“You tell me to hold on, but innocence is gone and what was right is wrong.” – Imagine Dragons
Recently a well respected internet site: Engadget made a very poor decision. I’d like to start by saying that I frequent Engadget and respect the work that they perform. However, this recent decision has left a bad taste in my mouth. Engadget has corrupted and essentially taken the intellectual property of one of my close friends and colleagues. They have decided to create a web series and name it Weirded. I’m fine with that, however the disappointing aspect of this is that they have decided to utilize a hashtag that has been in use for quite some time by the education community #weirded.
Engadget describes themselves as “The definitive guide to this connected life.” Yet it failed to perform a simple search of a hashtag to determine if it is in use before launching their new project. I’ve lost a bit of faith in Engadget to be the definitive guide, because being a guide means providing good advice in online ethics and responsibility (two things that did not take place in this decision).
My friend, colleague, and talented author Doug Robertson (@theweirdteacher) wrote a book for educators. It is fun, relevant, and helps those of us who are in the classrooms every day to improve our teaching so that children can benefit from teachers who care about them. Doug’s vision for education is one in which the magic of creativity and endless wonder infuse every aspect of the classroom so that children love to come to school and learn every day.
Doug’s Book, He’s the Weird Teacher is full of great ideas and wonderful advice (if you haven’t read it yet please buy a copy now you can get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Hes-Weird-Teacher-Doug-Robertson/dp/1492193836 ).
It has helped struggling teachers and those who have had doubts about their abilities to strengthen their resolve and become better teachers. Yet, this book is limited by the medium in which it is written (the printed word). Because Doug Robertson realizes that the book is a first step, he went beyond himself to create an online movement to continue the ideas and discussions that began in He’s the Weird Teacher. Every week, educators from around the world come to his chat #weirded to share their love for education and to expand their love for teaching. It became so popular that #weirdede even grew out of it so that those on the east coast ofthe US could have the same experience at a decent time of night.
I’m amazed that Engadget did not research this. My name is John Wick and there is a movie called “John Wick” coming out next month. The movie studio did its homework and created @johnwickmovie for use… they did not just step in and start using @johnwick (my twitter name). They did use the hashtag #johnwick but I cannot fault them for that and I support it because it was an unused hashtag. Engadget could have performed a search that took less than a few seconds and failed in their responsibility.
I’m more than slightly disheartened that Engadget didn’t do their homework. Yes, I’m a principal and, yes, Engadget is not only on my list but on the list of many educators for needing a call home to a parent to discuss the lack of homework on its part.
That is why I have written an email to the Editor in Chief of Engadget, Michael Gorman (firstname.lastname@example.org) asking that this be corrected. I ask that each of you reading this also write a letter to fix this poor decision. Below is my letter to the Editor in Chief, Mr. Gorman. I ask that you please be courteous in your writings, but also be firm that this was completely bad form on their part.
I hope that those of you who read this blog and support #weirded reblog this post and get the message out to the world.
Letter to Editor in Chief: Michael Gorman,
Hello Mr. Gorman,
I am writing to you to voice my disappointment and shock that those working at Endgadget did not perform a simple search that would have taken only seconds to learn that a hashtag #weirded is an active hashtag used daily by educators internationally. I Love Endgadget. It is one of the places online that I visit frequently. Yet the lack of any type of research into the take-over of a hashtag is very disheartening. I can think that there are two scenarios. 1. someone did not do their homework (in which case I have lost some faith in the abilities of those who work for Endgadget). 2. The research was done and an unethical decision was made to move forward anyway.
Doug Robertson, @theweirdteacher, is an excellent author, colleague, and friend. He is well respected in the education community and has worked hard to have his book come alive on twitter so that the conversations and ideas that began in his book can grow and flourish for the betterment of children (students) worldwide. His book, He’s the Weird Teacher, is outstanding and I hate the idea that it is being shadowed by Endgadget’s poor decision.
I ask that you take a moment and give serious consideration to changing the use of this hashtag and that Endgadget sets an example of Internet ethics and responsibility. Please respect the hard work of a colleague who has devoted his time and efforts to helping educators around the world improve their pedagogical practices and prove that Endgadget can be an example of ethical Internet business practices.
I thank you for your time.
John E. Wick, Cand. Ed.D.
Principal, Endgadget reader, and #weirded supporter
P.S. I also hope that the fact that I called the website “Endgadget” was not lost on you. The reason why I chose this was because continuing practices like this… will help to ensure that those who follow Engadget lose faith and it just might bring an End to Engadget.
I hope that does not happen.