Stay or Go? Educator Exodus on Twitter

Dec 10, 2022

For over a decade, Twitter has provided teachers and leaders a transformational space to build their professional learning communities, exchange lesson ideas, find out what’s going on in schools around the country, build successful side gigs, and get inspired by other educators.  Since billionaire Elon Musk purchased the platform in October 2022, many educators are grappling if they should stay or leave the platform.  

It’s time to have some “real talk” about the impact of Twitter’s new rules, or lack thereof, led by Elon Musk that affects the user experience particularly of BIPOC and Pride educators.  Plus we will share our decision if Twitter is still a viable platform for our EduGladiators weekly Twitter chat.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to determine if a social media platform is in alignment to your brand values.
  • What the hesitation to leave Twitter might imply regarding educators' commitment to DEI.
  • Ways to build community outside of a social media platform.  


Twitter. 10 years ago, I did not know what Twitter or a “tweet” even was. I reluctantly started an account because my rule with my sons was that I had to have an account on whatever social media platform they were asking to be part of and we had to be “friends” on that platform.  I might have had a following of 10 people and 5 were from my sons and other family members.  I was not a connected educator initially and put zero effort in growing an audience much less a business on Twitter or any other social media platform.  Once I became a principal, the superintendent at the time was an early adopter of social media for schools and educators and insisted all principals have a professional Twitter account.  It was not long before my reluctance transformed into excitement of finding a group of educators across the country that quickly became part of my digital PLN.  #EduGladiators weekly twitter chat quickly followed after inspiration and encouragement from my newfound digital community and our weekly, Saturday, Twitter chats have successfully engaged thousands of educators and parents over the last six years.  Twitter has been a primary driver of EduGladiators becoming a successful 6-figure business in record time.  

And then Elon Musk purchased Twitter.

Here’s the thing.  This episode actually has very little to do with the new owner of Twitter.  We are going to have real talk about why you NEVER rely on a social media platform for your business or community as well as knowing when to pivot away from a particular platform that does not align with your values or brand. 

Lets talk about value alignment for a moment.  In general, most educators are committed to creating safe and inclusive spaces for their students and even colleagues even if that action is performative in some spaces.  The recent Twitter changes and ideals regarding free speech is actually an opportunity to show solidarity and take action supporting DEI much like many educators did in the summer of 2020.  To be clear, hate speech is not free speech.  And we will have an upcoming podcast episode focused on that topic.  

According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms, before Musk purchased Twitter, racial slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media platform on average of 1,282 times a day. After Musk's Twitter takeover, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.  Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day.  Lastly, antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Musk’s completed purchase of the platform. 

This is not ok!

The internal Twitter departments responsible for addressing hate speech and harassment were among the first group of employees Musk fired within a week of taking over the platform along with a majority of engineers that actually keep the platform up and running.  Initially, I decided to adopt a “wait and see” approach not for fear as to how I would stay connected to my pln and clients, because I already had systems in place to secure these connections which I will talk about shortly, but wanting to give the new owner a chance to realize his genius did not extend necessarily to social media and he would have to rehire these employees and things would return to Twitter normal. 

Unfortunately, the occurrence of racial slurs, bots, harassment and misinformation has continued to increase without any return to former Twitter practices that were in place to report and take action on this type of user behaviors.  Could Twitter rebound with a modicum of pre-Musk success, sure; however, I am pretty sure the founders of MySpace and other now defunct social media platforms thought the same about rebounding at some point.

Now, Twitter has given us all a chance to take a DEI stand.  When I hear or read conversions of people, particularly white educators who are afraid to leave Twitter because it is their main avenue for their business or side hustle, I just shake my head. It has taken me a decade to organically build over 18K followers on Twitter for my professional brand and company; but nothing lasts forever especially when messaging from a platform does not align with my values and commitment to creating safe and inclusive spaces for students and the adults who support them in schools each day.


Will #EduGladiators Stay or Leave Twitter?

So, if you are listening and wondering if I and/or EduGladiators will stay or leave Twitter, let me answer that question explicitly.  We will not continue putting time and resources into the Twitter platform at this time which includes our weekly #EduGladiators chat.  Continuing to do so in my opinion is enabling the platform to continue its harmful practices.  Our Twitter profiles will remain with the hope that Twitter returns to prioritizing safe and inclusive spaces; however, until then our team will not be focused on this platform. So be sure to check the show notes for links to keep the conversations and learning going on other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  Also check the show notes for the link to join our newsletter and be the first to know if we expand to YouTube, TikTok, or Telegram. 


How to Evaluate Social Media Alignment 

Oxford dictionary defines alignment as a position of agreement.  When you are auditing your social media for alignment, the position of agreement you are looking for is agreement to your personal (and if you have a business your brand) purpose, values and mission.  Mission statements may bring different feelings for each of us depending on our personal experience with reciting and/or creating a mission statement usually at work; however, I invite you to embrace the power a personal mission statement has in helping guide your decisions both professionally and personally.  If you are not super clear on your personal mission statement, then you are limiting your ability to powerfully communicate both in your words and actions about the person you are and the person you are becoming.

Your Personal Mission Statement should answer three questions:

  1. What is my life about (Purpose)?
  2. What do I stand for (Values)?
  3. Do my actions align with my Purpose and my Values?

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, believes and mission statement is empowering and represents the deepest and best parts of ourselves written to inspire us individually on the most essential level and not to impress anyone. Covey also believes a personal mission statement can help us identify who we want to be, what we want to do, important relationships, the values that anchor our moral compass and lastly the legacy we want to leave.  

So, when you reflect on your personal mission statement which includes your purpose and values, it should not be difficult to take action accordingly and deciding if you should stay or go on Twitter.  Be sure to check the show notes of this episode to grab your FREE download of our EduGladiators Social Media Audit based on your personal mission statement.  Now if you do not have a personal mission statement, I encourage you to still take advantage of our EduGladiators Social Media Audit download because it also includes step-by-step directions to create your personal mission statement.   


Why You Need An Email List

After completing your EduGladiators Social Media Audit and refreshing or creating your personal mission statement, you can make a better decision of where to spend your time connecting and/or building your PLCs. 

If you have a business or side hustle and have used Twitter as your main gateway to increasing exposure to your service or product, you can still pivot to another platform should you choose.  In fact, you should never rely on a social media platform to stay connected to your PLCs or clients for your edu product or service.  You do not own the information on your social media accounts.  Any of them at any point and time can cease to exist.  The only thing you actually have control over and can own is your email list and website. 

If you are thinking, ‘Well Marlena, I do not have a business or TPT store so how can I have an email list?”.  Great question actually.  

You do not have to have a side hustle to invest in yourself and the connections you’ve made to provide value and assert yourself as an expert in your particular edu area.  Every educator should be building their email list at a minimum.  Social media is a fantastic vehicle to make connections, but you need to have more assurances to stay connected to your pln and/or potential and current clients. It is important to be a connected educator on social media and you need to leverage that to connect and communicate with your community outside of a social media platform. 

Also, in the show notes are resources to not only help you evaluate social media alignment to your values and brand, but included are tips to help you start and/or grow your email list.  Having an email list is not complicated if you have a guide such as the one we are providing that is specifically tailored to educators. 

What were your takeaways from today’s episode? Take a screenshot of this episode and tag us on Facebook or Instagram at @edugladiators with your next steps! Also, be sure to subscribe to the Real Talk Education podcast and never miss a new episode.

We also would greatly appreciate a positive review to help spread our EduGladiators mission to create a new era of education by having “real talk” that inspire real action for all students!  Lastly, please share this episode with your #pln so they too may continue to grow in their craft and advocacy for students.



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