In the world of social media, I am certainly not famous. I have over 2100 followers on Twitter and over 450 on Instagram. There are some educators who have tens of thousands of followers. But the really interesting thing is, to my students, I am famous. While they always have more friends on Facebook, I usually have many more than them on the other social media sites. When I am discussing their work, suddenly they realize that I am spreading it to a much larger audience than they ever could.
I take a lot of pictures of my classroom and post them to Instagram using the hashtag #chemisawesome. My students LOVE it when I take pictures of them. In fact, I remember the day we were doing our Deflategate lab and only the hand of one of the students was in the picture. At the end of the period, I hear one student exclaim “hey, that’s my hand! Mr. Seigel, you need to tag my hand in this picture!!” It is amazing how excited they get over seeing their hand in a picture.
A lot of teachers fear social media because of the negative ways it is portrayed. I use social media as a way to build relationships with my students. My students love to mock me for my #seigelboys hashtag as I chronicle the lives of my sons through picture, but I look at it as one more way for them to make a personal connection to me and my classroom. And, at the end of the day, it’s all about the relationships.