I can’t make my mind up whether or not to be irritated by all the ‘Top Ten’ lists I seeing bandied about inside my community of practice, or to just ignore them.

It seems that many of us in Education like to pontificate about what we see as the Top Ten best things since sliced bread, or the definitive list of requirements for one thing or another: but not all of the authors/bloggers take the trouble to add the one necessary justification – ‘in my opinion‘.Having said that, I think my real issue is with the way the lists are passed around Twitter and the like.

I see countless ‘Top Ten’ lists being tweeted and then RT’d (re-Tweetedlook out for that in the next edition of the Oxford English dictionary) but I wonder how many colleagues take the trouble to read the blogged lists before re-tweeting. Because some are absolute drivel.

Some authors follow their own strict advisory guidelines and use the term ‘I think/believe/consider’ – whatever: but others are just too definitive. It would be unfair to list the one that broke my camel’s back of silence today but it concerned ‘tips’ and ‘effective video’. Fair enough – it was a good post and it was re-Tweeted a lot of times, many people re-Tweeting already re-Tweeted posts.

My worry started when I wondered how many re-Tweeters had actually read the article. I did, and I enjoyed reading it but if I’d been the first person to pick it up and re-Tweet the address, I would have wanted to add my comment, which would have been (given the 140 character limitation) “enjoyed this but only concerns ‘push’ teaching“. I might then have posted a comment on the blog (at the time of writing this no one has commented on the post itself – but I have done so now) and hoped that the ‘science’ of effective video could take a step forward.

So – please enough with the lists now AND if you’re going to re-Tweet something like a blog post, please try to expand the discussion by commenting on the RT or on the blog itself. Otherwise we simply end up with a list of lists that mean nothing.

What if …

Picture 3What if (I’m not on a list)?

This week I’ve looked at Twitter’s new (sic) LIST feature. I’ve created lists and I’ve looked for myself on the lists of others. This could eat away at my basic human insecurity. Why?

Well, lists are not new – I’ve had a Jaiku list on Tweetdeck (and Seesmic until I dumped it) for months. The people on that list are all my old chums from the by now terminally dead Jaiku. They are my original CoP. It gave me comfort to have a list with all my regular mates, colleagues and trusted gurus on it. It’s still there – but more and more these days I read my entire Twitter feed. There is such a variety of thoughts, ideas and fun that it has become difficult to choose which list I would read the most.

Picture 2

Now Twitter has given me the opportunity to create more lists.

Straight away I recreated my Jaiku list, then another called ‘ILT-Mates’ and another called ‘Gurus’. This last list was to be populated with people like @hrheingold and the two professors: Cook and Traxler. Then I thought that Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) should be on the list, and James Clay (@jamesclay) – how could I leave out Lilian (@xlearn), Dave (@davefoord) and Ron (@ronm)? And apart from a few names, ‘Gurus’ turned out to be the same list (almost) as ‘ILT-Mates’. Some people were now on all three lists!A selection of people I follow on Twitter

But what if Lisa (@notlob) found herself on ‘Jaiku mates’ and neither of the others? What if other friends didn’t feel comfortable with the ‘Guru’ grouping? Would I lose friends or respect? Luckily, I’ve kept my lists ‘Private’ and will probably never use them but what if they were ‘public’? Would they cause upset or anger? @shrifootring has me on her ‘fun to follow’ list and I am pleased and happy that she has done so – thank you Shri. But Lilian has me on her ‘Public’ mlearn’ list and happy as I am to be there, the little monster inside of me says, “Has she got a ‘private’ friends list?  Am I on it? Am I not good enough to be Lilian’s friend? Has she got a ‘Guru’ list? ???”

Of course I’m not that insecure – but others might be!

Is there a point to ‘lists’? I know there could be – but will there be? Will we be able to eat away from the basic divisiveness of lists?