As social media creeps into every facet of our lives, many teachers and educators are interested in incorporating these new technologies into their lessons.
In order to help those less experienced to make their way through the labyrinth of the social networks, I humbly present these tips for teachers trying to build an online presence.
Call it a “social media manual”.
It all boils down to 4 easy steps…
And if you’re one of the grammar dweebs I’m occasionally following on Twitter, you’re probably way ahead of me on most of them.
In any case, just in case you need some inspiration, here are the steps…
1. Be boring as hell.
As a teacher, you must be as bland and innocuous as possible. Nobody wants a teacher to have a personality.
You may stand up in front of a class full of expectant young English students and feel like you’re an actor, but don’t let it get out of hand!
Yes, as a teacher you’re forever condemned to play the socially-accepted part of the 50-something virgin schoolmarm or the hunchbacked professor with the elbow-patches and pipe who spends his nights reading Greek lit alone.
Because that’s just what teachers are… Don’t question the status quo!
In your online presence, you must make it a point to be just as boring as in person – everybody knows that the hypnotic effects of being bored to tears are great for creating a learning-friendly environment.
2. Use more acronyms.
Twitter has its famous limit on the number of characters you can use in a tweet… Make sure you have enough acronyms to fight back!
Also, make sure you spend all day on Twitter – everybody’s doing it, so it must be a good idea – and use the character limit to your advantage by posting long incomprehensible strands of acronyms that nobody understands without first getting a Master’s degree.
The ELLs will really appreciate your DK of TEFL if you SA about your POV w/r/t the PVs they should STADAM OOTDs.
3. Cat memes, cat memes, cat memes.
When historians look back at our era, they won’t find pithy aphorisms chiseled into blocks of granite. What they will unearth will be cat memes.
Anything worth saying can be much better said in a white Helvetica (or whatever… font-selection douchebaggery isn’t really my forté) in front of a photo of an adorable little muffin named NumNums.
I can has cheezburger? has so far launched at least one person’s career… Keep catmeming and you can change the world like Eric Nakagawa has.
4. If all else fails, make them feel bad.
As educators, we’re in a unique position to make people feel bad. I see a lot of online teachers are way ahead of me on this. One EFL teacher who’s way way WAY famouser than me here in Spain is particularly good at this. (Ha! I just butchered the comparative… It’s not just for our students anymore!)
Said blogger will write 10,000 word essays that go along the lines of “Learning the second conditional is difficult and painful, but you can probably do it and if you think you can’t do it then you’re ridiculous and have some really stupid ideas. Anyway, how will you ever get anywhere in life if you can’t form the second conditional? You don’t want to end up as one of those losers folding sweaters at Zara for lack of a second conditional, do you? Okay, so just learn it! If + past simple, would + infinitive. Got it? Probably not. Just keep working hard, I know it’s miserable, but just keep at it, forever, because you kind of suck.”
When I first read this person’s blog, I thought “Wow, that’s exactly what many of my teachers in high school did – and how they managed to turn me off of math, science, and even computers for about 10 years!”
Once you make your students feel bad, it’s time to start the learning…
Nothing motivates students like a lower self-esteem and the feeling that they’re getting into something difficult and painful and way beyond what a sweater-folder like themselves could ever possibly understand.
I hope this has been useful to you less-experienced online educators. I’ve spent years on Twitter and Facebook and I’ve got the ever-larger buttocks and bad posture to prove it, so if you have any questions, hit me up in the comments!
P.P.S. Did I mention Instagram in this post? Guess not. Because I wrote it while the founders of instagram were still in middle school, most likely. Anyway, I can teach you how to be an influencer. And I can answer the age-old question about whether teaching English is for losers, while we’re at it. Enjoy!