All the Rest Is Commentary: Getting Schooled by a Day Schooler

blog_commentsby Ken Gordon


Today I got schooled – by a fifth grader.

A fifth grader.

You see, I’m parked at edJEWcon in Jacksonville, Florida, and I’m feeling more than a little woozy – and not just because I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning or that it’s the end of a very intense, workshop-heavy day. My wooziness owes itself chiefly to a child named Rebecca… who spoke to me, and a sizable number of JDS professionals, of her lucid, reasonable, and ethically minded philosophy on blog commentary.

Rebecca knows things about blogging etiquette some people three and four times and five times her age don’t know.

How does she manage this?

I suspect that Rebecca’s self-assured understanding has something to do with her teacher Silvia Tolisano’s blog-comment checklist, which Rebecca handed out to us. Maybe it’s what happens with all the digital natives here at the Martin J. Gottlieb Jewish Day School (in fact, all the kids who presented today were vastly poised and capable, though none really blew my mind the way she did). In truth, I don’t exactly know.

At first, when I thought of Rebecca, I wanted to say to my fellow edJEWconversationalists: “You should hire this girl!”

Then I decided that I should stop being the social media manager of PEJE and start teaching fifth graders.

Finally, I understood that the main thing is learn from the experience. This preternaturally wise kid demonstrates to me that know I can – I must – do a better job teaching JDS people how to socialize.

So, in the spirit of Rebecca’s amazing presentation, three tips (please follow them, OK):

  1. Stop lurking. When you read a good blog post, when you have an authentic response to a piece on online content, take the time to respond in the comments section. As Rebecca suggested: you make bloggers feel good about their work by responding to it in public. That why we call it social media.
  2. Be thoughtful. Don’t just write a comment for comment’s sake. Make your words count. Address what’s being said by the blogger. Rebecca detailed for us the multi-paragraph approach she takes in her responses–and talked about including details and being fair and even-toned when you do raise a criticism.
  3. Avoid errors. Proofread your stuff to within an inch of its life. Rebecca suggested reading her stuff aloud, which isn’t a revolutionary way to perform quality assurance, but it sounded, coming from a fifth grader, impressively serious.

In short: Take it easy, and allow yourself to be schooled by Rebecca. It’s not a bad thing, and it’ll improve your social media life.

Ken Gordon is the Social Media Manager of PEJE.

cross-posted with PEJE blog