Having spent quite a lot of time on Twitter this summer, I have come to realise that I now effectively work in two staff rooms. There is the staffroom at the school where I teach and there is the virtual staffroom that I step into when I interact on Twitter.
I use these two staff rooms in very different ways. The staffroom at my school is generally used for grabbing quick brew while trying not to suffer 3rd degree burns on the geezer or throwing down sandwiches containing dubious meat from the local sandwich shop. I may even occasionally check the notice board to remind myself of anything I need to do that day. Any conversations I have in my 'real' staffroom are generally fairly uninspiring - relating to football results or TV programmes. Sometimes, I may even try to avoid talking to someone if I am too busy and/or they are not my cup of tea.
This is very different from how I interact in my Twitter staffroom. When I am in that staffroom, the conversations more often than not are professional in nature. Partly because the people in my Twitter staffroom are people I have chosen to interact with. People whose opinion I value. Also, I am aware that any conversation that I have in my Twitter staffroom is in the public eye. Another difference is that I can access my Twitter staffroom at any time of the day (or even night). If there is a question that I have about my practice, I can get answers almost immediately. Occasionally, I will have conversations about more social topics but the majority of my time spent in my Twitter staffroom is for professional activities.
There is an old saying 'You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family'. A similar idea applies to the two staff rooms. I can't choose who is in my real staffroom but I can choose who I wish to interact with in my Twitter staffroom. As it happens, I am lucky enough to work with a very supportive and pleasant bunch of colleagues although I know some people aren't that lucky.
I just hope that when terms begins again, with all the madness that comes along with it, I still am able to find time to pop into my Twitter from time to time to interact with the people I choose to interact with.