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The Journey into the World of Social Media

Today Inquiring Minds brings you a post from Richland Academy’s Head of School, Mrs. Marlina Oliveira, as she shares her foray into the online world of social media. The first of many blog posts to come…

Social media, blogging, tweeting, posting, pinning, the list goes on and on.  What does this extensive directory of technological terms mean to you?  I would like to share what they meant to me a year ago, and what they mean to me today as a transformational leader of a progressive, Reggio inspired private elementary school.

At the end of a long school day, less than a year ago, I received a call from a colleague and fellow Reggio admirer who was excited to share news about her recent discovery of social media.  You see, she had just spent the weekend away up north with fellow educators and learners who were well on their way to discovering the role of social media.  Despite her vague understanding of this new domain she was embarking upon, her excitement for it was contagious.   She was inviting me, as a newbie, to join her on this journey.  She shared how we could communicate with like-minded and like-spirited (my favourite motto) people all around the world.   She rambled on and on about making connections with people from England, Reggio Emilia and New Zealand.  By this point in the conversation, an aura of confusion and panic had set in; as I became overwhelmed with all this “new” information.
Despite feelings of angst, I admit that I was intrigued and feeling exhilarated by the possibility of learning something totally new and totally out of my comfort zone.  Where to begin?  The light ahead was merely a dim flicker and the climb to the top was daunting.  I paused and thought of how a child must feel when they embark on a new learning journey, and how that journey begins….one step at a time.  And so, as that child, I began, one step at a time.

My inquiry into this world originated with questions…many questions, all of which were patiently answered and demonstrated by my colleagues.  Finally the big day had arrived…..I was now ready to open my own accounts.  I quickly learned and am still learning to navigate my way around.  I intently watched how other professionals and people I admire were using these great tools.  I observed, read, reviewed,followed, tweeted, liked, and pinned.  However, despite how much I longed to comment, I was not ready to share my thoughts, opinions, views on any of the topics shared.  I lurked in the background with much trepidation.   With the encouragement and cheerleading of the same colleagues who held my hand at the beginning of this journey, and you know who you are, I decided to put my toe in the water, and I began to share my voice; carefully and quietly at first on Facebook and Twitter.  However, I hear my voice getting louder and it is time that I begin to share with others.  To all the incredible people I call my Professional Learning Network (PLN), colleagues, friends, families, and supporters…I am ready.  I have learned a lot this year through this incredible medium and I feel it is now my time to give back.

Thank you to my PLN for your support, guidance and networking and for showing me the opportunities and benefits of social media, when used sensibly, respectfully and with care.

This is the beginning and the first of many other blog postings that I will share with you throughout the course of this year.  I welcome your feedback, questions, and insights.

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