on leadership in the edublogosphere

There’s been much handwringing about the “edublogosphere” not flocking to follow self-proclaimed leaders. That people are disgusted because other people don’t clamor to follow someone else’s lead because they say they are leading something. I’m not going to link, or point fingers, or name names. I’m going to keep this post short, because I could very easily devolve into full-on rant mode.

Leadership is earned, not taken. You’re not a leader just because you say so. People shouldn’t be compelled to follow you just because you make a bunch of noise. If you are a leader, people will follow you. If you’re not a leader, they won’t. Get over it.

That, and one of the beautiful things about the “edublogosphere” is that there aren’t any leaders. There doesn’t need to be a leader. It’s a community of peers, and every individual’s perception of the community is different, according to their connections, needs, and contributions.

Stop worrying about leading, and just work on affecting the change you want to see.

Update: My language was unclear, and I was (rightly) called out by James Farmer in the comments. Here’s the bit I responded with to clarify what I was trying to say:

“what I was trying to get at is that there is no set of “official” leaders – my leaders are different than yours, and they are different for every individual. There is no defined hierarchy that everyone agrees define “the leaders” that must be followed…”

12 thoughts on “on leadership in the edublogosphere”

  1. What I wonder is how many of the “leaders” you speak of are really just consultants or conference speakers making their living off of traveling and speaking.

    How many of them are classroom teachers? Not ed tech specialists, I mean classroom teachers. I mean working with students regularly.

    And for the record, advising folks to enact the change they want to see is possibly bad advice, because lots of folks want to enact bad change. Many times, they’re wrong.

    Don’t we need leaders that actually know what they’re doing and then follow them?

  2. Not just a community, I prefer to think of us as an autonomous collective as part of an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

    I appreciate where you are headed with the rant. We shouldn’t have leaders or followers. We should all contribute as much as we can and learn as much as we need. Isn’t this what we want students to be?

  3. Heh, couldn’t agree with you more regarding figuring out whether you happen to be a leader or not (although wish the rant had gone one for a while) – I think it’s just down to the stats in the end, been blogging for 5 years, still no readers, definitely not a leader 😀

    However, I couldn’t agree with you less regarding there being ‘no leaders’ – there are definitely ‘leaders’ given even a loose definition of the term and there always will be because that’s how we ‘umans do shit. And it doesn’t change just cos we happen to be online more than most!

  4. @james yeah. that came out a bit wrong – what I was trying to get at is that there is no set of “official” leaders – my leaders are different than yours, and they are different for every individual. There is no defined hierarchy that everyone agrees define “the leaders” that must be followed…

  5. As much as I whole-heartedly agree with your sentiments D’Arcy, all you’ve left me with is an unhealthy desire to know where all the ‘hand-wringing’ is going on 😉

  6. D’Arcy,

    I agree with your sentiment here entirely, and it is one of my biggest questions, how do we understand the question of leadership. I think is a complicated one, but I often seem to be wary of those who proclaim themselves as such. But I have to say, like several otheres, I am dying for a context 🙂

    That said, Rob Wall’s notion of anarcho-syndicalism is an interesting one, and has a some traction in this space. We might be better off framing our own sense of involvement, leadership, and desire as a loosely joined community of thinkers, rather than a hierarchical structure of leadership. At the same time, I am more and more convinced that a sense of humor and the ability to pursue the creative outlets one wants makes all the difference in relationship to the question of leadership and power. If you have that space, the ideas of leaders and the notions they might impose become a space for discourse, problematizing, and possibly subversion. But that space should be a necessity not a luxury, and I am afraid it is more of the former than the latter.

  7. Wish I had a clue what you were referring too. Oh well, I guess we play in different parts of the ‘edublogosphere’ 😉

    “Look out kid
    Youre gonna get hit
    But losers, cheaters
    Six-time users
    Hang around the theaters
    Girl by the whirlpool
    Lookin for a new fool
    Dont follow leaders
    Watch the parkin meters”

  8. @jim @scott obviously I was subscribed to too many irrelevant feeds. I’m going to prune my subscriptions further, and trust in the power of the Network to filter stuff 🙂 Not sure if I’m just turning into an old crank, but I find I’m increasingly bored with the “edublogosphere” – it needs a hardcore edupunk reboot. Which, oddly, is the vibe it had back in the day as well…

  9. “I met him at the candy store
    He turned around and smiled at me
    You get the picture?
    That’s when I fell for the leader of the pack”
    (by the Carpenters)

    That leader thing is high school girly stuff.
    Think you will become a leader by smart posts 🙂

  10. Hmmm. I’m not sure I’d call an artist or a novelist a leader. Each through their creations might very well provoke me in thought. But neither would be likely to induce me to act. I’d put the good edu bloggers in the category of provoking thought. So I wonder if leader is the right word.

    On the other hand, I concur that among bloggers are those with high administrative position or enhanced visibility by the nature of their work, not their blogging, and among those some write in quite a stiff manner. Why read their blogs at all? If a tree falls in the forest…

Comments are closed.