Silencing School Whistleblowers Through Social Media 

 
I used to write a thriving blog. 


 
A month and a half ago.  


 
But as soon as the New Year dawned, my readership dropped to the tiniest fraction of what it had been in 2021. 


 
I went from about 1,000 readers per article to a few hundred.

 
 
Overnight.  


 
How does that happen?  


 
I suppose it could be that people are sick of me.  


 
Maybe my writing just isn’t what it was and readers are tired of hearing about the same old topics over and over again.  


 
Education and civil rights. That stuff is just so 60 days ago! 


 
Yet look at the reality. School boards are banning Holocaust narratives like Art Spiegleman’s “Maus.” State governments are passing laws to restrict what teachers can say in the classroom or make their jobs more untenable so even more leave the profession.  


 
I just can’t believe that in light of such a flame dancing ever more quickly down an ever-shorter fuse that people aren’t interested in reading about how to stomp it out. 


 
From conservative scholars supporting standardized testing to local athletic leagues saying racism is a matter of both sides. From the effect on education of constantly depriving teachers of planning time to the continuing trauma of Coronavirus raging through our schools as decision makers refuse to take necessary precautions to protect students and staff.  


 
The readership is there.  


 
It’s the method of distribution that’s the problem.  


 
And that method is social media.  


 
It’s been this way since I began the blog back in July of 2014.  


 
I write an article then I post it to Facebook and Twitter.  


 
The later platform has never been a huge draw for me. But until recently Facebook was my bread and butter.  


 
My work was posted on message boards and in online forums and organizations’ pages focused on the issues I write about.  


 
After the first year, the result was hundreds of thousands of readers annually.  


 
But then as Facebook began trying to monetize the distribution of posts beyond a person’s local friend circle, those numbers started to drop.  


 
I went from 446,000 hits in 2015 to 222,000 last year.  


 
It’s demoralizing but not because of any need for fame. 
 


I don’t need to have thousands of people hang on my every word. This isn’t about ego.


It’s about change.  


 
I write this blog to get the word out about what’s really happening in our public schools. And to try to push back against the rising tide trying to destroy my profession.  


 
Mass media is not particularly kind to educators like me.  


 
Even when journalists are writing about schools and learning, they rarely ask classroom teachers their opinions. Instead, the media often turns to self-appointed experts, think tank flunkies, billionaire philanthropists or politicians.  


 
It’s like they can’t even conceive of the fact that someone with a masters degree or higher in education who devotes her whole life to the practice of the discipline has anything worthwhile to say.

 
 
So many of us have taken to the blogosphere to circumvent the regular media channels.  


 
We write out our frustrations. We tell our truths. We give a peek of what it’s like in our public schools, an educated opinion about the ills therein, and how to fix them.  


 
But as time has worn on, more and more of us are leaving the field. We’re abandoning the classroom and the Web.  


 
We’re giving up.  


 
And even those like me who are still desperately sounding the alarm every week are being silenced.  


 
Frankly, I don’t know what to do about it. 


 
I know Facebook is trying to pressure me into paying the company to more widely distribute my articles.

 
 
If I give them $50-$100 a week, they promise to deliver my work as widely as they used to do when I didn’t have to pay for the privilege.  


 
Actually, it wasn’t Facebook that delivered it. It was people on Facebook.  


 
People who really cared about what I had to say would see it and share it with others.  


 
But now there’s a strict algorithm that determines what you get to see on your page. And if it says you’re invisible, then POOF! You’re gone and the people who would most enjoy your writing and want to pass it on don’t get the chance.


 
It’s undemocratic in the extreme but totally legal because Facebook is a for-profit company, not a public service.  


 
It’s not about the free expression of ideas. It’s about making money.  


 
And so people like Joe Rogan make millions on their podcasts spreading science denial, vaccine disinformation and racist dog whistles.  


 
A guy like me just trying to make the world a better place?  


 
I get silenced.  


 
I guess when money is speech, poverty is the real cancel culture.  


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28 thoughts on “Silencing School Whistleblowers Through Social Media 

  1. So, what is your proof that Joe is spreading misinformation, as you say? He has guests on who are on all sides of different topics. I want to hear it all. What’s wrong with that? JJoe is not trying to convince people of anything. He has his beliefs. We are free to listen or not.
    I was just about to read more of your blogs, as I haven’t in a lllooooong time. No – you are opposed to dissemination of all ideas. So, again, no. What’s next? Podcasts about religion disallowed? There’s no proof of the Bible is true.

    Like

    • S, that’s your takeaway from my article? One line about Joe Rogan? I’ve listened to his podcast from time-to-time. He does have some interesting guests. He had Bernie Sanders on when few others would give him the time of day. However, I think it is irresponsible to treat a vaccine conspiracy theorist the same way you would an immunologist. One has dedicated their whole lives to the field and the other is a part-time hack with not enough information to understand what he doesn’t understand. I’m not against Joe Rogan. I don’t think he should be banned. But I’m not a big fan, either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are repeating corporate propaganda with your toss-it-off slam of Joe Rogan, who committed the same crime you have: opposing the corporate narratives. We HAVE to have each other’s backs, and slamming peeps targeted by the corporate fascists just isn’t the way to do that.

        Like

      • I’m sorry. I don’t like Joe Rogan. He both sides immunology. He both sides scientific consensus. He says many sexist, racist and prejudicial things. That’s not propaganda. That’s my opinion. Agree with me or not.

        Like

  2. We readers may not be as numerous, but you have been a wonderful influence on my thinking—for whatever that is worth. I hope that you won’t stop…you are an insiders voice of sanity in a world I don’t quite understand any more…So thanks. A lot! David Berliner

    Like

    • David, I really appreciate your feedback. I know my blog reaches a significant readership even if the numbers aren’t what they used to be. I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Thank you for the vote of confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tracy, that is so kind! Thank you so much. I hate to make things about money but it DOES help tremendously. I don’t have ads on my page because I don’t want to see charter schools and ed tech companies selling their wares while I write about the damage they’re doing to my profession. Part of me thinks I should just pay Facebook so my blog will get wider distribution, but I don’t want Zuckerberg to get the money, either. Not that he needs it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The same here when it comes to Facebook. They make enough money off of small businesses and other companies just trying to get the word out about their businesses. So much for a democratic type of media that works for the people and general population. I don’t believe in giving big tech more of my money to promote eventually who are doing their utmost to quash individual rights and ultimately put us all under the thumb of one monolith.

        Like

  3. Isn’t this a WordPress site? I didn’t know Facebook could block notices of new posts to people that subscribe to your blog. As for Google searches, I don’t think Facebook has much to say with topic searches there, too.

    Google owns the competitor Blogger.

    Like

    • Thanks for reblogging, Lloyd. I don’t think Facebook can block me on searches. It can just hide me on Facebook. Google and other search engines have their own strange rules but Facebook is where I get most views.

      Like

      • I’m thinking a way around all of this is possible by using some search engine optimization as much as possible. Even to the point of purchasing a low cost domain name for say 10 to 20 dollars a year and then pointing the domain name to your Word Press site or even links directly to your Facebook. That might be a way to start to get around the web censorship algorithms that Facebook uses.

        I’ve had to go through that type of stuff as well for a couple of politically charged sites before because FB seems to want to push this boost your post thing and I just hate giving a company that also allows hate speech and such things more of my money. Not to mention their undemocratic values or ghosting people that are doing the right thing but politically upset some neo fascist mentality individuals. The same goes for Facebook jail time and bans for upsetting someone that obviously can’t handle and opinion nor the truth about anything. I’ve been in Facebook jail for more things that one would expect so I basically cut ties with Facebook in my personal life because I would rather do things that make some difference that isn’t blocked by a monolith like Facebook.

        Like

  4. Interesting article. I have been at exposing the corruption in schools as well as the intentionality of abusing teachers since 2002. EndTeacherAbuse.org I didn’t use Facebook but somehow at least 150 people joined each year until about 4-5 years ago. Wondered how this happened. One thing I know for sure is that the schools didn’t get better and teachers had less need to join! Thanks for pointing this out.

    Like

    • Pushing as much information out there would help too like as in putting up a new story every couple of days if not daily when you can. Facebook has their various algorithms to use but also that sort of thing is tied to the www. and then of course having to use some sort of search engine optimization to help get the truth out.

      Like

  5. Enjoy your wisdom about social media. Every time I try to reply to you I have a password problem. I’m really not that computer illiterate. Wonder how many others give up after writing stuff that they can’t send.

    Karen

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • That is very gratifying. Thank you. I am so sick of passwords. I think we all grapple with that issue when something that was no problem yesterday suddenly requires you to input this, that and the other just to do something simple like respond to someone or give a like.

      Like

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