Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm Nobody! Who are You?

I'm nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?

Then there's a pair of us -don't tell!

They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!

How public, like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!
-Emily Dickinson

There has been some discussion lately about the "exploitation" of Twitter by people who are interested in self-aggrandizement rather than connection and collaboration.

In my wildest dreams (well, maybe in just a few of the more delusional ones), I don't anticipate becoming a sought-after lecturer, consultant, or best-selling author.

Twitter is my place to meet new friends, converse with virtual colleagues, share resources, and offer encouragement, sympathy, or congratulations, as needed.

There may well be those who are only concerned with self-promotion. If so, their agenda becomes apparent relatively quickly. My rule is to only follow people who follow me back. I'm in Twitter for conversation, not hero-worship.

Like many tools, Twitter has a variety of uses. It works for me, but then, I'm Nobody! Who are You?

"Andrew likes 'Diary of a Nobody' by George Grossmith" by Ross_Angus


Cathy Jo Nelson said...

Bravo, Bravo. Take that to school and get your current events kids to make into a rap or rock-n-roll song! Hey, guess what, I'm a Twitter nobody too! I so needed this.

diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
diane said...


A "Nobody" in some circles can be very much a "Somebody" in others!

You are one of my shining friends - and I never would have met you without Twitter.


Anonymous said...

In Spanish, they say
<< Más vale poco y bueno que mucho y malo>>
(It is better to have less and happiness than have more and misery.)
My friends on Twitter are worth gold to me. My observation is for such a simple premise it has gotten more discussion than certain educational reform initiatives. We have all heard of digital natives and digital immigrants-well here is one I propose(and yes I will be tweeting about how I was the first to coin the catchy phrase!snark!) digital dictators. Those who assume they can control the manner in which a particular application is used by the masses. They are embarrassing in their arrogance. It makes them actually laughable. Really? There are rules to using a social networking site? Ok, Grandpa-move along.....the natives are restless.

And we eat our own.

Anonymous said...

@Diane -Ditto on the bravo, bravo from Cathy :-) You're part of my wonderful group of friends on twitter and our friendship has moved beyond that medium as well. Our number of tweets may be well over 5,000 each, but each one of those tweets means something to someone :-) Thanks for taking this on, I commented on the original post you are referring to, but I must say I like your take on the matter much more! I also have no intention of ever being "someboday" although it's nice to know that people are listening to what I have to say once in a while. The day anyone greets me at a conference by name will be the day......well, we won't see that day (unless I'm wearing a name tag!)

@Cathy - you are NOT a nobody!

@Linda - I LOVE this! "Those who assume they can control the manner in which a particular application is used by the masses. They are embarrassing in their arrogance. It makes them actually laughable. Really? There are rules to using a social networking site? Ok, Grandpa-move along.....the natives are restless."

Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this! I tweeted the other day that no one is allowed to analyze or make rules for twitter anymore....some weren't fond of my mandate :-)

diane said...


Pencil me in as one of the digital rebels! I look forward to reading the "digital dictator" tweet and many more.


Here's to benevolent anarchy! You are all very important to me, the Nobodies Network: long may we meet and tweet.


Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that we're discussing this as Twitter is down and we can't even play there :-) Obviously our connections are real and relationships go beyond the tool.........

Anonymous said...

Great post and follow up comments. I am a nobody out here and that's fine with me. I have found so many great links through Twitter that I probably would have never found any other way. I can't say that I've formed any friendships through Twitter yet but I can see it how it will happen. And just as in f2f friendships the personal notes and answering that basic Twitter question of "What are you doing?" is what's going to make those friendships happen. I like the idea of only following people that follow you. I wonder if there's an easy way to compare the two lists, someday I'll have to check that out.

diane said...


My Twitter account is protected, so I personally accept each follower. Anyone who appears to share my interests is welcomed into my network. Most of my followers are teachers, librarians, and/or tech coordinators and they come from all over the world.

Another way to track your group is through Twitter Karma

This will also be my first NECC, and I'm looking forward to meeting dear friends like Cathy Nelson, Carolyn Foote (who set up the wiki you just added your name to), some wonderful Australians, and, of course, you! [Wish Kate and Linda could join us]

As much as I love the 2.0 world, I'm an old-fashioned girl at heart and long to connect in real life with the people who are closer to me than my every day colleagues.

Twitter is how we've met, but that's only the beginning of the relationships we continue to form.


Anonymous said...

You're really spot on with this, Diane. The other place where I see this differentiation between the 'somebodies' and the 'nobodies' is academic conferences. Here we talk of 'big names'. Often you can watch a 'big name' walk passed with a trail of followers like a mamma duck and so many ducklings. When those followers get home from the conference I'm fairly sure though, that they won't have made half as many of the connections that I have during my time there. They won't have generated the multitude of ideas that only come from varied contribution. And I can pretty much guarantee that they won't have had half as much fun!
I'm glad to have you in my Twitter network, Diane, where we can continue to connect, generate new ideas and, perhaps most importantly, have fun :-)

Lee Ann Spillane said...

Just what I've been thinking lately. Today was the first time I came across the "follow by request" link when I clicked on your name. I'm glad I discovered your blog-- Emily D is certainly a favorite and how apt the thinking. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Smiles -

I think we are all nobodies who have found each other on twitter.....well, so then we have become somebodies to each other, haven't we??

I continue to think twitter takes such a hard hit because we just can't put our finger on "why it works" and why it is "so important".

But if it brings us closer, helps us to help each other, laugh, comfort, provide prayers and thoughts, elevates us, but keeps us humble -- then I am all for it.


CB said...

Hi Diane,

I can't hold writers of angry blog-posts too accountable for letting off steam (I'm talking about the discussion you linked to), but I agree that any attempt to try to set rules for Twitter is like trying to tame the Wild West.

Doesn't it seem that all of us are experimenting with these new dances - many of us probably far more excessively than we care to confront - and so we're all learning from whatever stage or path we're on?

We're going through this and will come out some "other side" changed by it, ready for some new doors to try.

All I know is that I follow about 500 people because I'm curious, and it doesn't hurt me.

But only a handful or two feel like real connections. And that's nice.

(You're one, by the way. I'm glad there is you, as my last wedding singer sang. Lots of other people out here seem to be too.)

diane said...


Your wedding was one of my online highlights, even though I don't look my best at 2am (and you still owe Carolyn and me that dollar dance!)

Amy, Lee Ann, Jen, and all the rest of you in my blogosphere/Twitterverse/Life:
"I'm [also] glad there is you."


Sarah Stewart said...

Hello Diane, I have just read this post but wish I had read it yesterday when I was also writing aboutmy experiences of twitter. This post validates what I feel about Twitter so thanks for that. Sarah

Al said...

It is nice to meet another nobody. If you would like to follow me on Twitter I will be glad to follow you back. I am abdoss. Thanks for commenting on my little blog. You made my day! I had talked about that issue with other people and they really did not share my feelings. I am glad to know someone else thinks the same way (at least on this subject).

diane said...


I may not always agree with you, but that's not a requirement for friendship.

Consider yourself followed!


Anonymous said...


I love this post! Honestly, I have learned much more from you and other "regular" folks on Twitter than I have from any of those who consider themselves the edtech
stars. I've long since stopped following them, but I will follow anyone in education who finds and follows me, if for no other reason than for the encouragement they receive by knowing they are indeed "somebody!"

There is so much to share and learn. I'll never be able to keep up with it all, but it's fun trying! I'm elemtech on Twitter. Nice tweeting with you! :)

CB said...

Maybe it's because I'm so alone out here in Seoul, but to me everybody on twitter is just a bunch of folks at a party. I love eavesdropping and I love following links and half the 600 I follow don't talk to me but I never notice. I love blabbing with a few people when in the mood, and getting the love-zap from you and a handful of others.

It's just different conversations.

Funny thing is, I'm such a non-geek - really, I use basic tools for teaching - that I don't have much to "teach" or "help" with, and don't often feel the need for much help from others. I just like the company.


Solo in Seoul