“Everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation.  The more interpretations we gather, the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole.”  -Margaret Wheatley

I have heard many voices of concern over time…voices that view social media channels as ‘echo chambers’ for the platform of the partakers.  Channels serving society only as another media source to amplify, reinforce and grandstand the popular and personal ideas and thoughts of the day.

And yet, my experiences have been in conflict with that concept…the hollowness of the term ‘echo chamber’ is not a fitting ‘interpretation’ of what could be considered ‘complex systems’.

Rather, your engagement of and engaging with these social media systems determines the depth and breadth of the experience.  But in all actuality, it has little to do with the social media system itself and everything to do with the network of people within.  A network of individuals willing to engage, share, and even pushback on ideas and thoughts…serving as a forum for improvement, for creating change.

The more I engage, the less and less I see an ‘echo chamber’…

The term that resonates with my experiences recently…‘making of mavericks’.  The creating of frontrunners…explorers…innovators…those willing to lead the way forward.

Which is why Margaret Wheatley’s quotes are so fitting.  We are constantly adding our own interpretations…putting our own voice to ideas that resonate with our spirit as educators and professionals.  Educators who are willing to share their successes and failures as practitioners…to engage the conversation for the sake of their passion and their profession.  To selflessly serve our students, our parents, our schools, and our communities.

And that is why my Personal Learning Network (PLN) serves less as an ‘echo chamber’ and more for the ‘making of mavericks’.  More and more I have witnessed practitioners sharing freely of ideas…ideas that are offered up for others to interpret…to interpret and run with in a variety of manners and directions.  Ideas that spur completely new and different ideas.  Blogs, chats, and tweets that serve as simple forums for sharing morph unexpectedly.  A thought here…turns into a movement there.

As Wheatley expounds upon below…we have these places and processes at our fingertips.  Open access to ongoing and continued learning and sharing.  Access in ways previously considered unimaginable…and with people thought beyond our reach.

“I think a major act of leadership right now, call it a radical act, is to create the places and processes so people can actually learn together, using our experiences.”  -Margaret Wheatley

How will you engage?


7 thoughts on “Echoes…

  1. There is a beauty in being connected; sometimes teacher, sometimes learner, always exploring! The different perspectives we hear develop our own sense of who we are and more importantly who we want to become.

  2. David, once again your words inspire me. I agree with you. Social media serves as an idea stream for me. My practice has gained momentum and depth from the many, many ideas, links and leads I’ve received from dedicated, accomplished, innovative educators throughout the world–amazing! Just think of the positive potential that collaboration holds–a potential that is already making a difference in so many classrooms and organizations. As always though, one must meet social media with a critical eye and analysis gathering ideas that have merit and dismissing or debating those that don’t make sense.

  3. David, thanks for posting. I tend to agree, social media isn’t really an echo chamber (although I used to think it was). I admit that most of the comments I leav for people are positive but the reason that’s the case is because in most cases what they’ve shared has opened my eyes to new perspectives and/or new possibilities. I have also experienced being challenged by comments on my blog and while it takes one time to get comfortable with being challenged publicly, the comments have always proven to b a great learning experience. The more we share, the more we engage in discussion the more we realize social media is anything but an echo chamber.


  4. I enjoyed reading this post (and your others) since we have connected…my thought after reading this is: I think it is amazing we can connect with people all across the world…my worry is that we do not do so at the expense of ignoring the relationships within our day to day organization and lives. Connect first with those who you work with…

  5. Pingback: Avoiding the Echo Chamber in Education

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