When I first started tweeting via a classroom account created at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, I was reminded of this age old philosophy question: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” My analogy offered a modern day twist: If you tweet something out to the world and nobody responds, did you really tweet? Week after week, I’d tweet out shout outs to my teammates, the PTA, other staff, or my school in general, often with no apparent notice locally whatsoever. The reality at that time and to this day was that no one was on Twitter in my school community. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure felt that way. The school has an account that was managed by our receptionist at the time. I had 5 or so of my 22 families following us: 2 of the 5 were active. Although our district had a national reputation for heated tweets related to school closings, even a positive shout out for our school tagging the district usually fell on deaf ears. I had read “Your School Rocks: Passionately Pitch and Promote the Positives Happening on Your Campus” and took it to heart, but it didn’t seem like anyone was listening.
Enter “The Sound of Silence”… written by Paul Simon over time in 1963 and 1964 and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel in March 1964. It is an incredibly sad song with lyrics that ring true half a century later. Of particular interest, the following quote:
People writing songs that voices never share.
A tweet doesn’t qualify as a song in my opinion; however, it can be a creation with a positive purpose. Does the tweet make a sound if no one sees it? What about a blog post? A tremendous amount of effort, heart and soul goes into writing a reflection piece. What if no one reads it? What if no one shares it? Does the piece make a sound?
Ironically, the alternative is silence and…
Silence like a cancer grows.
Regardless of the medium, the creative process can be incredibly challenging and time consuming. We can choose not to create. We can choose not to share. We can choose to create but not to share. All are sounds of silence.
On the other hand, sharing a creation with the world begins a beautiful symphony of empathy inside the deepest crevices of our hearts. If we are truly lucky, there, even if only there, we’ll hear the loud, undeniable noise of change. Creating and sharing and hearing the sounds of silence? Remain steadfast and courageous. More importantly, listen closely for the new sound within. Please tell us about your experiences in the comments below so that we can grow together on this journey.
Some additional thoughts: When I finally decided to explore this topic with the intent to share, I started noticing that this feeling isn’t uncommon: Check out this January post title by Casey Korder:
“If I Blog and no one reads it, do I still make a sound ? (Thank You For Making the Education World A Better Place)” You can read the full article here. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Casey in Paul Solarz’s Learn Like A Pirate book study this summer. Casey is doing some amazing things in her classroom: Thankfully, Casey shared the link to her blog where I noticed the January title and her post on Design Thinking, something I’m just now learning about as part of A.J. Juliani’s Innovative Teaching Academy!