made me realise that it is the novel, fascinating, unique and different that is at the heart of the power and potential of what we share across our networks. The perspectives we bring can strike a chord with others and make links with that which is interesting whether personally, professionally, intellectually, socially or aesthetically.

Here is, therefore, the message for anyone – personally or professionally – in using social media. When I’m asked about its purpose in education, my response is that it is to share students’ learning, promote and celebrate events and achievements and provide your community – teachers, pupils, parents, governors – a voice. That this may be occurring in exactly the same way in many other schools is not the point. The point is that what is going on in your community is unique to your community and worthy of a platform. There are many within your organisation who will gain value from recognising that their endeavours are shared and that connections are made between communities.

The pigeon on my train was only a common London pigeon, loathed by many, and under any other circumstance would have been rather unwelcome. But for that brief journey, he (or she) became a personality worthy of their own small slice of recognition. I was merely there to share the pigeon’s experience and in doing so, I clearly struck a chord. Especially as the bird seemed to know exactly when to get off. And therein lies another message about brevity…

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