Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ignore the Party Poopers

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ignore the Party Poopers

Article excerpt

You're invited to a party. This get-together is open to anyone, regardless of status, wealth or beauty. You could meet some exciting people. You might have fun. You can make this party exactly the night you want it to be.

You arrive. In the front room there's a small crowd having a slanging match over a comment that was made some time ago. No one can quite remember the exact comment or the context in which it was communicated. You steer clear.

You have a peep in the downstairs toilet. There's a group in there who will only discuss The Artist Formerly Known As Cheryl Cole. You don't feel like talking to them either.

You move to the kitchen. Here you find your people. You bond with them over shared passions and twinkling repartee.

By the end of the night you've made loads of mates and some important contacts. You're all going to meet regularly, continue the conversation and keep the party going. What an amazing night.

And yet there are still those who would prefer you not to attend the party. Someone at work makes you worry that it is too dangerous; they talk of sinister figures lurking. Others simply insist that it is a waste of time.

In some colleges, the annual social media talk for FE professionals scares people into legging it as fast as possible from any online interaction. Not me.

There's only one question I ask myself if I am nervous about publishing a tweet or a Facebook post: would I feel comfortable if what I had written was published on the front page of every newspaper?

Would I want my bosses to read my moans about them or the college? …

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