(140 + 1) The Power Of One

“If it is any use to know it, I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg.  There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows.  Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg.  It is the part that does.”  -Ernest Hemingway

We have learned that there is power found in the ‘140 Characters’ of Twitter.  Power to create change.  Power to spur a movement.  Power to share and learn.  And yet, at some level, I believe that this barely scratches the surface.  We have just touched on the power and possibilities that may be found within.  Possibilities that are yet to be unveiled as we discover and create new and innovative ways to utilize this tool.

And like a leader who fails to grasp the power of culture in their organization…many fail to understand the power of this tool and what lies beneath the surface.  When leaders take a surface-level approach to issues and concerns in their organization without understanding the culture and history that underlies those issues…then they often fail to correct the issues from short-sighted understandings and decisions.  In much the same manner, many leaders and educators have quickly dismissed Twitter as a powerful learning tool from a surface-level view of it.  And when we take a surface-level approach, we often fail to see the full extent of what lies below the surface.

With that said, let’s take a look at the cold and hot of this social-media tool…

The Cold of Twitter: Twitter can best be described as a social-media iceberg.  And much like an iceberg, the power is not found at the surface, rather discovered in the hidden depths below the surface.  In the same manner a sea captain places his ship and crew in danger by not grasping the depth and width of an iceberg, we often put our organizations and those we lead at a disservice when we fail to grasp the power and depth of those tools that can enhance learning.

The ‘140 Characters‘ serves as the surface of Twitter.  And yes, there is tremendous power in those ‘140 Characters‘ to transform.  Yet, we have to realize the depth and true power of this tool is really found in the +1.  Or what we can refer to as the “seven-eighths” of Twitter.  The +1 is the click that takes us below the surface to the “seven-eighths” of research, articles, videos, blogs and other learnings connected to the ‘140 Characters‘.  That extra click, or +1 is the power that lies below the surface.  It serves as the difference maker between socializing and powerful professional development.

Whereas an iceberg can be difficult to access and traverse, Twitter serves as an open service for around-the-clock access to learning and collaboration.  However, not understanding the “seven-eighths” of this tool relegates it to just another social space.  When we understand the power of the +1, we understand the true value of this tool…to increase our learning, our collaborative networks, and access to people otherwise considered impossible previously.  We have the ability to tailor-make our professional learning networks and/or our “seven-eighths”.

The Hot of Twitter: Once we understand the ‘cold’, we can also see the ‘hot’ of twitter.  Much like Sam Parker’s 212 degrees, the +1 of Twitter serves as the “steam” to power the engine of learning.  We are just tapping into the collaborative capabilities of this tool.  The ‘140 Characters‘ of Twitter serve as as the “211 degrees…very hot, but not yet boiling“.  The +1 or “extra degree” of effort is what takes your learning and collaboration to the next level, or gets you to 212 degrees.  The power of the +1 is the difference between an inspirational quote and a fully developed digital citizenship curriculum.  As Sam Parker puts forth, the “extra degree” or +1 is the difference maker.

It is vital that we understand that most often the smallest things can have the biggest impact”…and +1 has that type of impact.  And it all sits at your fingertips.  The question you must answer for yourself in going forward is…do I want to be a Pioneer or a Settler?  Either way, remember that small choices can make all the difference…

“At 211 degrees water is hot.  At 212 degrees, it boils.  And with boiling water, comes steam.  And with steam you can power a train.  Just one extra degree makes all the difference.”  -Sam Parker


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