Effective July 1, 2020, I will be stepping away from Twitter indefinitely. There will still be content posted on my account in the form of blog post links, articles to share, auto-posted content, and so on; and I will still check direct messages. But I will not be engaging in any further conversations on Twitter, or reading or responding to @-replies after that date.
This is a decision that has been 2-3 years in the making and is not the result of any single experience. It is also a decision I don't make lightly. I've been on Twitter since 2006, when there were only 10,000 users and it was called TWTTR. I have made countless meaningful connections with people and organizations on Twitter, and many real-life friendships. In many ways my entire academic career was built on Twitter. I owe this platform a lot. But it's also time for me to move on from it.
June 30, 2020 is my final day as interim chair of the Grand Valley State University Mathematics Department. As I transition out of that position and back into being a "normal" faculty member, I will be focusing my work on three main areas: teaching, longer-form writing, and research and consultation in the areas of flipped and online instruction. These interrelated tasks have always been challenging, but now due to the tectonic shifts in higher education brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the challenge is monumental. If I am not only to succeed personally but also help others to be successful – as has been my primary mission throughout 23+ years in higher education – I need to disconnect from anything that consumes more energy than it produces.
Despite the many great people and organizations who energize me on Twitter, the unfortunate fact is that – for me – the platform as a whole no longer is a net positive use of time. Others may have a very different experience with Twitter, and that's OK.
I will reinvest the time and energy recovered from Twitter to do the following, among other things:
- Step up my writing productivity on rtalbert.org with a special emphasis on sharing what I am planning and doing in the classroom as we head into Fall 2020 semester. My goal is two posts a week, at least half aimed specifically at providing support, thought-starters, and resources to the higher education community at large – and creating and sustaining a community committed to a positive, productive vision of higher education as we move into a new normal.
- Produce shareable content to help college professors navigate the fraught classroom landscape of Fall 2020. I'm still thinking of what this might look like and if you have ideas, let me know.
- Of course, I am returning to full-time teaching duties in Fall 2020 and I'll be investing a lot of time helping students.
I will continue to interact with the people and organizations from Twitter who do energize me and help me to grow, through other means, such as the Mastery Grading Slack workspace and LinkedIn. If you are a Twitter follower, thank you for spending some of your attention on what I have to say. If you continue to follow my account, you'll get links to all the stuff I just mentioned. If you need to get contact me personally, as I said I will still check DM's, or you can email me at robert . talbert @ gmail . com.