Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Follow Fridays

Since my first days on Twitter, I always wondered about the #FF hashtag. "Follow Fridays" ? What did that mean?

I've since come to know that it means (in simple terms) "You should be following this person."

I could never get on this trend. I have thought of it every Friday, as I see so many #FF tweets, but I can't bring myself to tweet out any! And here's my reason (excuse?): There are SO MANY educators I'd like to see people listen to... I can't choose just a few for tweets! Lame excuse? Maybe. But it's something I haven't done, and I'm okay with that. It's not that I don't find #FF tweets to be useful (I find myself following many of the suggested people) or humbling (I am always humbled when my name is tagged on one); it's just that this is not how I choose to spend my time tweeting.

So how have I shown my appreciation for other educators on Twitter? I've sent thank yous for small things during the week, or DMs saying how much I appreciated such-and-such, and I leave myriad comments on people's posts, to let them know I appreciate them sharing their thoughts.

I found out this past Friday that others also feel overwhelmed with the amount of thanks we feel we need to provide on Twitter. I received a "thank you" tweet from Jon Harper... "Thank you for being so positive and encouraging all the time. I am certain those around you feel it often." WOW. I felt proud of myself. I'm so glad that's what Jon sees in what I tweet. I'm happy that it comes through, as this is what I strive for. And you know what? His thoughtful thank you makes me want to be even more positive and encouraging.

I wondered what brought this on. So I checked his tweets...

Oh. My. He couldn't do #FF either! So he decided to do his own version of giving gratitude...

Jon has done this before, in this post about Seth Berg. I co-created The Power of Appreciation blog because I was inspired by another grateful man, Rik Rowe. Jon was the fourth one to take us up on posting a thank you letter to someone he admired. And now he's got me thinking (always - check out his blog!)... I've been stuck in my thinking for a couple of years regarding #FFs, and haven't looked for alternatives. I cannot jump on the #FF wagon, but I CAN do something as Jon has done. I can try a version of "Thankful Thursdays."

I've looked at the hashtags... #TT doesn't work. I don't know what it stands for, but there's too much profanity on that hashtag for me to feel like I can use it. #ThTh doesn't work, either - I learned that it stands for "too hot to handle." So... no problem. No need to use a hashtag. Just do what Jon has modeled for us. If you think others should follow that person (no doubt, right?!), tag the tweet with the hashtag where you think others would find him or her (#elachat, #mschat, #scichat, etc.).

Thank someone you know. In a blog post, in 140 characters, in a written letter, in a phone call, in person...

My next step? Do this with people I actually work with in my school on a more consistent basis. Thank you, Jon, for this push - for being a role model for us all!

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